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Political Boundries: Physical and Other

 
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 08:37 am
Good Morning,

I live in the U.S. and am very confused about something. I'd love to get some insight from those who might understand this issue more fully.

Basic Question: If a nation doesn't allow anyone and everyone to enter their country and stay; without restriction, why wouldn't they want to build barriers (fences)?

Consistency:

  • If a country allows free and open flow of people across its borders, it wouldn't want a fence and it wouldn't arrest such people, dub them "illegal" and send them home.


  • Conversely, if a country wants to disallow such pelmell border crossing I would think it'd pursue and return those who didn't cross the border within established laws and for 'acceptable' reasons. In this case, they also would want physical barriers.

I seem to have been under the mistaken the U.S. was of the latter; that you could come and visit as long as you registered and left. You could immigrate and become a citizen as long as there's no restriction and you passed whatever 'tests' are necessary. We have border patrol watching our borders; pursuing and returning those who cross 'illegally' and we also have sensor nets and fencing stretches - but not everywhere. As a matter of fact, much of our border is completely open. The question has arisen (on and off for some time now): Should we fence in the remaining portions?

So here's my confusion: There's an opposition to fencing in the remainder of our borders, which seems contrary to our laws. I don't understand why we wouldn't.

Either we should be free and open; allowing and welcome everyone and forget the fences, or we should only allow folks to cross in under certain conditions then fence in the whole thing. It's as if we're Kinda-yes/Kinda-no on this issue and its damned inconsistent. I'm ok either way, I just wish we'd choose a direction and stick to it.

Can anyone help clarify this inconsistency?

Given our
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Elmud
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Feb, 2009 07:49 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
Good Morning,

I live in the U.S. and am very confused about something. I'd love to get some insight from those who might understand this issue more fully.

Basic Question: If a nation doesn't allow anyone and everyone to enter their country and stay; without restriction, why wouldn't they want to build barriers (fences)?

Consistency:

  • If a country allows free and open flow of people across its borders, it wouldn't want a fence and it wouldn't arrest such people, dub them "illegal" and send them home.


  • Conversely, if a country wants to disallow such pelmell border crossing I would think it'd pursue and return those who didn't cross the border within established laws and for 'acceptable' reasons. In this case, they also would want physical barriers.

I seem to have been under the mistaken the U.S. was of the latter; that you could come and visit as long as you registered and left. You could immigrate and become a citizen as long as there's no restriction and you passed whatever 'tests' are necessary. We have border patrol watching our borders; pursuing and returning those who cross 'illegally' and we also have sensor nets and fencing stretches - but not everywhere. As a matter of fact, much of our border is completely open. The question has arisen (on and off for some time now): Should we fence in the remaining portions?

So here's my confusion: There's an opposition to fencing in the remainder of our borders, which seems contrary to our laws. I don't understand why we wouldn't.

Either we should be free and open; allowing and welcome everyone and forget the fences, or we should only allow folks to cross in under certain conditions then fence in the whole thing. It's as if we're Kinda-yes/Kinda-no on this issue and its damned inconsistent. I'm ok either way, I just wish we'd choose a direction and stick to it.

Can anyone help clarify this inconsistency?

Given our

I guess the huddled masses are on their own now. Its a shame.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Feb, 2009 08:45 pm
@Elmud,
A wall today might keep people out, and tomorrow keep people in.
Bones-O
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 03:57 pm
@Khethil,
What good would a fence do? In order for it to work, it would have to be maintained. That means keeping an eye on the fence everywhere in case of both natural damage and sabotage. Why bother, then, having the fence in the first place? Just watch the border instead of the fence.
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 04:27 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
A wall today might keep people out, and tomorrow keep people in.


That's a good argument. Thanks; that helps.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 04:39 pm
@Khethil,
We also have to consider the effectiveness of building a barrier. Should we also build walls along the coast to stop water-borne immigrants? A dome to prevent aerial immigration? What about tunneling?
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 06:40 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
No worries, the Feds have a plan for sudden, massive immigration, which is about to happen: huge internment camps!

I'm Proud to be an American...
Where at least I know I'm free...
:sarcastic:
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 06:43 pm
@BrightNoon,
Ok, seriously, though that is true, in my opinion sucessive governments have been ignoring the border because of the importance of the hispanic voting block, both legal and illegal (yes, that's right)...and perhaps other reasons. In any case, the problem could be solved with some determination, a fraction of the funding we use to fight needless wars in the middle east, and a repeal of the drug scheduling act. Immigration is grand, but a nation that cannot monitor, let alone control, its borders isn't much of a nation.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 07:51 pm
@BrightNoon,
A free nation which excludes certain people from it's system isn't very free.
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Feb, 2009 12:53 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Well, I have the french conception of citizenship (really the Roman, Greek, Venician and Swiss as well), namely that there are citizens and non-citizens, and that while it is generally preferable to afford everyone the same rights, it is only mandatory with citizens. For example, I have no legal objection to torturing prisoners of war; my objection is on practical grounds; it dosen't work, and there's a tendency for reciprocation. So, while I support free immigration, if the nation deems it to be disadvantageous, then I have no objection. Of course, citizens have at all times the right to leave and enter their country, and move about within it however they like. That said, whether you believe that everyone should have the right to come to the U.S., or that the U.S. should be able to limit immigration if they like, you have to agree that the border needs to be controlled: i.e. we have to know who is crossing the border. Forget about immigration, think enemy forces, terrorists, Pancho Villa styles armed bandits, whatever. A country without defined borders just is not a country. Can we agree on that?
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Feb, 2009 09:34 pm
@BrightNoon,
That a country needs defined borders: yes. As for the rest: no.

We do not have to know who is crossing. Instead, we have to apply the laws of this nation to anyone who does decide to cross the border. Enemy forces, Pancho Villa styled armies, ect.

Though, perhaps it is worth mentioning that this gringo is a big Pancho Villa fan, in the tradition of "Bitter" Ambrose Bierce.
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Feb, 2009 09:00 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
We do not have to know who is crossing. Instead, we have to apply the laws of this nation to anyone who does decide to cross the border. Enemy forces, Pancho Villa styled armies, ect.


With no process on the border for identifying people coming in, how, e.g., are we to know that person x is the international terrorist Bobby Shocknawe, who is known to be planning the demolition of the hoover dam? I am for free imigration, but not literally 'open borders.' An open border is a non-existant border. The same with egress; let's say that there was a prison break near El Paso, and the prisoners are trying to escape to Mexico. No border security, they escape. (that said, personally, I'm all for escaping prisoners..they earned it...but I won't advocate public policy to that effect)
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2009 05:02 pm
@BrightNoon,
Well, if said individual is an international terrorist trying to cause harm, you are just as able to know him as such at a border crossing as you are when you catch him inside the border. But that's beside the point: even if you implement some sort of wall along our borders, what makes you think such a terrorist will cross there?

An open border is not an non-existent border. The border continues to designate where US authority begins and ends. This is useful for tax collection, law enforcement, ect.
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2009 06:34 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
I'm not talking about a wall. Now there are possibilities for surveillance that were unavailable a few decades ago; that could be pretty affective, coupled with periodic border patrol stations, which could react to any activities within some specific section. I realize that making the border competely secure is impossible, but it seems to me that a nation should at least make an attempt to ascertain, not necessarily regulate, border traffic. That's all. Ignoring the terrorist threat (which dosen't concern me much...just the price of a free society, which I'm willing to accept), illegal immigration causes enormous problems. As I'm sure you know D.T. illegal aliens absorb a huge amount of state welfare (meaning any sort of social program, especially medical care). I'm opposed to be that in general as you well know, but either way, whether in reality or my ideal world, most illegal aliens are not paying taxes while enjoying services, whatever those are. I call that injustice and think everything within reason (i.e. not turning the Rio Grande into a burning oil slick) should be done to prevent it. Now, ignoring the immigration issue, there's alot of violence 'spilling across the border' from the Mexican narco-state. Border patrol agents are being shot at on a regular basis, both by smugglers and mexican police/military! As an American, I find that pretty outrageous. Of course, the obvious solution is to end the 'War on Drugs', but until that happens (..not holding my breath), it seems wise to give the border patrol better equipment, more manpower and more freedom of action; current rules prevent them from engaging, e.g., a smuggler driving across the border guns a'blazin. They're hardly able to defend themselves.

I think we'll just have to agree to diagree. I think that border security is an essential component of sovereignty, and one of the few actual responsiblities of the federal government.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2009 08:26 pm
@BrightNoon,
What's the point of proposing changes X, Y, and Z (like increasing manpower of border security) when we could just as easily change A (the root problem, like the war on drugs)?

Intensifying our role in the war on drugs, by increasing the ability of the border guard to combat drug smugglers, will only lead to an escalation of the war on the part of the drug smuggler. Then what do you do: further escalate the conflict? To what end? That's no solution to the problem, that only increases the problem. A real solution would be best, as a mutual escalation of the conflict is no solution at all.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Feb, 2009 03:04 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Good points...

Perhaps I'm viewing this too simplistically. All these points remind us of the complexity of the problem; quite true and happily acknowledged. But... still, on a purely logical basis, in recognition of consistency, it seems to me that either:
[INDENT]The U.S. Is an open nation wherein people are free to come on in as they like (in which case no border enforcement, no INS repatriations, etc. are warranted)
[/INDENT][CENTER]-or-
[/CENTER]
[INDENT] The U.S. Is a closed nation wherein it is not OK for people to come in as they please (in which case border enforcement, repatriations and some sort of physical constraints seem justified)
[/INDENT]

I sense that we're trying to play both sides of the fence (no pun intended). That we want to control those coming in yet somehow feel "dirty" making the necessary accommodations to logically control pelmel traffic. I'm not sure that trying to go "kinda-yea" and "kinda no" is enforceable and practical.

Personally, and aside from the other considerations mentioned here, I'm fine either way; as long as we pick *a direction*.

Thanks
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Feb, 2009 04:50 pm
@Khethil,
The US had an open border policy until xenophobic tensions led to the ban of certain people from coming into this country. Now, certainly not everyone who argues in favor of immigration restrictions is xenophobic, but we do need to be careful about, and mindful of immigration restrictions lest we further demean our imagine as the land of the free, home of the brave.... if any of that imagine is left.
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