The U.S. government has trillions of dollars and can hire all sorts of smart people and buy all sorts of high-tech equipment. But there's no substitute for common sense.
A recent Christian Science Monitor article by Daniel B. Wood announces the astounding discovery that taller fences work better. It's entitled "Where U.S.-Mexico border fence is tall, border crossings fall.".
Here are some earth-shattering excerpts:
US border patrol agent Michael Bernacke guns his SUV down the wide desert-sand road that lines the US-Mexican border through urban San Luis, Ariz. To his right stands a steel wall, 20 feet high and reinforced by cement-filled steel piping. To his left another tall fence of steel mesh. Ten yards beyond, a shorter cyclone fence is topped with jagged concertina wire. Visible to the north, through the gauze of fencing are the homes and businesses of this growing Southwest suburbia of 22,000 people. "This wall works," says Mr. Bernacke. "A lot of people have the misconception that it is a waste of time and money, but the numbers of apprehensions show that it works."
The triple-and double-layered fence here in Yuma is the kind of barrier that US lawmakers – and most Americans – imagined when the Secure Fence Act was enacted in 2006.
Only a fraction of the new barriers resemble anything like the images of formidable fencing – the Berlin Wall or the bleak monolith that divides Israel and the West Bank – envisioned by the initial proposal. Most of the new fencing is not a double wall, but a combination of regular vehicle blocks and pedestrian barriers that range from metal mesh and chain link to traditional picket fences.
Here's more perspective from the agent on the ground:
Bernacke, the patrol agent, says that since the triple fence was finished in October, there has been a 72 percent decline in illegal migrant apprehensions in the 120-mile swath of the US-Mexican border known as the Yuma sector. Eight hundred people used to be apprehended trying to cross the border here every day. Now, agents catch 50 people or fewer daily. The 1.5-mile strip of triple fencing that cuts through suburban San Luis is the most impenetrable, says Bernacke. That's because the three walls are separated here by a 75-yard "no man's land" – a flat, sandy corridor punctuated by pole-topped lighting, cameras, radio systems, and radar units, where unauthorized migrants can be chased down by border agents.
Of course, securing the border is more than a technical problem. We have the technology to secure the whole border, but what our leaders lack is the will to get it done.