The Mexican Wall – shades of Berlin??

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In some circles the Mexican fence is the best thing that ever happened to the US. It was built to keep out the bad guys – the drug smugglers, terrorists and immigrants trying for a better life. It’s not known how many illegals there are in the US but he number bantered around is 20 million. There is absolutely no doubt that this puts a strain on education, health, social services, drug enforcement and even the jails in the US. But as always there is another side to the story- the human side, the environmental side of building the structure and the ethical-moral aspect of erecting the fence in the first place.

I had read about the building of the fence years ago but it wasn’t until I saw it last week that it really struck a chord with me. The fence traverses the border from San Diego, California to Brownsville, Texas and was built on the most manageable third of the border with Mexico. It has cost at least $US 2.4 billion to build and upkeep over the next 20 years is projected to be $US6.5 billion. All this money has or will be spent yet there has been no method put in place to actually evaluate the effectiveness of the fence. The impact of the fence comes from the judgement of senior border patrol agents.

The numbers of people attempting to cross the border are down though it’s not known if that’s because work has largely dried up in the US – construction, landscape and restaurant jobs aren’t there the way they used to be. However the economic disparity between the two countries is still so great that the ones looking for a better life will and still attempt to come over.

"The fence along the border"

The fence along the border

The environmental damage is huge. Over two dozen environmental laws were broken in building the fence though the Dept. of Homeland Security is providing $US 50 million to compensate for the damage they caused to plant and animal life and to American Indian religous and cultural sites.

The world cheered when the Berlin wall came down. I suspect one day, though perhaps not in my lifetime, the world will be cheering again when this wall (fence) comes down. I think it’s a real shame that the money being invested in the fence isn’t put into better education for the Mexicans. Raising the Mexican standard of living is probably the biggest single opportunity presented that will keep Mexicans living in Mexico. Combine educational opportunities with the reform of immigration law and chances are very high that much of the illegal immigration will disappear.

Let’s hope the next time any fence is proposed anywhere on the planet that the world’s most thoughful individuals are permitted a dialog and brain storming session to mitigate the building of these structures.

Leigh McAdam

**Next week it’ll be back to more travel related blogs though I do highly recommend a visit to southern Arizona where you can enjoy biking, hiking , horseback riding and bird watching in a beautiful environment.

www.hikebiketravel.com

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