Build that Fence
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Mar 01, 2017
The current president of the
United States seems pretty
determined to build a wall
along the southern border of
this county. And, it should not
surprise any of us that this is also a goal of
the administration. Donald J. Trump talked
about this often and with passion during his
campaign to the White House.
The Chinese tried the Great Wall, which
isolated their country for hundreds of years.
The wall was meant to serve as protection
from warring northern tribes. Today, the wall
is a tourist attraction. Maybe Mr. Trump has
a valid point for down the road a few years.
Over the past several months I’ve had
thoughts about this proposal that is meant
to halt immigration, legal or not.
Go back three decades to when then-President
Ronald Reagan went to Germany for
political interests. As he stood at the Brandenburg
Gate, June 12, 1987, and addressed
the crowd, the hallmark of his speech was directed
to Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev
to, “Tear down this wall.” Reagan had asked
the same question five years earlier when he
suggested that he ask the Soviets, why the
wall was still there in the first place.
Now, 30 years later, current president
Donald J. Trump is saying, to build that wall,
separating the United States from neighbor
and ally, Mexico.
Some of that wall has been built, about
one-third, or 650 miles. The cost eight years
ago was up to $4 million per mile, even
though most of it is a fence, rather than
the wall Trump so animatedly talked about.
Some of that fence has fallen into disrepair,
and there are many who take their chances to
enter the United States illegally.
There is a better way than to build a wall
and spend money that neither this county
nor our neighbors to the south have to spend.
The solution is simple; increase security and
implement better technology and solutions.
Train and hire more border agents who can
stem the tide of illegal immigrants and the
flow of illegal drugs into this country.
Security products and solutions need security
professionals in order to understand
how they work and why, as well as getting
the best results. Border enforcement officials
have been telling Trump’s transition
team that a wall alone is not enough. You
also need agents, camera towers, stadium
lights and sensors. If the president insists
on a “great wall” to deliver on his campaign
promise, Customs and Border Protection has
identified 400 miles where the current fence
can be extended or reinforced.
But, there are clearly sections where it remains
impractical. For instance, the border
fence stops at a gnarly mountain range at
Otay Mesa, Calif., about 15 miles east of the
Pacific Ocean. The view here is open country;
no dividing line.
I’m neither for or against the wall that
President Trump proposes. It doesn’t impact
my daily life. What does impact my day-today
thoughts is how best security and technology
can be implemented to save lives and
property. Before committing to the wall, is it
something that should never have been built
in the first place, or will it simply become a
tourist attraction years down the road?
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Security Today.