Friday, October 07, 2005

Colin Hanna's Op-Ed Published in Today's Philadelphia Inquirer

Posted on Fri, Oct. 07, 2005

Southern strategy: Fence at the border
by Colin A. Hanna

Colin A. Hanna is a former Chester County commissioner and founder of We Need a Fence

Four years after 9/11, America's borders remain largely open and insecure, leaving our nation vulnerable to terrorist attack. Only the building of a state-of-the-art border security fence, spanning the entire length of our southern border, can resolve this national security crisis. At present, more than one million illegal immigrants cross America's southern border each year. And these numbers are rising dramatically.

Earlier this month, an expanded indictment of Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, the American student charged with planning to assassinate President Bush, claimed that Abu Ali planned to traffic al-Qaeda cell members through Mexico to aid in the plot. This is troubling. Just weeks ago, Texas Republican Congressman John Culberson asserted that terrorists are already entering America by way of Mexico. He stated that "the FBI director testified under oath to my committee that there are individuals from countries with known al-Qaeda connections who have entered the United States, assuming false Hispanic identities... . Unfortunately, the terrorists will hit us again, and I am confident the next attack will be massive truck bombs in multiple cities across the U.S."

The situation is urgent. Govs. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Janet Napolitano of Arizona recently declared their states' illegal immigration problems an emergency condition. And the crisis at our border is finally gaining attention at the federal level. Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was forced to admit that "the American public is rightly distressed about a situation in which they feel we do not have the proper control over our borders."

On Sept. 21, 24 members of the bipartisan Texas congressional delegation wrote a letter to President Bush urging immediate action. The letter declared a "state of emergency along our border with Mexico." It stated that "illegal aliens, many of which are 'Other Than Mexicans' (OTMs), are crossing our border by the hundreds on a daily basis. They are presenting an immediate danger to the lives of people in every Texas community and beyond. We strongly urge you to take action now."

The most common proposal is to increase the size of our border security patrol by several thousand additional agents. This fails to appreciate the magnitude of the border problem and the threat it poses to our national security. So far this year, more than 100,000 OTM illegals have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Of these, nearly 500 have come from federally designated "special interest" countries such as Afghanistan, Jordan, Syria, Pakistan, Tunisia, and Yemen. Any one of these illegals could have been a terrorist intent on bringing death to our citizens and tragedy to our nation.

In the 21st century, only a border security fence can protect our country, while allowing America to remain a beacon of liberty. Whenever possible, secure our nation while preserving our commitment to an open society - a nation where legal immigration, commerce, trade, and tourism can flourish. Our leaders need to act now.

A 2,000-mile-long multilayer state-of-the-art security fence running from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico would safeguard our security and way of life. This is no Great Wall of China. Rather, the structure would consist of coils of barbed wire, a ditch, two tall sturdy wire fences with sensors to warn of any incursion, closed-circuit TV cameras, and motion detectors. Such a fence would finally give us a significant measure of protection from those who wish us harm. It should be wide enough to allow border security vehicles to conduct patrols within the walls. It could also be designed with up to 200 legal crossing points to accommodate commerce, tourism, and legitimate commuting.

A similar fence in Israel dramatically reduced the number of Palestinian terrorist incursions and bombings in a much more openly hostile region. This is real border security with proven results. Outside San Diego, a 14-mile long border fence is nearing completion. Despite roadblocks by environmentalist groups, this less sophisticated fence has succeeded in reducing the area that border agents must defend while strongly deterring crossings in the region surrounding the fence. Now, we need a fence for all 2,000 miles of the southern border.

There are 11,000 agents patrolling our southern border. It would take 150,000 to 200,000 agents and annual budgets of $5 billion to $10 billion to bring this failing system close to adequacy. But a few thousand more border agents are not the answer. A one-time investment of $8 billion would cover the construction costs of a state-of-the-art border security fence such as described above. This is an effective and relatively inexpensive way to prevent the kind of inhumane and costly terrorist attacks that the nation has already suffered.

Do we really need to suffer through another 9/11 before we get serious about our border problem?

The Web site address of We Need A Fence, a project of Let Freedom Ring, Inc., is

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At Fri Oct 07, 09:54:00 AM 2005, Blogger marchus9 said...

the fence reminds me of the berlin wall ...

nations should not have fences separating them ...

your fence idea, under the guise of fighting terrorism, smacks of racism

what next? a fence along the northern border

the people of mexico are not terrorists

perhaps 9/11 would not have happened had george bush, condi rice, harriet miers and others followed up on the report they received at the crawford ranch on 8/6/01 where our nation was specifically warned that osma was planning to attack

and yet george bush went out to clear some more brush rather than protect us

9/11 happened on president bush's watch

perhaps we should build a fence around him so no more harm is done

At Fri Oct 07, 07:48:00 PM 2005, Blogger hoss_tagge said...

Marchus9's logic is leaky and all over the place. A fence along the U.S. -- Mexico border is essential and the U.S. -- like any other sovereign nation -- has the right to protect its borders. The people of Mexico are not terrorists? How do we define a "terrorist"? If they enter the U.S. illegally they are felons. Is that a terrorist? Are there other laws that marchus9 would like to ignore?

Does marchus9 have a front door on her property? Oooh, she is an evil racist who is paranoid about wonderful people who simply want to come into her house and eat her food, take her money, and set up shop in her living room. what is next? marchus9 will want to install an alarm system or a fence on her property. evil evil evil. marchus9 should prove her worldliness and love of diversity by allowing 50 central americans to live in her house. if not, she must surely be wicked.

of course every sovereign nation has the right and obligation to screen/deny entrants within its borders. this is one of the tenets of a nation state.

the time for a fence has come.

At Fri Oct 07, 08:48:00 PM 2005, Blogger cb said...


I will address your argument point-by-point:

The Berlin Wall was intended to keep people in, not out. There's a big difference, ideologically and practically.

Have you ever heard of the phrase "History repeats itself"....
Throughout history, nations that keep porous borders fall to foreign enemies. It's a fact. Read up.

How does the idea of a secure border smack of racism? If somebody (of any race) was trying to break into your home and exploit you, would you be okay with it? Sorry, but the race card just doesn't work here. Try again.

A fence along the northern border would be completely appropriate if it were necessary. Right now, however, a secure southern border is of a higher priority.

You are right on point number five. But if you would do some research (look on this website!!) you would see that a large chunk of the people coming across our southern border are not from Mexico!! They are from other countries, gaining illegal access to our country through the easiest way possible.

There were several intelligence failures leading up to 9/11, as there were many in previous administrations as well. The problem with liberals such as yourself is that you live in the past, not the present. For the sake of our country, please use your critical thinking skills to come up with some solutions instead of complaining all the time. The fact of the matter is, securing our border makes sense. We live in a time when any and all measures should be considered in order to guarantee our security. A fence along our southern border would be a smart, practical, cost-effective way to make our country more secure. (This addresses the next point as well).

Yes, 9/11 happened on President Bush's watch. Pearl Harbor happened on President Roosevelt's watch. The Civil War happened on President Lincoln's watch. Does this mean they were bad Presidents?

Here's a little advice: take your complaining, add a little logic, subtract a little sarcasm, add some research and background information,
and what do you get?....A credible argument!!!!

At Sat Oct 08, 02:15:00 PM 2005, Blogger Diane said...

Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

At Sat Oct 08, 08:30:00 PM 2005, Blogger st pete louie said...

I would support a Mexican fence on the condition that a Canadian, Western, and Eastern fence be constructed at the same time; we notice Mexican, Central, and South Americans immigrants because they usually don't look like us, speak like us, walk like us etc; they're an easy target for our frustration caused by media sensationalism.

Canadian illegal immigrants? Do you know why you can't spot them on an American street? Wall Street?
Because they look and dress and act like you and me. You don't know where they're from until they open their mouth to talk (eh?) or fail to leave a proper tip at an American restaurant.

Let the fences apply to Canadian illegal aliens as well.

At Sun Oct 09, 11:26:00 AM 2005, Blogger LStrasser said...

I have seen others comparing the idea for a wall between the US and Mexico to the Great wall of China, and the Berlin Wall. However, they fail to realize the biggest difference here.... the fact that the US and Mexico are NOT the same country!!! Not to mention the fact that there are already laws in place stating that it is ILLEGAL to cross into this country without going through some sort of checkpoint. This wall is just an easier way of inforcing laws that are already on the books. It will cost less in the long run to build the wall than it would be to hire thousands more people to patrol the borders.

At Sun Oct 09, 09:10:00 PM 2005, Blogger pfnw said...


What planet are you from?

Don't you realize the Mexican (corrupt) government is solving its problems by sending us their poor and destitute? Most illegals do not come here to assimilate. They are sponging off of decent taxpaying citizens and causing all kinds of problems.

There is simply no benefit to having unchecked illegal immigration. Having a fence is not racist. Its compassion.

At Wed Oct 12, 06:58:00 AM 2005, Blogger Kevin O'Keeffe said...

The comment posted by 'marchus9' consists of irrelevant sophistry.

marchus9: 'the fence reminds me of the berlin wall ...'

No one is interested in your free associative powers. By that, I mean who cares what something freakin' "reminds" you of, anyway? This is a debate about national policy, not your subconscious eccentricities.

marchus9: 'nations should not have fences separating them ...'

Please explain why not. Your assertion a nation should assume its borders must be left effectively undefended in the face of massive, colonization-level foreign incursion, as well as a multibillion dollar contraband smuggling operation (the principal source of heroin arriving in the USA, as it happens), and the very real, potential threat of Al-Qaeda operatives using our Mexican border as a soft underbelly via which they can infiltrate and attack our nation and her people, is insufficient, to put it gently.

I know people of the Left are innately at a level of sophistication so much higher than any to which I can aspire, but perhaps you could enlighten us all just a bit, by explaining why these things should not be rationally addressed by a comprehensive, fence-inclusionary strategy which will have some actual possibility of achieving an outcome akin to a success, unlike the billions of dollars we're presently spending, allegedly and quite ineffectively in order to combat the very same problems specified above, yet in such a manner as to eliminate any remote chance of an outcome other than endless failure?

marchus9: 'your fence idea, under the guise of fighting terrorism, smacks of racism'

No, sir, it does not. Of course, the idea is so obviously a good one that even if racists were the only ones espousing it (as leftists enjoy hallucinating is the case), I'd be forced to admit they were right about this one thing.

marchus9: 'what next? a fence along the northern border'

I'm a little unclear why we even have a national border to our north (other than with a Republic of Quebec), but as long as we do, it should be adequately maintained. Common sense indicates a fence would be unnecessary at that location, but certainly security should be tightened along our northern border as well, in light of contemporary realities pertaining to international terrorism & crime.

I will concede one point to marchus9, however. He is quite correct to suggest the removal of the lying, despicable, abominable Bush/Cheney administration (as well as their various neo-"conservative" fellow partisans ensconced throughout the Federal government). It is an idea who's time has come, and to which all patriotic Americans must adhere. That man (or whomever is pulling his strings) is poison to this country, her Constitution, Western Civilization, and even the very survival of homo sapiens itself; Bush has to go.


At Wed Oct 12, 12:38:00 PM 2005, Blogger Nicole Weeks said...

I second the nomination!

At Fri Oct 14, 01:55:00 AM 2005, Blogger Federico Bosch said...

This is the company that build the Israeli-Palestinian defense:

They are the best in the world in this issue. God bless America, ...but we have to help him.

At Tue Oct 18, 10:48:00 AM 2005, Blogger MxPx1484 said...

pfnw said:
"Don't you realize the Mexican (corrupt) government is solving its problems by sending us their poor and destitute? Most illegals do not come here to assimilate. They are sponging off of decent taxpaying citizens and causing all kinds of problems. "

I'd like to see your sources for this. Where is it said that this corrupt Mexican government sends us immigrants. A strong case could be made that Vincente Fox is considerably less corrupt than our current president.
Also, I hate hearing the belief that Mexicans are stealing American jobs. Generally, Mexican illegal immigrants take jobs that most Americans don't want to do. Also, unemployment statistics have not varied in correlation with increases in Mexican immigration.
You are correct, however, in saying that they do impact tax payers in that they don't pay taxes. However, they still earn income which is redistributed back into the economy. I would think a more pressing manner in your mind would be to first get the millions of Americans who are cheating the wellfare, disability, and unemployment gov't assistance programs, costing us taxapayers a hell of a lot more money. That is, unless racism comes into play in your beliefs. After all, those people cheating the government are American, so its more acceptable.
Finally, even if you are for stopping the flow of Mexican immigration, which may have some advantages, building a giant wall may be the dumbest method of preventing this. What does a wall do to get rid of the 20 million illegal immigrants in the country. Also, I'm sure you knew that most immigrants in the southwestern states ofter commute back and forth across the borders regularly. It is not uncommon for a Mexican alien to earn money in the US to pay for a home in Mexico. Building a will will make this trip more difficult, thus persuading the Mexicans who do make the trip to stay permanently. I do hope you realize that it isn't financally possible for the US to increase the penalty upon immigrants caught crossing the border, so it becomes only a matter of time before immigrants find a way through the wall.

At Thu Oct 20, 02:21:00 PM 2005, Blogger Old Salt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Thu Oct 20, 02:26:00 PM 2005, Blogger Old Salt said...

Unfortunately, no one seems to understand the financial burden illegal immigration puts on Americans. Many illegal aliens are here to help their families; which has a pleasing sound until you realize they are doing so by hurting American Families. We pay for it in terms of higher insurance, healthcare and social service costs. Some families pay the price when they become victims of criminals our government failed to stop entering the country illegally.

I say let's put American families first.

MxPx1484 said:

"I'd like to see your sources for this. Where is it said that this corrupt Mexican government sends us immigrants."

I believe the Mexican government publishes a pamphlet describing exactly how to enter the US illegally.

and also:

"You are correct, however, in saying that they do impact tax payers in that they don't pay taxes. However, they still earn income which is redistributed back into the economy."

Not entirely true. Part of the 'poor immigrant trying to help his family' argument and the main reason Mexico's goverment supports illegal immigration to the US lies in the fact that much of the money earned by illegals is sent back to the country where the illegal comes from. This creates a non-reciprocal econimic trend.

and also:

"I would think a more pressing manner in your mind would be to first get the millions of Americans who are cheating the wellfare, disability, and unemployment gov't assistance programs, costing us taxapayers a hell of a lot more money."

What makes you think we don't care about these things? When fighting them, hard working Americans encounter the same rhetoric about how it is unfair or racist to fix the problem. Why does the race card get played every time a social blight gets dicussed?

and also:

"What does a wall do to get rid of the 20 million illegal immigrants in the country"

It frees up enforcement personnel to focus on removing them, and helps prevent their return.

and finally:

"It is not uncommon for a Mexican alien to earn money in the US to pay for a home in Mexico."

Which illustrates my point about money bleeding from the US.

At Thu Oct 20, 03:19:00 PM 2005, Blogger woobie said...

A fence will in no way stop terrorists from enetering this country. Every 9/11 hijacker had a visa and was here legally and entered either through Washington, Miami or New York. Just because someone comes here illegally does not make them terrorists. To everyone on this blog: YOUR FOREFATHERS CAME HERE ILLEGALLY!!
They did not have a work or student visa. They were not invited. They just showed up, found a job, and made it work. Isn't that what makes this country great? If you want a fence around you I suggest you move to an island because this country was founded on principles far different than what this website supports. Remember what is says on the Statue of Liberty? Give me your tired, weak and poor! It doesn't say anything about asking before you come. Have a little compassion people. Some in this world do not have the opportunities or freedoms we take for granted all the time. Let those who can make it here come on over one and all. It's worth it just to make crazy paranoids like most all of you cringe and shake. You will NEVER get your fence because freedom lovers like me will be down there with sledgehammers and dynamite. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

At Thu Oct 20, 03:29:00 PM 2005, Blogger Old Salt said...

Re-writing the facts there a bit, aren't we woobie?

Go get "American History for Dummies", bone up and come back better prepared.

At Fri Oct 21, 11:54:00 PM 2005, Blogger MxPx1484 said...

old salt wrote:

"I believe the Mexican government publishes a pamphlet describing exactly how to enter the US illegally."

I've read the pamplhlet and saying that it encourages immigration is big stretch, and in no way can be evidence to support corruption. The Mexican government realizes that they don't have the economy to support their population. The pamphlet simply warns of the dangers of crossing into the US border. It isn't some underground publication about secret paths into the United States. In fact, it encourages citizens to attain visas and not use false documents.

"It frees up enforcement personnel to focus on removing them, and helps prevent their return."

Well, you can't say that is more than an opinion on your part, but I'd suggest just the opposite. All of these articles posted on the page are requesting more resources to fight the "problem". Nevermind the additional resources that must be to build a 3000 km fence, how can you not admit that the personell required to man and maintain the fence won't stretch the personell resources even thinner?

All in all, you make some good arguments, I just tend to disagree with them. I think the main hangup is the taxpaying Americans being hurt, and I can't dispute that (except when you say social security, that isn't at all applicable). However, that mentality just comes off to me as US citizens feeling a sense of superiority over the Mexican people. "Why should they come in and steal our benefits?" Well, I guess the only counterargument I can provide is that its a step towards equality. Why should the hardworking American family be better off than an equivalently hardworking Mexican family just because of where they were born? We have the highest GNP of the entire world, it should be expected that some of that be redistributed to help foster other economies. Many economic theories indicate that this will actually benefit all parties involved in the long run. Granted, our government is in deficit at the momet, but we have no one to blame for that but ourselves. I forget the amount spent anually on the military, but i know it is an overwhelming amount. I'm starting to ramble a bit so I'll end it here. But essentially, I think that even if you are for stopping Mexican immigration, a wall is probably the worst way you can go about it. Take care.

At Sun Oct 30, 11:48:00 AM 2005, Blogger said...

Woobie, you do that and they will put you in a nice little cell with your illegal immigrant buddies for destroying public property :-)

At Wed Nov 09, 10:43:00 PM 2005, Blogger jp said...

We completely endorse Duncan Hunter's proposal for a border fence.

At Wed Nov 16, 10:44:00 PM 2005, Blogger USAWORKER said...

with the shortage of construction workers, who is going to build this fence? the same illegals who are presently building every new home in America or will we have to import more illegals? estimated cost of this fence is 8 billion American dollars and all or most will be going back to Mexico why don't you spend your money and time supporting legislation that fines or arrests individuals and companies that hire illegals.

At Fri Nov 18, 10:57:00 AM 2005, Blogger Tman said...

30 years ago LEGAL immigration into the U.S. was less than 500,000 a year. Today LEGAL immigration with the H1B and L1B Visas is over one million a year. On top of this add the flood of illegal immigration and the anchor babies ( that stem from this illegal tide and the result is an ever increasing burden on the U.S. infrastructure and U.S. citizens.
I am all for a border fence across our Southern borders. The U.S. with it’s under funded Border Patrol, lax immigration policies and laws and automatic citizenship for babies born in the U.S. are incentives for the wave of illegal immigrants flooding across our borders. I believe the United States should give a stern message to anyone attempting to enter the U.S. illegally that they will be punished and deported back to their country of origin and stiff penalties levied for anyone hiring illegal immigrants (
This is not the United States of 1886. The United States does not want the world's tired, poor or huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, temptes-tost not to me but keep them your own SHORES! We have enough!


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