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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Fence decision should be made by U.S. alone

    Recently President Bush was here in the Grand Canyon state to sign a bill appropriating roughly $1.2 billion in Federal funds for the construction of a much-talked-about fence along portions of the U.S.-Mexico border. The bill managed to pass both houses of Congress with substantial support. Photos of the signing ceremony show Bush with prominent Arizona politicians – including Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano – smiling at his side.

    Though many here on campus oppose the notion of a border fence, a recent Time magazine poll found that the idea enjoys a large degree of support nationwide. The poll determined that 56 percent of those surveyed support the construction of a wall along our entire southern border.

    Naturally, there is a tremendous amount of opposition to the measure – the most voluble of which is coming from the other side of the border. Much of this foreign opposition has come from Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez, who along with fellow Mexican officials pleaded ardently for the measure’s veto. Now that Bush has signed the bill into law and construction has begun, Derbez has threatened to take his case to the United Nations. While Derbez is certainly entitled to his own opinion, is he, the representative of a foreign government, justified in his attempt to meddle in American politics?

    The answer is a resounding “”no.””

    Who knows whether the fence will be effective or not? While it’s true that such a barrier would stem the tide of illegal immigration and help prevent the senseless deaths of illegals here in the Sonoran Desert, the geopolitical ramifications would be very costly. When discussing the fence, it’s simply too easy to make an allusion (however inaccurate) to the Berlin Wall, certainly not a flattering insinuation.

    Even so, Americans should still resent a foreign government’s attempt to prevent us from building a barrier that most believe is in our national security interest. Derbez and his government are challenging the will of the American people and their elected officials on an issue of American national security, and that is wrong. The United States is a sovereign nation ruled by its citizens and their elected officials – not by the officials of another country.

    According to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which effectively ended the Mexican-American War, “”Each of the contracting parties (United States and Mexico) reserves to itself the entire right to fortify whatever point within its territory it may judge proper so to fortify for its security.””

    Issues of legality or fairness aside, Derbez et al. have little credibility on the topic of border security and treatment of border violators – Under Vicente Fox’s administration, Mexico has gained notoriety for its management of those who illegally breach its own southern border. According to a recent Newsweek article, “”As tough as the United States can be for workers who slip in from south of the border, Mexico is in a poor position to criticize.””

    Newsweek mentions the Mexican National Human Rights Commission’s recent criticism of Mexico’s treatment of Central American aliens. The commission described the “”sub-human facilities where captured illegals are kept until they can be deported.”” American politicians have steered clear of this issue – so why should Vicente Fox and Derbez be so critical of America’s treatment of illegals, which is by all accounts more humane than that of Mexico?

    Of course, naysayers will dismiss this argument as hypocritical. Why, they say, should Americans expect Mexico and the United Nations to stay out of its business while America so readily sanctions the U.N.’s meddling in the affairs of other nations (see: North Korea)?

    The answer is simple. North Korea is led by a despot who is testing nuclear weapons and threatening his neighbors, while Americans simply want to build a fence, which – unless it falls on some unsuspecting victim – poses no threat life as we know it. The U.N. must intervene in cases where world peace is at risk, as in North Korea, but it should never interfere in a case of one country wanting to protect its own border by building a harmless fence. Apples and oranges.

    Though Derbez’s appeal to the U.N. is not likely to get anywhere, it is imperative that he and other foreign officials recognize that the task of deciding how best to protect American borders belongs to the American people. That’s the way it’s always been, and that’s the way it should always be.

    David Francis is a pre-business sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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