Mimi Hall, USA TODAY, Nov. 17
A once-radical idea to build a 2,000-mile steel-and-wire fence on the U.S.-Mexican border is gaining momentum amid warnings that terrorists can easily sneak into the country.
In Congress, a powerful Republican lawmaker this week proposed building such a fence across the entire border and two dozen other lawmakers signed on. And via the Internet, a group called weneedafence.com has raised enough money to air TV ads warning that the border is open to terrorists.
Even at the Homeland Security Department, which opposes building a border-long fence, Secretary Michael Chertoff this fall waived environmental laws so that construction can continue on a 14-mile section of fence near San Diego that has helped border agents stem the flow of illegal migrants and drug runners.
“You have to be able to enforce your borders,” says California Rep. Duncan Hunter, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He’s proposing a fence from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas. “It’s no longer just an immigration issue. It’s now a national security issue.”
Colin Hanna of weneedafence.com says “there is incredible momentum on this issue,” fueled by the specter of another Sept. 11. His group aired TV ads in Washington, D.C., this fall and plans more next year.
Have you noticed how many countries around the world are building security fences?
There is a near mania to build walls separating nations from neighbors who threaten them with illegal immigration, crime, poverty and terrorism.
Some of the largest countries in the world are building them. Some of the smallest countries in the world are building them. Some of the richest countries in the world are building them. And some of the poorest countries in the world are building them.
It seems security fences are for everyone — except the very richest, most powerful nation in the world.
Recently, for instance, Russian officials met with Israelis to learn about the much-maligned but highly effective security fence that separates the Jewish state from Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Russia is determined to build a security fence along its border with Chechnya because of the continuing terror threat it faces from that Islamic neighbor.
India, for instance is set to build a 2,500-mile-long fence along its border with Bangladesh. India has tried to reason with its neighbor. It has tried to quell the infusion of terrorists in other ways. Nothing has worked. So, no matter the cost, India is committed to building a security fence.
Egypt, which criticized Israel’s decision to build a security fence, is building one of its own around the tourist hot-spot of Sharm el-Sheik. It seems Egypt wants to keep the terrorists away from the tourists.
Even the little kingdom of Brunei is building a security fence along its 20-kilometer border with Limbang — merely to stop the flow of smuggled goods.
There are hundreds of other security fences separating nations around the world. It’s the rule rather than the exception.
Yet, for some reason, the United States is the exception.