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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Mock border wall misses point

Can you imagine a country that would dare put up a wall to stem the tide of illegal immigration through its southern border? Well, there is such a country, and it’s criticizing the United States for doing the exact same thing.

What, you were thinking the U.S. from the beginning? The wall is actually between Mexico and Guatemala. According to Danilo Valladares of the Inter Press Service News Agency, “”in order to stop boats carrying contraband, the southern Mexican state of Chiapas is building a wall along the border river Suchiate, similar to the one the United States is building along its southern border with Mexico.”” Valladares also quoted a Mexican official who said that “”(the wall) could also prevent the free passage of illegal immigrants.”” The remainder of the article is critical of the barrier’s construction, but it highlights the hypocrisy of the Mexican government in criticizing the U.S. and its endeavors to protect its border.

It is in knowing this that I derive my initial concern with the mock border wall on the UA Mall. What I see is an emotional ploy that does not realistically approach the broken immigration system. The mock wall calls for no más muertes/no more deaths. This is certainly a noble desire, and there is no doubt that reforms are badly needed within this country’s immigration system.  But to call for open borders as a means to solve the problem is completely baffling.

This notion completely disregards the concept of national sovereignty and would lead to nothing more than extreme chaos. To those who believe in such a plan, does the U.S. have any right to maintain the integrity of its borders?

This does not in any way seek to diminish the plight of the immigrant. Between drug smugglers, harsh terrain and weather, and exploitative human traffickers, the path for an undocumented individual is extremely dangerous. Add this to the prospect of simply being caught and sent back south and you have a rather disheartening journey to a better life.

Again, those who seek to illuminate the hardships that the immigrant faces, and want to open a dialogue on the need to respect all humanity, should be applauded. Those who live in this blessed country could definitely benefit from looking at the difficulty that people in many other nations have in simply subsisting. But when I see a sign on the mock wall comparing the United States’ efforts with that of the Berlin Wall, the mock wall loses all credibility.  

This all goes back to one simple premise: the U.S. has every right to keep illegal immigrants from entering this country and to establish the proper means by which those individuals can enter this country. This is where the debate should center.

When there are millions of immigrants living here illegally, the initial priority must be that of enforcement of the law. This does not mean hunting down all those who are living here illegally, as that is simply unrealistic logistically. But it does mean that there must be a way to stop the bleeding, so to speak. If manpower alone cannot suffice, then by all means construct a border fence so as to physically prevent illegal passage into this nation.

For me, this whole debate always returns to the idea of the purpose of law. This country was founded on laws, and will only survive if laws are upheld and respected. To decry those who want to enforce the law as somehow insensitive to the difficulties of immigrants is completely counterproductive. Don’t mistake a border wall with the sealing of the border. It is simply another tool to protect the integrity of this nation’s boundaries. But do realize that open borders will never be accepted in this country, and for good reason — it would constitute a giant slap in the face to all those who followed the rules to come here.

I do not purport to know all the solutions to the immigration problem. But as far as I can tell, those who constructed the mock border wall are far from reaching a realistic solution themselves.    

 

— Tanner Weigel is a sohomore studying history and Spanish. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.  

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