House approves U.S.-Mexican border fence

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siddharth
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Rach3 said:
Perhaps I can be convinced. Here's an open challenge to explain to me various points I have yet to understand:

-Why there's an economically compelling reason to stop immigration of cheap labor
-Why there's a socially compelling justification for the same
-Why terrorists prefer to enter the country by way of desert borders, and why they face greater hardship by other means like temporary visas
-Whether we're addressing destitute Mexicans or radical terrorists, and if the same strategy fits both
-How chickenmesh would solve everything
-How, technically, unmanned aerial vehicles would solve everything (in combination with chickenmesh)
-How the agencies could effectively monitor ten thousand cameras and back them up with paramilitary support
-Where is there historical precedent where similar methodologies were effective and beneficial (Berlin Wall doesn't count!)
-Why tunnels won't defeat everything
-Why desperate smugglers in 130mph speeding vehicles won't defeat everything
-How all of the above can be solved in a federal legistlative session
-In particular, the one we have now
-And how it's all cost effective (reflecting of course, some sort of tangible economic benefits to all this)
-And how the issue, being so recently pieced together from disjointed corspes like some hideous election-year Frankenstein, will remain politically sharp long enough to ensure it won't get under-funded, half-funded, partially funded, partially cancelled, ignored, contracted to Halliburton, contracted to FEMA, not contracted, contracted to Mexican drug smugglers, boondoggled, Katrina'ed, mired in inflated budget estimates, tax-slashed, ineffectively deployed, incompetently employed, drowned in corruption, burned in interagency poltics, forgotten in politics, exhiled into a perpetual state of multibillion-dollar zombiehood like GWB/Reagan's Strategic Defence Initiative (born: March 1983; died - never), privatized, nationalized, unscrutinized, corruptisized, or afflicted with the plague
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Rach3 said:
Why terrorists prefer to enter the country by way of desert borders, and why they face greater hardship by other means like temporary visas
It is indeed a very rare scenario, but if there's an individual that cannot risk capture by the authorities it would be a reasonable route. Why such an individual would want to enter the states is beyond me.
Rach3 said:
-How chickenmesh would solve everything
-Why desperate smugglers in 130mph speeding vehicles won't defeat everything
Modern barriers are far from chickenmesh. They involve quite a wide and deep tunnel all across the planned barriers to house cabling, filled with concrete that serves as a steady base to the poles. There are several options for what's on top, that include placing modular pre-cast concrete wedges that can be piled into any given size; placing pre-cast reinforced concrete defense posts with an optional living area; erecting an indicative fence with an optional vehicle barrier, not unlike highway barriers. The latter option is the most economical. The fence is composed of dozens of trigger wires with rather sensitive sensors (in windy conditions there are sometimes false alerts, but those are usually discernible as the operator is indicated the geometry and characteristics of the disturbance), positioned in several layers, each with its unique characteristic relevant to its height. At the top is an ultra-sensitive trigger wire. The aforementioned soft sand strip allows a patrol to arrive at the spot and examine for penetration, when staffed with a good tracker it is the most accurate tool.
This can be complemented by other observation devices such as tactical radars and vehicle-mounted intelligence units. When placed correctly, they are highly effective though they require more personnel and maintainance.
Rach3 said:
-How, technically, unmanned aerial vehicles would solve everything (in combination with chickenmesh)
That depends on what you call everything. These barriers are of quite limited effectiveness in certain conditions that I would rather not discuss. However, if I was to decide how to close the Mexican border to illegal immigrants (and terrorists?) in the most cost-effective way I would choose an array of an indicative fence with a vehicle barrier, stationary cameras where they would be efficient, and UAVs for the largest and least active sections.
Rach3 said:
-How the agencies could effectively monitor ten thousand cameras and back them up with paramilitary support
The cameras relay their feeds by cabling and radio signals to a command center. From my very limited experience with Americans, it would probably be constructed NORAD-style with lots of cubicles manned by operators organised into a single large unit. Each operator can operate any given number of cameras, thanks to modern variable sensitivity motion detection systems that alert the operator when certain disturbances are picked up by one of its cameras. Individual posts will probably interface with a central system to which the operator can input data, and have it put on a really big screen (generals love big screens). The command center will be linked to the ground forces by simple radio relays. These forces can be spread out in small bases at the rear of the tactical depth, where the off-duty force will serve as a reserve that can intercept anyone outrunning the patrol on-duty.
Rach3 said:
-Where is there historical precedent where similar methodologies were effective and beneficial (Berlin Wall doesn't count!)
Both the barrier around the Gaza Strip and the controversial seperation barrier have proved very effective in stopping infiltrations. I do not intend to enter a discussion about their moral value, but they are certainly extremely valuable in an operational perspective. There have been ways of circumventing certain elements of the barriers but it takes so much work to avoid being identified as you're crossing the physical barrier, it's statistically impossible that you won't be picked up by an observation device. Again, additional elements can be used to concentrate an effort on a particular section that is problematic, effectively sealing it (of course, someone can always f*ck their job up).
Rach3 said:
-Why tunnels won't defeat everything
Again, that depends on how big a buffer zone you have and where you place complementing resources. Tunnels are a possibility, but one that severely limits the infiltrators. Use the tunnel too much, and someone will find out - so the smugglers/infiltrators have to work really hard to dig it, and then be patient and overcome their greed and self-confidence and use the tunnel conservatively - which they normally don't. So it's a possibility, but a rare one.
Rach3 said:
A ladder enables to cross the barrier quite quickly. However, if it is a brute method the fence will indicate it. If it is a custom-constructed ladder to enable crossing the fence without triggering it, it will be impossible to carry it across the fence, increasing the chance of discovery by other means.

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Rach3
Yonoz said:
Tunnels are a possibility, but one that severely limits the infiltrators. Use the tunnel too much, and someone will find out - so the smugglers/infiltrators have to work really hard to dig it, and then be patient and overcome their greed and self-confidence and use the tunnel conservatively - which they normally don't. So it's a possibility, but a rare one.
They're relatively common and effective here. Some of the big ones went months or years without discovery.

A ladder enables to cross the barrier quite quickly. However, if it is a brute method the fence will indicate it. If it is a custom-constructed ladder to enable crossing the fence without triggering it, it will be impossible to carry it across the fence, increasing the chance of discovery by other means.
Easy: Two smugglers coordinate by radio. One drives refugees up to the fence, sets up the ladder, they jump over, the other picks them up and goes 100mph/160kph to evade authorities. The patrol does not chase for fear of causualties. Repeat many times, at random locations. There was an article just last week, about ~10 fatalities when a human smuggler tried to evade arrest.

Or perhaps wirecutters. Or going around the fence (it's only 1/3 of the border). Or explosives, or tunnels, or boats on the Rio Grande. Or through water pipes near Los Angeles (well documented on CNN).

Keep in mind, the Gaza barrier is some 50 times shorter than this border (100 times shorter than Canadian), and has virtually no comparable threat to that in Israel. A few drug smugglers, zero terrorists, and a whole lot of unarmed refugees. Not much of an incentive.

Rach3 said:
They're relatively common and effective here. Some of the big ones went months or years without discovery.
I am unfamiliar with the border, is it by any chance in a location where there are civilian populations near both sides of a narrow border? As I said, under some conditions the barrier can be circumvented quite easily. I wouldn't apply this particular solution in certain environments.

Rach3 said:
Easy: Two smugglers coordinate by radio. One drives refugees up to the fence, sets up the ladder, they jump over, the other picks them up and goes 100mph/160kph to evade authorities. The patrol does not chase for fear of causualties. Repeat many times, at random locations. There was an article just last week, about ~10 fatalities when a human smuggler tried to evade arrest.
I am not familiar with the current set-up, but my assumption was that patrols will try to chase intruders - they're useless if they can't. The barrier can only be used identify infiltrations, not capture them, unless you want to use bear traps and electrocuted fences.

Rach3 said:
Or perhaps wirecutters.
That will be discovered immediately by the indicative fence. Operator directs camera to location, and directs a patrol to the intruders.
Rach3 said:
Or going around the fence (it's only 1/3 of the border).
That is a possibility.
Rach3 said:
Or explosives, or tunnels, or boats on the Rio Grande.
Explosives will be heard all around, patrols will start moving there immediately. We've already covered tunnels. There's very little a ground barrier can do against boats.
Rach3 said:
Or through water pipes near Los Angeles (well documented on CNN).
I think you can come up with a solution to that just as well as I.
Rach3 said:
Keep in mind, the Gaza barrier is some 50 times shorter than this border (100 times shorter than Canadian), and has virtually no comparable threat to that in Israel.
Obviously, the resources needed will be of that magnitude, but it is implementable nonetheless.
Rach3 said:
A few drug smugglers, zero terrorists, and a whole lot of unarmed refugees. Not much of an incentive.
I only said it was possible. I don't know enough to decide whether it's needed or not.

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I'd just like to emphasize that barriers aren't meant to stop intrusions, but to slow them down and expose them. It is only a part of a defensive array.

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In response to Rach3:

Why there's a socially justifiable reason:

How about enforcement of our laws? Our laws say that if you want to enter this country, you must follow a certain procedure to do it legally. If we were to grant amnesty to those who enter illegally, this wouldn't be very fair to those who followed the proper channels, no? By granting amnesty, we would be saying that we don't respect our own laws. Where would you stop? We'd have to grant amnesty to all criminals at that point.

In addition, many of these illegal immigrants are capable of voting (most states don't require you to display proof of citizenship) - which should be obviously unacceptable.

As for an economic reason:

Despite what some may want to believe about the american worker, many americans will go out and work in agriculture (indeed, most of the people employed in the agricultural industry are americans); by employing an illegal you are taking a job away from a citizen.

And of course, there is the issue of healthcare and schooling. These immigrants send their families to our schools, to sap our taxpayer dollars so that the class can be taught in english and spanish because they don't want to learn our language.

As far as a wall goes:

Yeah, this sounds far fetched. It's not likely to be a fix for the issue. A better measure would be to enforce hard prison time for those that employ illegals. A revamp of our current system would be in order, to make it more difficult to falsify the necessary documents to receive education and health care.

As to terrorists coming across the border, I believe this argument is two fold. First, it is to draw away the attention of the american people from the glaring incompetence of our government. The very basic job of a government is to secure its borders from foreign invasion, and to protect its citizens from attack. On both these accounts, they have failed miserably.

Second, is of course to keep the taxpayers scared so they'll agree to just about anything.

This is not to say that there is no legitimacy to the argument itself. While it must be demonstrated that terrorist factions are currently hopping the border, it is certainly not outside the realm of possibility that it could happen in the future. After all, many of those on this forum may have said prior to 9/11 that it was ridiculous to think that terrorists were coming into our country via a plane. Even more ridiculous to think that they could have been training in our schools to hijack our own aircraft to kill our citizens.

I perceive the threat from the border to be real. I will say, however, that it requires real action and not rhetoric on the part of our politicians.

Rach3
ptabor said:
In response to Rach3:

Why there's a socially justifiable reason:

How about enforcement of our laws? Our laws say that if you want to enter this country, you must follow a certain procedure to do it legally. If we were to grant amnesty to those who enter illegally, this wouldn't be very fair to those who followed the proper channels, no? By granting amnesty, we would be saying that we don't respect our own laws. Where would you stop? We'd have to grant amnesty to all criminals at that point.
But why? I don't see why Congress should throw away $50 billion+ (an open-ended figure) to enforce a regulation that's bad for businesses anyway. Leave intrusive, socialist micromanagement to the Soviets. Rach3 said: Leave intrusive, socialist micromanagement to the Soviets. I wouldn't call this micromanagement. Besides, it's this very attitude that is the cause for illegal immigration. heh, bad for business? The same argument could have been made for slave owners in the south. It's bad for business to have to pay your employees, certainly, but it's also part of the government's job to protect the fair market. By allowing this immigration and allowing employers to pay these people dirt cheap wages, we would apply a downward pressure on the wages of low skilled workers all around the country. This would lead to a decrease in our way of life. Face the facts, if having a large pool of unskilled workers were the key to economic success, we'd be crossing the border into mexico, not the other way around. Rach3 ptabor said: By allowing this immigration and allowing employers to pay these people dirt cheap wages, we would apply a downward pressure on the wages of low skilled workers all around the country. This would lead to a decrease in our way of life. Decrease in unskilled wage, decrease in supply costs, increase in domestic production, increase in income disparity. All kinds of tradeoffs - certainly not a straightforward "decrease in our way of life" (there are strong arguments for the opposite). Keep in mind that (in an economic sense) immigration controls are little more than trade barriers, a restriction on imports of labor. As such unskilled labor wages are artificially high, inflating supply prices and decreasing the competitiveness of our businesses on the international market (as well as depressing net production!). In one sense it's a tradeoff between mean economic health on one side, and wage equity on the other. But of course the current status quo is not a free market, but an aritifically regulated state. Last edited by a moderator: Rach3 ptabor said: heh, bad for business? The same argument could have been made for slave owners in the south. There's nothing intrinisically inhuman about granting amnesty to poor workers. They're not slaves, they chose to come here and live a much better (and economically more productive) life than they would have otherwise. It's bad for business to have to pay your employees, certainly, but it's also part of the government's job to protect the fair market. You've got your roles reversed - who protects the free market from the government? :tongue2: Among other things, amnesty would confer these laborers legal rights and minimum wages - which they are not guaranteed currently, living in a perpetual state of fear (of deportation). (Of course on a personal note, for me the moral action of amnesty and enabling people to improve living conditions and live the American dream - is highly desirable in itself, independent of economic interests. ) Last edited by a moderator: Rach3 This argument, by the way - is extremely bizarre; the moderate liberal (self) is siding with a GWB proposal out of economic interest, while the conserative advocates trade barriers. We seem to have our roles reversed! ??? Granting them amnesty is a moral action? Have you thought about what you're saying? What you're actually saying is this: If I, or you, or any natural citizen falsifies documents and provides them to the US government, with or without the intention of collecting benefits, this person will be sent to prison for a long time. By granting amnesty to illegal workers who have committed this very action, to enroll their kids in school and collect healthcare benefits, you are granting them more rights than you or I. If this is your idea of morality.... These people do not deserve more rights simply because they chose to ignore our laws to get a better life. If I decide to sell crack to make a better life for myself, I'll go to prison. If you choose to enter this country illegally and disregard our laws, you belong in prison. These are not "poor workers", they are criminals - people who have disregarded our laws and customs simply because it suits their best interest. Would it be morally right for those immigrants who have come here and went through the long and drawn out process of legal immigration to see that those who simply disobeyed the laws get off scott free, with more rights? All that being said, I'm not against making legal immigration easier. I have absolutely zero problem with people coming to this country to earn a living, so long as they are willing to obey our laws and learn to speak our language. Illegal immigrants, by definition, don't do the first, and judging by the amount of text in public that is in spanish, it seems they aren't willing to do the second either. Bring it to a vote to make immigration easier, and I"ll vote for it. What I WON'T do, is sit by silently while our lawmakers allow an invasion of an unprecedented scale. As for your economics arguments, they seem thin to me. Granted, I simplified the issue, but I digress. Illegal immigrants tend to work in fields such as: roofing, agriculture, landscaping, housecleaning, construction. None of these are exported (with the exception of agricultural goods), hence giving these criminals amnesty will not increase our competitiveness. This is to say, illegals are not working in our factories (what few are left - many are in mexico) producing cars. They are not tool and die experts, etc. They tend to work in service fields, rather than manufacturing. selfAdjoint Staff Emeritus Gold Member Dearly Missed ptabor said: As for your economics arguments, they seem thin to me. Granted, I simplified the issue, but I digress. Illegal immigrants tend to work in fields such as: roofing, agriculture, landscaping, housecleaning, construction. None of these are exported (with the exception of agricultural goods), hence giving these criminals amnesty will not increase our competitiveness. This is to say, illegals are not working in our factories (what few are left - many are in mexico) producing cars. They are not tool and die experts, etc. They tend to work in service fields, rather than manufacturing. That's scarcely unique about illlegal immigrants; MOST Americans are now working in serveice areas rather than manufacturing. Furthermore your characterization, aside from being stereotyped, ignores other aspects of work. I have noticed myself (anecdotal, but hey!) a propensity toward saving and entrepreneurship among Mexican immigrants greater than the average for some native groups, such as my own (WASP) category! Virtual Fence Boeing has been awared a$67 million contract to build a high tech virtual fence on a 28 mile section of the border in Arizona.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6110403&ft=1&f=1001

The ironic thing about the link is that the next news audio down is about Boeing paying a huge fine to the govenment for false billing.

People here are speculating about whether the drug dealers will simply shoot the lenses out of the cameras. They have already become very adept at finding and stealing motion sensing devices.

Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
edward said:
Boeing has been awared a $67 million contract to build a high tech virtual fence on a 28 mile section of the border in Arizona.$2.39 million/mile, or only $453/ft Good time to start a fence building company - and a fence mending company too! Last edited: Astronuc said:$2.39 million/mile, or only \$453/ft

Good time to start a fence building company - and a fence mending company too!
These numbers appear very high, but keep in mind this isn't the sort of fence you buy at your local hardware store. Take a look at the http://www.d-fence.com/product1.html" [Broken] for example.
I'm not saying the price is right, I am not familiar with the specifics of that Arizona fence, and obviously Boeing is making a big profit off this.

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There are essentially two fences to be built. The virtual fence authorized by the Department of Homeland Security. And the physical fence authorized by congress.
The towers built by Boeing are supposedly to be unmanned. The Hispanics are very crafty at disassembling most anything.

In the meantime Frontier Airlines has just increased the number of flights it will be making to Mexico.

we are all homo sapiens, of the same species. i get depressed, and it discourages me when we despise some (of the same species) for the sake of others (also of the same species) with whom we identify better.

what is an american? i think that an american is a person (of the united states) who is free to express himself or herself in accordance with where that person or his ancestors originally come from. that person is free to adopt fully his culture and roots. it is a hypocrisy for some in this country to say that a certain group is not american because they do not want to give up their customs or former way of life. it is a hypocrisy because the hypocrite is denying (the same rights that she or he has) to that group which she or he hates and despise.

myoho, you need to be careful with your reasoning here...

To make an analogy, consider someone coming from a muslim country who is used to having multiple wives. Now, the practice of having multiple wives is forbidden by law in the US... should we let these people come here and claim multiple wives simply because they come from a nation where it is legal?

Or something more mundane... I spent a couple weeks in China (summer of 04) and observed that, in Wuhan at least, there are NO driving regulations (that are enforced). Should chinese immigrants come here and disregard our traffic laws simply because it is their custom?

I'd say not. If you're going to move to a foreign nation to live you should assimilate yourself into that culture (ie abide by its rules and customs and learn their language). You are free to speak your native tongue in your own home and amongst your own kind... but if I have to communicate with you (and you're here in America, of course) you had better speak english, at least to a degree where you can be understood.

This does not mean you have to surrender your culture completely, merely that you make a compromise. It's simply an issue of respect for your host culture.