In his famous poem, “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost’s neighbor says to the poet during their annual ritual of rebuilding the stone wall between their property, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Most people agree that walls are good for neighbors, but when it comes to nations, some are sitting on the proverbial “fence.”
The recent debate regarding the value of building a fence along the border between the United States and Mexico provides an example of this dilemma. Some argue that the wall is a necessary first step toward stemming the flow of illegal aliens flooding across our southern border while others contend a fence is unnecessary and “sends the wrong message.”
As for me, I hold with those who support building the fence. Here’s why: First of all, although we are a nation of immigrants, we are, much more importantly a nation of laws. Illegal immigrants, and those who support them, completely ignore our laws. Existing U.S. immigration legislation provides a mechanism for legal immigration into this country. However, because abiding by these laws requires time and effort, illegal aliens choose to ignore them.
Secondly, illegal immigration could potentially jeopardize our national security, thus placing every American at risk. It’s no secret that members of various terrorist organizations have declared war on America. As security at airports and seaports around the country increases, these terrorists will undoubtedly seek other routes of entry into the U.S. Our largely unprotected southern border will eventually become, if it hasn’t already, a logical entry point.
Thirdly, contrary to popular belief, our economy suffers in myriad ways as a result of illegal immigration. To begin with, the vast majority of illegals don’t pay taxes on their income, thus significantly reducing government revenues. The burden of this lost revenue is shouldered by taxpaying-Americans in the form of higher income taxes. Furthermore, since illegal aliens send home most of the money they earn in the U.S., billions of dollars are being removed from our economy annually. Additionally, the influx of low-skilled workers overly expands the available workforce, thus eliminating the incentive for employers to increase the minimum wage and reducing the earning potential of young and/or low-skilled American workers.
Finally, the sheer number of illegal aliens overburdens our infrastructure and drains our resources, especially regarding health care. For every dollar that illegal immigrants put into the U.S. economy, many more dollars are taken out.
Recently, in an effort to cast their argument in a more favorable light, advocates of illegal immigration have referred to President Reagan’s famous Berlin Wall speech in which he admonished Soviet President Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” The point they sorely miss is that the Berlin Wall was built to keep people in, not out. The opposite would be true of America’s wall – it would be built to protect, not oppress.
Good neighbors may need good fences, but good nations shouldn’t. Unfortunately, in their refusal to do anything to stop their citizens from illegally entering our country, our neighbors to the south have demonstrated they have no intention of being good. Hopefully, our wall will send a clear message – that immigrants must respect our laws and enter our country legally. Only then will our wall be seen as a wall that mends, rather than divides.