Patterico's Pontifications

10/22/2007

A Low-Tech Fence curtails Illegal Immigration in New Mexico

Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 6:20 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

I’m branching out for news from other States – but not too far because this story comes from New Mexico. It seems a low-tech fence (article and picture here) has worked to limit illegal immigration in New Mexico:

“Taking the low-tech approach, the Border Patrol erected three miles of fencing this year around Columbus, where a 1916 raid by Pancho Villa killed 17 Americans and drew an American military force led by Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing. The 15-foot-high metal fence extends west of town about 2.7 miles and east of town three-tenths of a mile. To the west of Columbus, a waist-high, concrete-filled metal vehicle barrier extends well beyond the fencing. Border Patrol officials wouldn’t disclose how much of the vehicle barrier the National Guard has constructed.

But along James Johnson’s ranch, which runs right to the Mexican border, the barriers have cut down on pickups freely crossing the common frontier with loads of drugs and illegal immigrants. “We don’t get the very dangerous drive-through traffic that we used to. … I like the fence,” said Johnson, 32, whose family owns 157 square miles of farm and ranch land. “I think the fence is a very good idea. It will not work in all areas, but there are very strategic areas where it will do a good job.”

Border Patrol apprehensions for drugs and illegal immigration on this part of the border are down sharply for 2007.”

Most of the town’s residents support the fence, although it has cut down on the Minutemen’s responsibilities:

“Being a Minuteman in New Mexico is getting pretty fricking boring,” said Robinson, a Pennsylvania transplant. “There are not illegals here to be found.”

So far, the low-tech fence has worked more reliably than the high-tech virtual fence Homeland Security has partnered with Boeing to provide. I’m not against high-tech but there’s nothing wrong with low-tech, especially when it works:

“Few politicians envision fencing the entire 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border. Plans call for 700 miles of fencing, and only 370 miles of that by the end of next year. But the low-tech hardware near the main official border crossings in New Mexico seems to discourage crossings along the state’s 180-mile border with Mexico.

“It’s like the toothpaste effect. They were squeezing them in Arizona, and now we’re pushing them,” said Sharon Mitamura, a Luna County sheriff’s deputy and border veteran who’s seen the flow of immigrants drop as they’re forced to cross away from inhabited areas. “A lot of it is desolate desert, and we’ve had some fatalities; but as far as I can tell, it’s made an impression. It’s slowed it.

Fences work. Build the fence.

— DRJ

27 Responses to “A Low-Tech Fence curtails Illegal Immigration in New Mexico”

  1. James Johnson…
    That’s a nice spread: 100,000 + acres.
    I bet he had a lot of visitors he didn’t invite.

    Low tech works, it just doesn’t generate the “empire building” the bureaucracy craves.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  2. High tech fences allow bureaucrats to be waved at while illegals enter the US. Its for their entertainment it does nothing to stop illegals. If it was effective do you think they’d install it around the White House?

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  3. Outside of Bisbee, Arizona the Minutemen have completed on private land 10 miles of a five strand wire fence to protect ranchers from the invasion of illegals and drugs across their property. At Naco, Arizona 0.9 miles of double fencing has been built for the same purpose. Not much, but at least an effort has been made to protect some from the influx of illegals and drug runners by diverting them to other areas where the Border Patrol is present. Presently the October Border Watch along the US-Mexican border is ongoing and assisting the Border Patrol by reporting illegal border crossings

    amr (d671ab)

  4. Thomas Jackson, they have you asshat of a moron… in addition to physical barriers and armed guards.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  5. in addition to physical barriers and armed guards

    THAT is the secret to success. High tech (security cameras) are great, but only AFTER you close and lock the dang door, right?

    How many of you leave your office at night, secure that the company’s security cameras are working, and leave the doors wide open????

    I just don’t buy Governor Perry’s story that fences aren’t “right” everywhere – what, we can’t figure out how to get Rio Grande water to the cows? Um, hello, we’re AMERICANS, we’re kinda clever here. We can figger it out if’n we wants ta.

    Bad terrain, rocky outcroppings? I’ve driven through the Rocky Mountains, not over, but THROUGH. We can figure out how to build a real physical human and vehicle barrier anywhere we need to. We can make it safe for cows and bunnies, and probably even low CO2 emissions if you need that.

    I don’t care if you mother/brother/sister/investor runs the surveillance camera supplier. I want a ding dang fence. New Mexico makes it work, so Texas? Can we pay attention? Can we learn????

    Less (8da0c8)

  6. My family has built fences that will slow down a one ton bull on angles that I can barely walk up, let alone drive a vehicle over.

    Hire my mom and dad. Give them simple barbed wire and steel posts for the nastier areas. Then call in the Marines to put up traffic barriers in the areas they can reach.

    It’ll work.

    Foxfier (290c52)

  7. ” I want a ding dang fence. New Mexico makes it work, so Texas?”

    – Less

    The short answer is “no”.

    New Mexico isn’t a choice destination for illegal immigrants. The INS estimates the number of illegal immigrants in New Mexico at around 39,000. That’s fewer than Nebraska, Utah, or Nevada (all states with comparable populations), and proportionally similar to Oregon, Washington, and Rhode Island.

    Texas, on the other hand, has anywhere from 1,000,000 to 1,600,000 illegal immigrants (which is three to four times higher than New Mexico, even accounting for the difference in population). Arizona has nearly 300, 000. Economic centers in El Paso, San Antonio, Dallas-Ft.Worth, and Phoenix make the idea of illegal immigration a much more lucrative prospect (insofar as finding a job goes).

    Thus, the analogy doesn’t hold. You can’t point at a working fence in New Mexico (where illegals don’t really want to go anyway) and infer that a similar fence would produce similar effects in a state where illegals go to desperate measures to gain entry.

    Leviticus (b987b0)

  8. Hey, “slowing the gain” is a starting point on the road to “stopping them cold”.

    A fence would slow them, regardless.

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  9. Thus, the analogy doesn’t hold. You can’t point at a working fence in New Mexico (where illegals don’t really want to go anyway) and infer that a similar fence would produce similar effects in a state where illegals go to desperate measures to gain entry.

    Don’t really want to go there anyway?

    Riiiiight.

    How do you explain “dangerous traffic” if “they really don’t want to go there anyway?”

    But along James Johnson’s ranch, which runs right to the Mexican border, the barriers have cut down on pickups freely crossing the common frontier with loads of drugs and illegal immigrants. “We don’t get the very dangerous drive-through traffic that we used to. … I like the fence,”

    Dangerous traffic. Freely crossing the border. But yet they don’t want to go there anyway. Uh huh.

    Read it again (or the first time):

    But along James Johnson’s ranch, which runs right to the Mexican border, the barriers have cut down on pickups freely crossing the common frontier with loads of drugs and illegal immigrants. “We don’t get the very dangerous drive-through traffic that we used to. … I like the fence,”

    And again:

    But along James Johnson’s ranch, which runs right to the Mexican border, the barriers have cut down on pickups freely crossing the common frontier with loads of drugs and illegal immigrants. “We don’t get the very dangerous drive-through traffic that we used to. … I like the fence,”

    One more time to make sure Staunch Brayer doesn’t “miss” it:

    But along James Johnson’s ranch, which runs right to the Mexican border, the barriers have cut down on pickups freely crossing the common frontier with loads of drugs and illegal immigrants. “We don’t get the very dangerous drive-through traffic that we used to. … I like the fence,”

    Next time Levi, read the post first.

    Paul (146bba)

  10. Thus, the analogy doesn’t hold. You can’t point at a working fence in New Mexico (where illegals don’t really want to go anyway) and infer that a similar fence would produce similar effects in a state where illegals go to desperate measures to gain entry.

    How do you know? Have you tried it yet?

    Paul (146bba)

  11. Chrisy you asshat of a moron the only physicl barrier that exists is in your mind. There are hubndreds of miles or border someone in a wheelchar can cross easily. Your mind constitutes more of a barrier to reasonable thought than anything else.

    Your impertence only demonstrates the limits of your education and ability to think. But if I could get my winecellar down to the level of your IQ I’d be all set.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  12. Leviticus,

    belloscm (1429ad)

  13. belloscm? belloscm?!?

    SOMEBODY KILLED BELLOSCM!

    Paul (146bba)

  14. Leviticus,
    There is a difference between a “choice destination” and a point of entry. I didn’t notice any mention of this distinction in your attempted straw man argument.
    If denied points of entry, even in undesirable N.M., they can’t get to choice destinations.
    But you already knew that, didn’t you?
    The significant metric is whether or not physical barriers in N.M. have reduced illegal traffic into N.M. Apeears that they have.

    belloscm (1429ad)

  15. “The significant metric is whether or not physical barriers in N.M. have reduced illegal traffic into N.M.” Apeears that they have.

    Should be appears; fat fingers on the keyboard.

    belloscm (1429ad)

  16. “belloscm? belloscm?!?

    SOMEBODY KILLED BELLOSCM!”

    -Paul

    Heh.

    And as for your other comments, feh. Look at a fucking map, then tell me that a fence that spanned the ENTIRE Mexico/New Mexico border would do anything to stop illegals if lifted by angels and dropped at the point of your choosing anywhere along the borders of Texas or Arizona.

    I live in New Mexico. I’ve lived here since I was two months old. I say that illegal immigration across our border is hardly of sufficient strength to warrant comparison of a fence here to a fence in Texas or Arizona (where there is an actual comparative incentive to crossing at a specific point – such as a job and a new life within walking distance).

    All you’re doing, my conjecture-prone friend, is arbitrarily taking the word of one New Mexican over another.

    But feel free to (try to) convince me of the notion that illegal aliens run rampant through my backyard, when I can look out the window and tell you, empirically, that they aren’t.

    And use numbers, this time; you aren’t do so hot with words.

    Leviticus (4df0bd)

  17. Levi – Before he was running for President, your governor considered the illegal immigration problem in your state at an emergency status. Was he lying then, or now?

    JD (3ecf8c)

  18. Levi,

    The people quoted in the article live on the border. Doesn’t that count for something?

    DRJ (fb1a22)

  19. “Levi – Before he was running for President, your governor considered the illegal immigration problem in your state at an emergency status. Was he lying then, or now?”

    – JD

    Then.

    Link, please.

    “The people quoted in the article live on the border. Doesn’t that count for something?”

    – DRJ

    Sure it does. But as far as I can tell, none of the people in the article go so far as to claim something so general as “Fences Work”. James Johnson is quoted as saying that “It will not work in all areas”(as you, to your credit, included in the post)”but their are very strategic areas where it will do a good job” – areas like Columbus, New Mexico, about which illegal immigrants don’t give a rat’s ass. The article itself states that “It’s not clear… whether the declines are because of better enforcement or because more immigrants are eluding authorities.”

    It’s not essential that illegals cross AT COLUMBUS… so they cross elsewhere. But there are certain points that offer such lucrative opportunity that no fence is going to stop the flow of illegals.

    “And use numbers, this time; you aren’t do so hot with words.”

    -Leviticus

    That’s “doing”. Fucking poetic justice.

    Leviticus (9cf150)

  20. Leviticus,

    Are you saying that since there’s no such thing as an impregnable defense there’s no point to mounting any defense?

    nk (da3e6b)

  21. nk,

    Of course not. I just happen to think that our resources would be better spent improving the economic situation in Mexico so that their huddled masses wouldn’t have to come tumbling across the border in the first place.

    The best defense is a good offense, and I think our time would be better spent solving the root cause of the problem (i.e. desperate poverty) than ineffectively treating the symptoms.

    Leviticus (b987b0)

  22. The US already has plans to pay up to 20% of Mexico’s drug-fighting budget, not to mention federal humanitarian aid and a wealth of private, church, and other charitable aid. What’s wrong with trying a fence, too?

    DRJ (970b3a)

  23. Of course not. I just happen to think that our resources would be better spent improving the economic situation in Mexico so that their huddled masses wouldn’t have to come tumbling across the border in the first place.

    How much money would it take to meaningfully improve the economic situation in Mexico compared to the cost of a fence? Or is that an unimportant detail?

    Gerald A (6b39c1)

  24. But there are certain points that offer such lucrative opportunity that no fence is going to stop the flow of illegals.

    What substantiates that claim? Or are you omniscient and know in advance what would happen?

    Gerald A (6b39c1)

  25. “What substantiates that claim?”

    -Gerald A

    Ask Milton Friedman.

    Leviticus (f6f899)

  26. All you’re doing, my conjecture-prone friend, is arbitrarily taking the word of one New Mexican over another.

    So what was you first clue?

    You’re right. I am taking the one that had

    Dangerous traffic. Freely crossing the border. But yet they don’t want to go there anyway.

    but now

    the barriers have cut down on pickups freely crossing the common frontier with loads of drugs and illegal immigrants. “We don’t get the very dangerous drive-through traffic that we used to. … I like the fence,”

    Since you live there and can’t see any illegals running through your backyard from your window, I can see why you would think a fence is a waste of time. Apparently, James Johnson, who had

    Dangerous traffic. Freely crossing the border. But yet they don’t want to go there anyway.

    and now doesn’t anymore, would not agree with you.

    “Levi – Before he was running for President, your governor considered the illegal immigration problem in your state at an emergency status. Was he lying then, or now?”

    – JD

    Then.

    Link, please.

    CNN.com: Border emergency declared in New Mexico
    Governor says area ‘devastated’ by human and drug smuggling

    New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson declared a state of emergency Friday in four counties along the Mexican border that he said have been “devastated” by crimes such as the smuggling of drugs and illegal immigrants.

    The declaration said the region “has been devastated by the ravages and terror of human smuggling, drug smuggling, kidnapping, murder, destruction of property and the death of livestock. …

    “[It] is in an extreme state of disrepair and is inadequately funded or safeguarded to protect the lives and property of New Mexican citizens.”

    New Mexico shares 180 miles of border with the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

    “The situation is out of hand,” Richardson said Friday night on CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” noting that one 54-mile stretch is particularly bad.

    And it wasn’t just Bill Richardson in New Mexico, either:

    Gov. Janet Napolitano on Monday declared a state of emergency along Arizona’s border with Mexico, freeing up $1.5 million in disaster funds to help border counties combat booming illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

    Napolitano criticized the federal government for “moving too slow” on border security, evolving into a hot-button, election-year issue in Arizona and across the country.

    “This is a federal responsibility, and they’re not meeting it,” Napolitano said. “I’ve just come to the conclusion (that) we’ve got to do what we can at the state level until the federal government picks up the pace.”

    Napolitano’s announcement came three days after New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson issued a similar declaration, complaining that the federal government has failed to stem growing smuggling-related violence to the east of Arizona, an increasingly popular illegal immigration corridor. Both governors are Democrats.

    If all this is going on, maybe you need to look farther than your backyard.

    Or were both governors lying?

    Exit question: DRJ pointed out that we are already helping Mexico (they could help themselves a lot more by cleaning up the rampant corruption in their government), so what is wrong with a fence as part of the strategy?

    Paul (146bba)

  27. Look at a fucking map, then tell me that a fence that spanned the ENTIRE Mexico/New Mexico border would do anything to stop illegals if lifted by angels and dropped at the point of your choosing anywhere along the borders of Texas or Arizona.

    The fence would extend farther than the New Mexico border, like the other states bordering Mexico.

    You do understand that, right?

    Paul (146bba)


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