I haven't written much about the latest developments. I think it has become one of those "team" things: if you're onboard with Team Trump, you're unreservedly okay with it and if you're not, you want no part of it, nohow, no way.
That's certainly one way to look at it. It's not the only way.
Borders create opportunities -- good and bad. It would be nice if borders could be managed in such a way that only good people got across them, and only in the officially-approved manner; it would be great if every willing immigrant could immigrate, find work and become productive citizens.
That's not how borders work. It's not even how they work when the border is a peaceful one between two very similar countries -- as was painfully discovered by one of my long-ago co-workers whose girlfriend turned out to be an illegal immigrant from Canada. She got nabbed and sent back.
When the two countries have radically different standards of living, radically different levels of lawfulness and a significant disparity in the availability of technology and of drugs? People, money and goods are going to cross that border, no matter how high, wide and mighty a wall bars it.
Oh, you can raise the stakes, and that will have its greatest effect on the most vulnerable. As I have written before, if better border security prevents people from trying to cross in the places of greatest hazard, and funnels them towards actual border-crossing locations, that's a desirable outcome in terms of fewer lives lost. At that point, people and their Congressthings can argue about the criteria for letting people in -- and there are legitimate arguments to be made on all sides -- and have it mean something more than mere shouting at the tide.
Drugs will still cross. Money will still cross. Want to fix that? About the only way to do it is arrange matters so a volume of marijuana doesn't go way up in value the moment it crosses that line. Do the same for every other smuggled drug. Legalize it and let Big Pot crush the foreign competition at the cash register. Know why they're smoking Kools in the poor neighborhoods instead of hand-rolls of backyard tobacco? Because even growing your own costs more than buying a pack at the 7-11! Yes, this indeed radical and scary and Not At All What Our Parents Did. And I'm not looking forward to the day when any trucker can buy a handful of Black Beauties at the Flying J and take his chances on getting caught -- except that day is already here. Enacting Prohibition didn't make alcohol unavailable. Ending Prohibition didn't make driving drunk any less a crime.
Legalize drugs -- start with pot, several states and foreign countries are already running the experiment without collapsing -- and you can build a wall with a fraction of the steel and concrete.
Why is the story of my former co-worker's lost love worth retelling? Because it's unusual; for a young, single woman, there was nothing on this side of the border she didn't already have at home except for a few more days of summer. There was no economic incentive.
Remove the economic incentive. Ideally, Mexico should become as prosperous and gang-free as the U. S. (noting that this country is neither universally wealthy nor lacking in a degree of crime, amateur and organized; we're just better off on both scales). Don't ask me how, though starving their drug gangs for cash would probably help. Ideally fewer substances would be prohibited in the two countries and the remaining restricted ones would be substantially the same on both sides of the border.
Sure, you can build a better wall. Look how well it worked in Berlin! Or even China. But it's not a long-term solution. Neither is using the idea of a wall as a political football.
Working On A Starship
3 weeks ago