Congress was right to fund the Department Homeland Security’s request to build barriers along the border, but wrong to specify specifically where and how much border fence has to be built—or judge progress in border security on just building the “wall.”
My visit to the Tucson border included a trip to the border fence with the Border Patrol. Here is what they told me—“border fences are not a magic bullet.”
Fences don’t stop people. At best they slow them down for a few minutes. In some places, that is important. In Nogales, Arizona, for example, the fence is the only thing separating the town and the Mexican city on the other side, without a fence there would be no way to intercept people crossing the border.
On the other hand, in many places in the Tucson sector it takes a trek of up to sixty miles over rough country to reach a road. In these areas, border fences that might hold up someone for five minutes make no sense. What the Border Patrol really wants is a warning that people are headed to the border so that they can intercept them.
Building fences where they are needed is an expensive expense. Fences require roads, maintenance, and security, in addition to the money to build the fence. Buildings walls where we do not need them just so Congress can pat itself on the back and claim its tough on border security makes no sense. Let the Border Patrol build border obstacles where they think they are needed.