Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Backwards fence logic

Slate has an article up today that lists the reasons why the border fence approved last year will not be built. I don't have too many beefs with the article as I fully anticipate Congress will find reasons not to build the fence, but there was one paragraph in that story that to me exemplifies much of the backwards logic some people employ today.

Some experts worry that new barriers would only encourage would-be crossers to find other ways to get across—for instance, by using forged documents or by hiding in vehicles and crossing at legal crossing points. "Barriers make it more difficult to cross, of course," said Koslowski. "But more barriers between the ports of entry will drive people through those ports; they will figure out more clandestine ways of hiding."

Okay, where is the negative in all that? Right now people are wandering across the border unnoticed. By forcing them through the ports of entry, we are accomplishing a few things. First, we are increasing the odds an illegal will be caught. That means smuggling will get more expensive and the likelihood of success will drop, decreasing the number of people who even try to cross illegally. Secondly, by forcing them to sneak across at the border crossings, we at least have a shot of catching them and while at the same time reducing the total amount of manpower needed to enforce the border. This is not going to lead to a vast increase in illegal documentation because that is already rampant amongst illegal immigrants. It also is not going to appreciably increase the danger to illegals in the long term. Hiding in a vehicle is very dangerous, and it isn't going to take long for most potential illegal immigrants to figure out that it isn't worth the risk to try.

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