"He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water." Isaiah 49:10

Friday, August 15, 2008

So Who Is Actually Building the Wall?

By Fidel “Butch” Montoya

So what exactly is the status of the great wall of Homeland Security along the Mexican border? With all of the long-winded rhetoric and debate about the value of a wall along the border, some critics still question whether the wall will actually “secure the border?”

Government estimates show that about half of the undocumented immigrants in our country are immigrants who have over stayed their visas. If that is true, then the wall along the border will do nothing to stop this group of immigrants from entering the country. These immigrants are crossing the border legally at entry checkpoints staffed by U. S. customs and border guards.

The other irony about the wall is that although the border between Mexico and the United States is about 1,952 miles in length, Homeland Security is only building 670 miles of fence along the border. I have often wondered about the other 1,282 miles of unfenced border and how the wall being built is going to keep undocumented workers and families out of the USA.

One other sensitive issue the Bush Administration refuses to address is whether the $1.2 billion dollars in initial costs will actually secure the border. With the high demand of illegal drugs in the USA, the drug dealers will do what they have to so their illicit drugs get to their American customers. That means finding ways around, under, over, or through the new wall so the supply of illegal drugs meets the demand.

Exactly what do politicians mean when they talk about “securing our borders” before we can have Congress enact a comprehensive immigration reform legislative package? Does leaving a gaping hole of some 1,282 miles in open border with Mexico mean we have a secure border? Does leaving the Canadian border unprotected mean we will consider our borders secured?

Estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, show that the cost of maintaining and building the wall over the expected 25-year life span is going to cost the over extended taxpayer $49 billion dollars. Keep in mind that the “over extended taxpayer” means you and me.

Meanwhile while we are spending billions of dollars to “secure our southern border,” the northern border between Canada and the United States remains very venerable for terrorists crossing without any fear of being stopped or even detected.

One of the issues anti immigration politicians simply refuse to acknowledge is the fact that the September 11, 2001 terrorists came across the border into the country from Canada. They used documents that gave them the right to cross over the border without any red flags being raised about their status.

If we are concerned about border security issues along the northern border, where is the wall? While there are thousands of miles of unsecured Canadian border and no plans to construct a wall, are our borders really secure?

At this point, 333 miles of wall have been completed along the Mexican border. Construction delays, court hearings, disruption of centuries of a way of life, and the lack of a coordinated policy and commitment have delayed the project. Homeland Security plans to complete 670 miles of the wall by the end of the year.

The irony about completing the wall on time is all about the availability of construction workers. According to a 2006 Pew Hispanic Center survey, 1 in 5 undocumented workers were in the construction industry.

The general contractors building the wall know too well that construction workers are in short supply. The group’s spokesperson, Perry Vaughan when asked in an interview with the Brownsville Herald if the border wall could be built on deadline without “illegal workers?” Vaughan admitted, “It’s probably borderline impossible to be honest with you.”

I guess that statement says it all. Homeland Security wants to secure our borders with a new border wall, but it can’t be built without “undocumented workers” actually doing the work.

So the question is, why do the anti immigrant crowd deny the value of undocumented workers in our country, when the facts all show that the wall can’t be built without the very same workers they are trying to keep out?

Fidel “Butch” Montoya
H. S. Power & Light Ministries – Latino Faith Initiative
Denver, Colorado 80212

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