Living only nine blocks from Mexico, one tends to pay close attention to anything that effects the border or that is written about it.
As part of the $1.2 billion that was allocated to build a wall to separate The United States of America and Los Estados Unidos de Mexico, they are excavating a runoff ditch that follows the border on the US side and concreting it. The National Guard Engineering Corps are doing the work.
The most recent issue of Time Magazine featured the Great Wall of America on the cover.
It explained how the wall is being built by the same firms that are the defense contracts in Iraq.
It also explained how as one area was finished, the smugglers of drugs and people moved operations to another area where the fence was not completed.
The article further explained how in parts of the border that it is almost physically impossible to build a literal wall, but how a virtual wall is planned.
What it does not explain is that (if and when they can actually get a virtual wall working–$120 million has already been spent, though it doesn’t work) a virtual wall is useless, because by the time border officials can respond to the presence of people, they will be long gone.
The National Guard has been supplementing the Border Patrol and other law enforcement along the international line. The article explains how they are being pulled away from the border because they are needed for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The article mention the problem of hiring more Border Patrol to replace the missing Nation Guard because there has been a problem with corruption among the Border Patrol because of the lowering of standards to meet quotas. What it does not go into is the oftentimes lack of professionalism in work performed by the Border Patrol.
As an example of this, a friend of mine, and one of the few college educated Border Patrol Agents went public when he discovered that an arrest was made under false pretenses. The stop and the arrest were basically illegal sloppy police work; however, drugs were seized and there was a prosecution involved.
My friend was working in a supervisory capacity. He was demoted and given light office duty with no chance of overtime, thereby, severely limiting his income. The ACLU has agreed to represent him in his case against the Border Patrol.
Time Magazine does a good job of showing how the border issue will be a continued and ongoing problem even upon completion of the wall. It explains how the fence is cut each and every night with blow torches [in] many places along the border, and how the smugglers are very resourceful and will fly over, tunnel under or go around via the thousands of miles of US coast line.
What Time Magazine fails to do is question why there is currently such a huge immigration and drug smuggling problem when fifteen years ago it wasn’t really a very serious issue.
Furthermore, Time Magazine fails to offer any solutions to the problems. This is understandable because they assign a staff writer to research the issue and write about it and aren’t all that familiar with the issue. It’s a lot different when you were born before fire was invented and you’ve spent most of your life within a hundred miles of the border.
The North America Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 1994.
As Naomi Klein so aptly shows in her book, Shock Doctrine. Chile as the first country to suffer under the Chicago School of Economics concept of “Free Trade.” The results were disastrous in Chile and every old place in the world that was subjected to it.
Professor Chong in his book Bad Samaritan, gives many historical examples from all the countries that have succeeded in the world and shows how they used protective tariffs to foster indigenous industry and agriculture, the opposite of “Free Trade.”
Raj Patel in his book Stuffed and Starved explains how even before NAFTA was signed into law it was know that it would destroy the Mexican small agriculturalist, because the treaty allowed the import of highly subsidized crops into Mexico.
It is only reasonable that after destroying the Mexican small self-sufficient landholder that they would have to seek sustenance elsewhere. Mexico was in no position to put all these people to work. Of necessity, most of them illegally immigrated to the US. That didn’t prevented authorities from lying to the public and claiming that Mexican farmers would benefit from NAFTA and that it would raise their living standard.
The only logical solution to the immigration problem based on the logic presented above is to do away with NAFTA, and re-institute programs that help small agriculturalists.
It is going to be almost impossible to effectively do this, because the wealthy–-individuals and corporations– have purchased many of the lands that the small farmers used to till.
These people do no want to come to the US, they are forced to out of necessity.
The only way they can be re-employed in Mexico and elsewhere is if a massive micro-loan program is developed. Micro Loans have been proven to work over and over again.
The $1.2 billion being used to build the Great Wall of America and further enrich swollen war profit laden corporations like Halliburton, could be better and more effective spent on a micro-loan program.
For people who want to get involved in a Micro Loan Program with a small donation Kiva.org has a great program that helps thousands.