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Wall Rush

Here's another high-profile, border wall critique sure to being a smile to your dry lips. The New York Times ran an interesting item yesterday suggesting our desperate border wall has a few bugs in. No, not Boeing’s pretend wall of high-tech gadgetry, the steel mesh and concrete serpent en route to Texas.

Lawrence Downes, in an opinion piece called “The Not-So-Great Wall of Mexico,” got it right when he said that no one living on or near the border was surprised when torches and bungee-jumpers took the wall on in what I can only assume to be New Mexico or Arizona (since Texas is still, god bless us, 99-percent wall-free).

Downes cites an AP report, when he dwells on use of

acetylene and plasma torches and hacksaws to cut through the 15-foot-high concrete-and-steel barricade. "Officials monitoring cameras in the area have seen at least one group using a massive ladder to scale the south side of the fence," The A.P. reported. "The group tried to drop into the U.S. with bungee cords before agents caught them." 

One of the things I heard a lot of on the border back in March was the adaptations border crossers would inevitably make. “Mexico’s going to take the gold medal in pole vaulting,” one longtime Big Bend resident told me. Another said if a 15-foot wall goes up, we can expect 18-foot ladders to be advertised by Mexican hardware stores on the south-facing side. 

Bizarre that Homeland would have considered planting “thorny shrubs” along some river sections, but refused to consider an increase in Border Patrol agents as an alternative to the Wall. “Boots on the ground,” as we like to heroically refer to deployment these days, is already occurring with results.

“Perhaps the federal government could not have anticipated bungee-jumpers,” Downes writes. “But it should have foreseen the fury of border-community officials, like the coalition of Texas mayors and other public officials, from El Paso to Brownsville, who are fighting furiously to stop the project."

Yeah, then there is the string of Amicus filings in support of the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife’s request for a Supreme Court ruling regarding Chertoff’s use of Real ID waivers (the statute allowing the USHS Secretary to ignore virtually any federal law that delays wall construction), including this one from about 30 constitutional law professors from around the country.

The Con Law profs claim Chertoff has never explained the necessity behind his several waivers of federal law, and should do so now. Under current law, they state, Chertoff is free to break up strikes or force workers to labor in dangerous conditions. 

He is equally free, they continue, to ignore:

the state speed limits in California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas to race equipment and materials to construction sites. 

Section 102(c) gives the Secretary the power to waive treaties with Mexico governing the location of the border, management of the border zone, and movement of water, goods and services across the border so long as he deems it, in his sole and unreviewable discretion, "necessary."

Indeed, under Section 102(c) the Secretary could waive the immigration laws and regulations, hire illegal aliens, and pay them less than minimum wage if he deems it necessary to build the fence.

With all the heat he’s been coming under of lately, maybe we could offer a limited amnesty for Mexican wall workers and shave these costs down. After all, we know the cost of war in the Middle East. What would happen when we add a war on Mexico?

Given the state of the dollar, it may not do us so much good.

With contracting economic opportunity at home and our current market wobblings, more and more Americans are likely to press for the wall to be scaled down or scrapped, and what’s already up to be converted into rows of undiscriminating, omni-directional turnstiles. (Apparently, those turnstiles are already spinning in sectors like agriculture).

We may not deserve it, but second chances are what this country is about, right?

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Those that hope, hope in the Supreme push; We believe ground may still be gained by Eloisa Tamez's petition for class-action status.
We realize, of course, Chertoff isn't likely to get tripped up in any torture inquiries (though, perhaps, he outta).

Posted by Greg Harman on 4/21/2008
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