Carnes: Everybody wants border security but let’s stop fighting over a wall (column) | VailDaily.com

Carnes: Everybody wants border security but let’s stop fighting over a wall (column)

Richard Carnes

I spend a lot of time out and about in Happy Valley.
From Gold Peak to Walmart to the Gore Range Brewery in Edwards, and dozens of points in between, I casually encounter a wide variety of locals every week. And though some might find it hard to believe, their political opinions spread across a very colorful spectrum.
Yet when it comes to our current government shutdown, the vast majority of those opinions are of one mindset: Both sides are actually in favor of increased border security, and both sides are being childish as to how to go about accomplishing it.
The nuance behind the details are, of course, splattered all over the map, but the mutually agreed upon objective of reopening the government and working together on some sort of compromise is always the main focal point.
And it has virtually nothing to do with a literal wall.
Those clamoring for open borders are the same number of people who say we need less snow – they simply do not exist.
No mainstream politicians that I am aware of are advocating for open borders, either. Yes, in 2016, Hillary Clinton made a comment related to open borders, but it was specifically concerning the energy industry and had nothing whatsoever to do with immigration.
And a physical wall?
We've had fencing along particular stretches of the border since 1990, and yes, much of it needs to be repaired or replaced, but the majority of illegals inside our borders simply enter with a valid visa and never leave.
A wall would prevent none of that, no matter if it were constructed of concrete, steel or carbon nanotubes.
And those begging comparisons with other walls, such as in Berlin and Israel, for some reason ignore that one wall was used to keep one country’s own citizens from escaping while the other is basically there to reduce religious bomb-wearing zealots from detonating themselves in crowds.
I'm not aware of any Americans trying to escape, and the religious nuts simply toss their bombs over the other wall.
The DEA (partially closed at the moment) confirms most illegal drugs are smuggled through the 48 legal points of entry, so a wall of any type will no more stop the drug trade than a rental Jeep going 70 mph down Vail Pass will stop in a blizzard because it has all-wheel-drive.
We should be ignoring the foaming at the mouth of extremists on both sides and instead focus of the tens of thousands of federal pawns being held hostage, including law enforcement officials and TSA employees working without pay, unmanaged National Parks overflowing with trash, the IRS not paying out refunds or available to even answer questions, the SEC regulatory agency closed, etc.
America's border security will always be needed to keep illegal immigrants and contraband from illegally coming in to the US, and includes not only fencing where logically feasible, but border agents, drones, electronic surveillance, cameras, tethered blimps, helicopters and much more.
So while everyone I talk to around here is in apparent favor of increased border security, most also agree a 2,000 mile, $30 billion+ wall is a colossal waste of resources.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.