OP-ED: Please define “securing our borders’


Politicians love slogans, code words and empty rhetoric because it tends to be effective to the unwitting listener. One of those phrases some politicians love to use is “border security.”

What exactly does it mean when someone says, “We need to secure our borders?”  Interestingly, there are no concrete answers.

There’s been a great deal of talk about border security as it relates to immigration reform – or as some like to call it — comprehensive immigration reform. You’ll hear elected officials say, “We can’t even consider immigration reform until we secure our borders.” Again, it sounds nice, but what does it really mean?

Does that mean “securing” the vast border between Canada and the U.S and the southern border?

We will ask the question again, “Can some please define what securing the border means?”

Some officials have hinted about what it means, but no one has actually spelled it out. Here are the questions we are asking:  Does securing the border entail building a monumental fence along the border with Mexico?

Does securing the border mean hiring thousands more border patrol agents to be stationed permanently along the border with Mexico? Does securing the border mean enlisting our armed forces to stand guard along every 10 miles of the southern border with an order to shoot?

Let’s take the border fence. As of 2013, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that the cost of constructing 670 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexican border cost $2.4 billion.


This was a single-layer fence designed to keep pedestrians and vehicles from crossing into the United States. In 2009, the GAO estimated that it would cost around $3.9 million per mile for a stronger structure and about $1 million per mile for a less expensive fence for an additional 700 miles of fence.

Construction of the border fence immediately ran into problems when the federal government needed private lands, whether commercial or residential to build the fence.

Now, the price of the fence was indeterminable because every piece of property is unique, and so is the price of the property — especially as one approaches San Diego. So much for that bright idea.

As for the other questions we posed earlier, they are rhetorical questions about the definition of border security, yet, they still remain valid questions.

We should question our politicians when they make bold, broad and wide-ranging assertions. We must insist that they give us a reasonable answer and one filled without the usual tiresome talking points that are commonplace in the political arena.

In today’s ever-increasing dangerous world and with the constant threat of terrorism at our doorstep, it is unfathomable that we would not want to “secure” our borders. Will somebody please stand up and tell us what that means?


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