A ‘Hearing’ on the Border Wall – Are you listening?

I write to inform, not to foment debate. How can there be a good debate without the knowledge of facts?

Intelligent people are always ready to learn.
    Their ears are open for knowledge.
Proverbs 18:15

A great American pastime is the game of armchair quarterback. It’s a game in which we are all players at one time or another. Isn’t it easy to sit in the comfort of your home, calling better plays than the quarterback on the gridiron?

Armchair quarterbacks in Foggy Bottom and across the country are calling plays in the Rio Grande Valley, but quarterbacks actually on the field (the Rio Grande Valley) hold perspectives different from the armchair quarterbacks.

The people most affected by illegal border crossings and tandem crimes committed by illegalssteven r covey quote on listening want very much for the rest of us to listen to them.

The current border wall project isn’t a new idea. It’s already there. About 700 miles of ‘already there’.

It was our 43rd President George W. Bush who, on October 26, 2006, signed into law the Secure Fence Act. I defer to a PBS video produced July 3, 2009, that provides a broad view of the construction of a segmented fence across our southern border, its effects on U.S. property owners along the border, and the opinions of Americans whose lives have been dramatically affected by the fence.

Do you notice the title? PBS doesn’t attribute the fence to either President Bush or to President Trump. PBS rightfully tags the project “Obama’s Border Fence“.

Video source: PBS NOW, July 3, 2009

A current (August 12, 2017) report from the Austin Statesman titled Advocates stage first big Texas protest against border wall reflects sentiments of hundreds of brown-skinned and white-skinned border residents.

My wife and I were born and raised in South Texas, she, right on the border. Our viewpoint is not that of armchair quarterback. I suppose you could label us bench warmers who have seen and experienced Rio Grande Valley life since the 1950’s.

Where is the border? How many borders between the U.S. and Mexico are there? What’s the history of the Mexico-U.S.  border culture and economics?

There are three borders. The one you know about is the geographical (continental) border you see on road maps. There are two other borders not shown on typical road maps: the two immigration borders. Immigration borders? Isn’t that big river an immigration border? In a word, no.

U.S. citizens regularly drive across the border to shop or dine or just visit friends. Your present automobile liability insurance has you covered. Likewise, when Mexican citizens shop in Texas, for example, their Mexican automobile insurance covers them, as well.

The above holds true so long as motorists don’t cross the respective immigration borders (my term) without proper insurance and official permission (a visa). The immigration borders are officially called the border region.

us-mexico-border-region-CDC-map
The border region extends 37 miles south of the continental border, 37 miles north, 37 miles east into the Gulf of Mexico, and 37 miles west into the Pacific Ocean, as per the La Paz Agreement of July 8, 1966.

Historically, a chain of cross-border economic areas defines the official border region. There are Mexican citizens who live in Mexico and work in Texas, likewise U.S. citizens who live in Texas and work in Mexico.

There is a suggestion that Mexico should pay for the border wall. Is this reasonable? Do you know that over half of all illegal immigrants that cross our southern border are OTMs, Other Than Mexicans?

Reference:

Pew Research: What we know about illegal immigration from Mexico, March 2, 2017

Illegal aliens were deported at a much higher rate under the Obama administration than under the present Trump administration. Both liberal and conservative news services confirm this fact among these are the Washington Post, Politico, Newsweek magazine,  Vox, and AOL News.

Chinese illegal immigrants are second only to border crossings by illegal aliens from Mexico and Central America, combined, according to the NY Times, March 6, 2017. Unlike our neighbors to the south that cooperate with deportations, we have no such cooperation from communist China.

Combative rhetoric, devoid of facts, posits unproductive confrontation.

Do I oppose President Trump’s commitment to defending our nation? No. I applaud his boldness and courageous leadership. Do I suggest there is a dearth of knowledge on the matter of border protection? Obviously, yes.

Can we talk? Are we ready to learn?

John White
Rockwall, Texas