Bor­der se­cu­rity fears have ba­sis in re­al­ity

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - OPINION - AN­THONY FUREY

I’m not sure it’s sup­posed to work this way, but I just read one of those te­dious pieces that “fact-checks” ev­ery­thing U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump says and rather than turn me against the wall, it’s left me think­ing more than ever that it’s prob­a­bly some­thing the U.S. should be do­ing sooner or later.

“There is a grow­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian and se­cu­rity cri­sis at our south­ern bor­der,” the U.S. pres­i­dent said Tuesday dur­ing his tele­vised ad­dress to the na­tion de­fend­ing the need for a south­ern wall.

Here’s what the left-lean­ing out­let NPR con­cluded in its check of the claim: “Il­le­gal bor­der cross­ings in the most re­cent fis­cal year (ending in Septem­ber 2018) were ac­tu­ally lower than ei­ther 2016 or 2014 and much lower than at their peak around 2000. The num­ber of unau­tho­rized bor­der­crossers is also dwarfed by the num­ber of peo­ple who over­stay their visas. But there has been a spike in cross­ings in the past few months, topping 60,000 in both Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber.”

Wait, what? No mat­ter where it sits in the long-term rank­ings, 60,000 is a big num­ber of peo­ple ap­pre­hended cross­ing il­le­gally into the coun­try in just one month, es­pe­cially when it’s not like there’s some mas­sive war or nat­u­ral dis­as­ter on the other side.

The Cus­toms and Bor­der Pa­trol web­site pegs the full tally for Novem­ber at 62,456. The high­est over the last five years is 66,842 — that was in Oc­to­ber 2016 just be­fore Trump was elected. The low­est was April 2017 at 15,798, and it’s be­lieved — al­though it hasn’t been proven — that this was caused be­cause po­ten­tial crossers wrongly thought Trump had tight­ened the bor­der sub­stan­tially so they stopped both­er­ing to try.

Ei­ther way, when your num­ber of an­nual ap­pre­hended in­di­vid­u­als — and this isn’t all of the peo­ple cross­ing il­le­gally, just those stopped by bor­der agents — is con­sis­tently in the half a mil­lion range, you have a se­ri­ous prob­lem.

Why do Democrats and the left in the U.S. refuse to dis­cuss this ra­tio­nally?

. . . 60,000 is a big num­ber of peo­ple ap­pre­hended cross­ing il­le­gally into the coun­try in just one month.”

For the most part, it’s just silly ac­cu­sa­tions of im­moral­ity and racism.

Is it just, as Trump him­self sug­gested on Tuesday, be­cause he’s the one now ask­ing for it? Af­ter all, the Democrats sup­ported ver­sions of it in the past.

“The govern­ment has built nearly 700 miles of wall and fenc­ing since 2006, mostly on fed­eral land and where the ter­rain does not pro­vide a nat­u­ral barrier,” The New York Times re­ported last year. The $5.7 bil­lion Trump is seek­ing and not yet get­ting, which is caus­ing the par­tial govern­ment shut­down, is to build an ex­tra 200 miles.

Is ex­pand­ing the wall the mag­i­cal so­lu­tion that will cure all? Most likely not. But noth­ing is. What it is, though, is one of the many meth­ods avail­able to tackle the prob­lem. So give it a shot. And spare ev­ery­one the over-the-top out­rage.

Those who ar­gue it’s an unattrac­tive sym­bol rep­re­sent­ing a barrier be­tween two coun­tries aren’t wrong. But that just ex­plains why it’s sad that the U.S. has this prob­lem in the first place.

Thank­fully the Cana­dian co­nun­drum at Rox­ham Road is nowhere near as bad as what’s hap­pen­ing in the U.S., but Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau and his min­is­ters still have the same pho­bia as the U.S. Democrats when it comes to talk­ing about bor­der se­cu­rity.

We do have a prob­lem, though. That is a fact. We never used to have a steady stream of peo­ple cross­ing il­le­gally into Canada. Now we do. Around 1,500 per month. It’s not a good thing.

But you wouldn’t know it from the cur­rent govern­ment, which spends more time us­ing the is­sue as an op­por­tu­nity to call An­drew Scheer and the Con­ser­va­tives bad names than they do dis­cussing so­lu­tions.

And so far there doesn’t seem to be a cure for this strange af­flic­tion. [email protected]­

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