Progress on (Somebody's) Border Fence

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on December 4, 2011

An arid, rough-hewn, desert border area. Open space, easily and often breached by illegal aliens, smugglers, and traffickers of all kinds. Gun-slinging foreign bad guys showing increasing brazenness and cold-bloodedness. A growing threat to national security.

Arizona or Texas? Try Israel.

The parallels between Israel's and America's southern borders are striking in a Washington Post article on Israel's border security concerns. That nation faces problems and challenges similar to those along the U.S.-Mexican border. Armed foreign insurgents crossed from Egypt in August and killed 8 Israelis in a town not far from the border. Smugglers got into skirmishes, shooting it out with both Egyptian and Israeli guards in late November.

The main difference: Israel is doing something about it, while America's politically correct, open-borders politicians doggedly deny the obvious.

Israel is "erecting an imposing steel barrier encased in razor wire." The 15-foot, heavy-duty wall-like fence structure is backed by electronic surveillance equipment:

Swathed in coils of razor wire, the barrier was angled at its top toward Egyptian territory to discourage attempts to scale it. Sections of the old ramshackle fence were visible in the rocky terrain, separated by gaps that have made it easily passable.

In the United States, we know that robust border barriers can and do reduce illegal immigration. Despite certain allegations about apprehension fraud and other things, it is generally agreed upon that Operation Gatekeeper in 1994 and follow-on efforts generally have achieved border security goals in the farthest-west border sector.

Border Patrol apprehensions in the San Diego sector prior to Operation Gatekeeper surpassed 500,000 a year, more than any other Border Patrol sector. Construction of double and triple fencing, enhanced by lights and patrol roads, has reduced illegal entries in that sector to a trickle.

Having a physical barrier does make a difference. Walls and fences deter many people from entering off-limits areas; they at least make it harder for those determined to trespass.

A border barrier is necessary, though not sufficient, in getting control of runaway immigration. The larger task requires a completed entry-exit system, full-scale electronic employment verification, ending catch-and-release, sufficient detention space, expedited removal procedures, a robust role – with federal cooperation – for states and localities, including local law enforcement, elimination of excessive legal immigration, such as chain migration visa categories, and dealing with visa overstays in a more serious manner. But a fence – an actual, not virtual, fence – plays an important role in that mix. has a great sketch of what a state-of-the-art border fence should look like. Such a model, similar to some of the fencing in the San Diego sector, would readily rebut the dismissive, arrogant retorts of open-border advocates that a 10-foot fence can always be overcome with an 11-foot ladder.

Here's a question for President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: If fences and walls don't work, why don't you tear down the fences around the White House, DHS headquarters, our embassies, military bases, and nuclear plants? 'Nuff said.