To The Editor:
We understand that Republicans want strong borders. As Democrats we must strongly... agree! Even though we are often mischaracterized on social media, common sense dictates that we clearly must control our borders. We do not, however, see “The Wall” as a viable solution, feeling it is expensive, ineffective and not adaptable to future challenges.
If we’re talking drugs, almost 90 percent cross our southern border not where walls would be built but through the open gates of ports of entry where success in smuggling is based on simply overloading the inspection system.
In populated areas existing walls are tunneled under with regularity, creating passages often large enough to hold rail carts. In the open desert it’s not just about taller ladders, traffickers simply fly over our barriers with drones and ultralight planes that deliver their drugs and sometimes even get-away bikes. Also, this property is largely being taken from unhappy landowners, and left no longer open to wildlife separated from their sole source of water.
We need suitable responses: more personnel, better inspection devices, ground penetrating radar and vibration sensing systems, such as the proven and environmentally friendly Helios fibre-optic technology. Rigid inflexibility shouldn’t be the test of our construction methods but the result of our creative adaptability.
It’s another matter with people coming in. We have to know who they are and their reasons for knocking on our door. Economies have limits and we should determine how and when we can share. The people in line now, however, are not just looking for better jobs, they are primarily families from Central America seeing asylum from the gang violence in their home states. They are acting as we might in their shoes. They are by law entitled to a fair hearing under humane circumstances. We aren’t providing that. This administration has imposed policies that make pain a price of our screening process. We separate children from parents, house those who must wait in pens with bare concrete floors, and then limit hearings so they have to wait longer. This unfeeling policy springs not from America’s values but from political opportunism.
Associating it with Donald Trump is unavoidable, and is part of our disagreement with him as well as his misinformation campaign to manufacture crises and manipulate voters. Both Houses of Congress had to tell the President he shouldn’t declare a national emergency on our border.
We could help these refugees if we cared, but make no mistake, skin color is quietly in play. These people are not white, and we have a hard time seeing them, even as victims. They are paper people, statistics without feelings or promise. That’s a form of discrimination that seeps in whenever differences occur. We’re all prone to it in varying degrees. We just empathize a little less, look the other way. It’s something that we can feel and think our way past, but it’s harder to do when being mislead.