New York Times Editorial and the No Border Wall Walk

At last Friday’s March 4 March 4, a German journalist covering this demonstration against the border wall said to me, “We Germans have always thought of the United States as a progressive country, with forward-thinking laws. But, Germany just got rid of the last of its last borders, and the United States is thinking of putting up walls? There are no more border patrols on our borders, and the U.S. is trying to put up a physical wall?” What could I say?

An editorial in today’s New York Times states that an “iron curtain” is descending across the United States, and that “This country once was a confident global magnet for an invigorating flow of immigrant workers and citizens-to-be. Now it is just hunkering.” One of the most important points raised by this contributor is that building walls does not address either national security or immigration legislation, and in fact makes illegal immigration worse. The 700-mile will leave gaps through the most dangerous border-crossing sections, funneling would-be illegal immigrants through the harshest terrain and most assuredly driving up the death toll each year. Additionally, the roads and infrastructure which will need to be built in some regions will actually make the job of coyotes and other smugglers that much easier.

The editorialist concludes that we need smart borders and real immigration reforms. The author writes,

But that worthy goal founders when the overall strategy boils down to simplistic components — bits of fencing and technological cure-alls — rather than a comprehensive solution that also attacks the reasons people cross illegally. Despite what critics of “amnesty” say, immigration reform has never been a choice between legalization and enforcement, because legalization is enforcement. Only by bringing people onto the books and being realistic about the supply of visas, letting people in through ports of entry, instead of chasing them across the desert, will the country restore sanity and order to this broken system. (New York Times “Border Insecurity”)

Until we cure the root problem, border walls are only a multi-billion-dollar Band-Aid which will not deter either terrorism or immigration. And the root problem is not that people are inherently bad, as some critics seem to infer. No, the cause for illegal immigration in the United States is caused both by the failure of sending countries to adequately provide for citizens AND by the United States unresponsive legislation, nativistic quota systems, and hopeless situations for working people trying to become legal.

    To this end, the Border Ambassadors are partnering with churches, teachers, activists, professionals, humanitarian organizations, government officials, high-school students, college students, and concerned citizens across the nation and imaginary borders will be walking 120 miles from Roma to Brownsville, Texas. This interfaith, nonviolent demonstration’s aim is to protest the border wall in an internationally viable way while also showing support for immigrants throughout the country and encouraging border communities. Pragmatically, we will be sharing free legal aid information with border landowners so that they can legally oppose the government surveyors. Policy-wise, this No Border Wall Walk is requesting a moratorium on the border wall and a re-opening of the issue of immigration reform. Please support us with your presence, your words, your donations, and your prayers.

 

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