Patterico's Pontifications


Border Fence Update

Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 12:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Even though the topic was national security, I only heard one mention of border security in last night’s debate and that was by Senator McCain:

“But we still have a long way to go before we can declare America safe, and that means doing a better job along our borders, as well.”

That’s not a clear statement of support for the border fence but at least he mentioned border security. Thus, it’s a good time to revisit the status of the Southern border fence.

Congress approved funding of 670 miles of vehicle and pedestrian fencing along the Southern border. To date, 345.9 miles have been completed.

The El Paso Times recently reported that nearly all of the 110-mile border fence in the El Paso Sector covering far West Texas and all of New Mexico has been contracted out at a cost of $220 million. All but one section of the West Texas-New Mexico border fence is under construction and completion is expected by the end of the year. The contract on the final section, with an estimated cost of $8 million, is pending.

Opinion on the border fence is decidedly mixed in Texas border communities. El Paso resident Michael Walsh explained why he supports the fence:

“I’m tired of living in Northern Mexico.”

Walsh isn’t exaggerating. Another El Paso Times’ article notes that “74 percent of all residents in the El Paso metropolitan area spoke Spanish at home, even if they are fluent in English.” Thus, no more than 26% of El Paso residents speak English at home.


33 Responses to “Border Fence Update”

  1. I’ve always found the border fence subject laughable and nothing but pandering to the wingnuts.

    What the hell? They don’t know about ladders down there?

    jharp (f4bed7)

  2. I’m not surprised that JOT tries to trivialize with insults (“wingnuts”) right out the box. But that is why he posts here, really.

    David Byrne put it best: “..same as it ever was…”

    Eric Blair (d07d10)

  3. The fence isn’t intended to stop people from crossing completely.
    The border fence, like any fence, is an impediment.
    The border fence may be a deterrent in some locales, and a speed bump in others itt is better than nothing when it comes to impeding flow of illegals northward.

    The financial crisis will cause formerly employed illegals to go home. This is a two edged sword, because most of the “under the table” illegals will be able to gut it out longer than the fake document illegals who were paying into the system.
    As the flow of illegals dries up and maybe even reverses, it is worth using the time and money to improve deterrents to easy crossings.
    See, Congress did do somethng about illegals…. they torpedoed the economy and now that there is no money to spend, illegals will have to go back home.
    Hopefully the training they have received here will allow them to thrive within their own economy

    SteveG (71dc6f)

  4. Northern Mexico reaches at least to Fresno in California, with colonies further north

    SteveG (71dc6f)

  5. McCain has been out there talking up another immigration reform bill, so unfortunately I don’t think he has any intention of completing the fence as currently proposed. Just another example of some of things I strongly disagree with him on, but it’s not a deal – breaker.

    Dmac (e639cc)

  6. “some of the things.”

    Dmac (e639cc)

  7. I wish those of us to the right of center could talk about “border security” without making it appear that the most important thing is “make them stop speaking Spanish”.

    Larry Sheldon (86b2e1)

  8. I never understood the hostility regarding making English the national language – generations of immigrants had to learn the native tongue in order to get ahead, and those who persist in not learning the language doom their subsequent generations to lives in poverty.

    Dmac (e639cc)

  9. Larry Sheldon,

    I take that as a not-so-veiled reference to me so I’ll respond.

    I wish every American-born resident would learn a second, third or fourth language. I just wish their first language was English. As Dmac notes, it helps people succeed In America to be proficient in English. If you don’t speak it very often, you won’t be proficient.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  10. DRJ, isn’t it a sad commentary on our political times that you can suggest a strategy that would better help immigrants who don’t speak English well succeed better—and get smeared with a racism charge?

    Me, I think that folks in the DNC very much like it when immigrants don’t speak English. It makes them more dependent on government, and the conduits of information are more limited (extra credit question: who owns the major of Spanish language radio and television stations in Southern California?).

    It’s all about “D” and “R” and very little to do with the people who are impacted by those decisions.

    I’m with you, DRJ. But on campus, people who say what you wrote would be labeled a racist. Sad but true.

    Eric Blair (2708f4)

  11. Someone enlighten me. Barry ZerObama called for Americans to learn to speak frog or was it espanol and yet what does he speak? Did he learn whatever they have in Indonesia or his abandoning daddy dearest’s native Kenyan (don’t know what it is, I suppose not Swahili or Hausa though)?
    Some of us are sick of the diminishing of English and all the emphasis on things like Spanish and ebonics by libtards. If I wanted to live in a foreign country that speaks Spanish, I would move to S.A. or Spain. You’ve got the street signs in Spanish in parts of Miami.
    I was watching No Country For Old Men last night and the scenes of west Texas made me think of DRJ. That movie was based on 1980 timeline and apparently a big era for incipient drug running from Mexico.
    One of my neighbor’s from Colombia has a teen and she’s been here all this time and still can’t speak English. My own grandmother was Polish with a third grade education and yet she spoke English just fine.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  12. Eric,

    As JD would say: Racist!

    DRJ (c953ab)

  13. I was at district meetings this week and read some stats. In our So. Cal. district of 33,000 students, 11,000 of them are English learners with Spanish speaking parents. We are a need to improve district because of low test scores. English classes are free and available to anyone who *wants* to learn. And that’s the point, people don’t want to learn nor do they need to because they are willing to be the permanent working class. And in California, that’s really not a bad life when you compare it to the eariler immigrant experience. My grandmother’s family who came through Ellis Island speaking only Yiddish after being chased out of Eastern Europe, had far less to start with and far less offered them. They made it with no expectations of a nation adapting to them and assimilating to their culture. Quite the opposite. And with great thankfulness.

    Dana (4d3ea0)

  14. “Did he learn whatever they have in Indonesia or his abandoning daddy dearest’s native Kenyan (don’t know what it is, I suppose not Swahili or Hausa though)?”

    – madmax333

    Well… yeah, he did, insofar as English is one of two official languages in Kenya (along with Swahili).

    Leviticus (41975c)

  15. DRJ:

    The sad part is, I have seen this sort of charge bandied about…just for telling the truth. Like people who are here illegally are not breaking the law, somehow. Despite how Mexico treats folks coming up over the border from Central America into Mexico. That’s different.

    It always is, seems to me.

    We really need courses in critical thinking in our schools. But then, the folks teaching “critical theory” (oh my aching head) would take over.

    Eric Blair (2708f4)

  16. We really need courses in critical thinking in our schools.

    #15, Eric Blair, your idealism is sweet. :)

    How dare anyone be empowered with the immense skill of critical thinking! That is no way to keep the masses dependent on those who know better.

    Dana (4d3ea0)

  17. If we don’t restrict ALL IMMIGRATION, legal and illegal, the USA will be over-run by mainly 3rd world peasants, mostly Spanish speaking Latinos. That’s just an “adult” fact that the MSM and other limp-wristed folks need to get through their brains. Mexico has an economic plan and that plan is to send tens of millions more of their peasants into the USA to work and send money back into the Mexican economy. It doesn’t matter to them whether its legal or illegal. Endless, family chain immigration which is legal is a big part of the problem. That needs to be scaled way back but good luck since the Democrat Party is counting on creating a new class of dependent constituents through endless immigration.

    We should have immigration but it needs to be LEGAL and in SMALLER NUMBERS, for a good ten years or so, then we can revisit the topic.

    rsg (f6cafd)

  18. Perhaps the only upside to the economy going soft in regards to illegal immigration houston chron article

    voiceofreason2 (590c85)

  19. Dear rsg:

    I’m in favor of reciprocity. We should have the same policies toward illegal immigration that Mexico has. The ACLU should set up shop down there.

    Dana, thank you for the emoticon; I always enjoy reading your posts. You and I know that the Big Boys and Big Girls on both sides of the political divide do NOT want voters to think critically. They want voters to think reflexively.

    As for the schools, Glenn Reynolds hat-tipped this great article, that says it all about “critical thinking.”

    I hate election seasons.

    Eric Blair (2708f4)

  20. I wonder what the percentage of people have spoken Spanish at home in El Paso is historically?
    My impression of El Paso is that it has always been very Hispanic. Some parts of New Mexico around there too. There are families up in New Mexico who have been there since the Spanish land grant days 300 years ago who still speak a sort of Spanish dialect at home

    SteveG (71dc6f)

  21. SteveG:

    I wonder what the percentage of people have spoken Spanish at home in El Paso is historically?

    I certainly agree that the West Texas/New Mexico area is very Hispanic but that doesn’t mean we all speak Spanish at home. Among the 4 counties in my West Texas area (but not far West Texas), the Hispanic population ranges from 35-52% but the percentage of families who speak Spanish at home is around 25%.

    Further, it seems to be getting worse in El Paso County. The 2000 Census showed 72% spoke Spanish and the linked article says 74% speak Spanish now. Compare that to the 1990 Census that, according to my calculations, showed 61% of the El Paso County residents spoke Spanish or some other language at home (591,000 total population of which 362,000 spoke a language other than English). Meanwhile, during the same periods, the foreign born population rose very slightly. In 1990, 24% were foreign born while, in 2000, 27% were foreign born.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  22. My grandson is the only child in his class who is not in English as a Second Language class, and Anaheim is way north of the border and is not historically a “Hispanic” community. Illegal aliens have changed my community forever and no one in Washington DC or Sacramento cares. To them, we are just numbers.

    tyree (8e01fc)

  23. If Mr. Michael Walsh (and, btw, I read Mr. Sheldon’s comment as being directed at him, not at our esteemed DRJ) has trouble with the number of Spanish speakers in El Paso, he’d better not come to Miami. As MadMax notes, there are plenty of street signs in Spanish, and the freeways are surrounded by scores of billboards in Spanish. If we have a lower percentage of Spanish speakers here, that’s only because another significant percentage speak Kreyol (most of you know that as Haitian Creole, and it’s related to French in the same way that Scots is related to English–speakers of one can comprehend each other mostly but not completely)–enough of them that Kreyol is actually the third official language down here. (Jamaicans seem to prefer Queen’s English to patois when they come here, otherwise Jamaican patois would be the fourth.)
    Also, the article somewhat contradicts itself further down the page:
    The census indicates that 24 percent of the El Paso population speaks English only, and that fewer than 2,000 people said they speak a language other than English or Spanish at home.
    Which means that 76 percent are Spanish speaking monoglots or bilingual–but doesn’t actually imply that all of them use Spanish at home, or are Spanish monoglots. If parents there are like parents here, many will use Spanish simply to ensure that their children are bilingual, even though the parents themselves speak at least passable English–they believe, generally correctly, that the children will learn English from friends and the surrounding environment.
    And if you don’t want immigrants to come here, then the current economic mess should provide you with an insight into the “solution”. Make the US a third world country. As long as the US is economically better than their home countries, immigrants will come here, and if they can’t come here by legal means, they will come here by illegal means. May I remind you folks that there’s a minor industry that services the smuggling of Chinese immigrants into the USA?

    kishnevi (bd6c91)

  24. Surprise, Surprise.
    Unrestricted illegal immigration has helped turn the USA into a economic Latin American basket case.
    The Democrat’s solution – we must allow tens of millions of more illegal immigrants.
    Only a racist would oppose the Democrat’s our plan for tens of millions of more (illegal) immigrants.

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  25. Not all legal and illegal immigrants are abusing the system. I do think dems want to grant amnesty and citizenship because liberals expect the vast majority from Latin America to vote for the socialist agenda. Nearly all the Hispanics I talk to who are not Cubans seem to buy into the Messiah’s BS. They blame Bush and the GOP for the current housing crisis and high gas prices. Reid and Pelosi get a pass.

    It seems to me that Haitians are atypically black culturally as most seem to want to work and don’t have the nwa attitude of many American Blacks. I see Haitians doing many jobs that regular citizens avoid because of low pay.
    From what Miami Cubans I’ve observed here, they also have a strong work ethic and a supportive family structure akin to Jews and Koreans.
    The Mexicans and Central Americans I encounter in Palm Beach county trend more toward menial jobs. And the most vicious street gangs are illegals from Central America. I’d be pleased to see them (illegal gangbangers) placed in chain gangs repairing infrastructure throughout America. I’m sure the ACLU and Catholic church would find that cruel and inhuman though. In any case, despite Barry O’s feelings on treating violent teens as teens, we could at least deport them and/or try them as adults.
    The thing is we could be opening the immigration doors for people with real talent and education and not for millions of poverty stricken and ill-educated Mexicans. I’m sure plenty of states are finding that education and health care costs for illegals are putting a severe burden on state and local governments.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  26. But will you acknowledge that they speak English in Kenya?

    Leviticus (41975c)

  27. Boarder Fence. Physical object that slows or stops movement through an area. We have what are called border patrolls that intercept, when they can, people who cross our borders. A border fence will either slow down people enough to allow border patroll agents to arrive and arrest them, or funnel them into a narrow arrest zone, reducing the overall cost of securing the border. If it reduces the speed of people jumping the fence, the agents do not need to rush so much to get there and apprehend them. The ones that go around the fence will be in a smaller zone, reducing travel distances for border patrolls. Facilities for holding can be consolidated.

    A Stoner (c1e770)

  28. The 26% that speak English is inflated because that number includes the military population. In other words, they are not the native population. That number seems very high. If you are looking for part time work, you can’t get a job at the local malls without being fluent in Spanish. The high school parking lots are filled with car licenses from Mexico. Verification or status of residency is glossed over more often than not. I understand that this is common along the border towns.

    mcnorman (8d1915)

  29. 26 I can’t even keep the names straight any more. From what I understand blacks don’t do such a great job running the governments. They do excel at padding their Swiss bank accounts.

    Since it used to be British East Africa, English language is not surprising, but the other official language is Kiswahili with numerous indigenous languages also. Must be a great place if Obummer’s relative can live on $1 a month. Pity Obama doesn’t return and rule there. They appear to relate to shysters and criminals.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  30. You sound like my grandparents – painting with a brush that is far too broad to be appropriate. Are you an Old Person, by contemporary standards?

    Leviticus (41975c)

  31. The fencing authorized in the 2006 will be built. That article doesn’t even mention the other things that ares slowing the fence down: that pesky 5th Amendment, and Hurricanes Dolly and Julio, which have flooded the Rio Grande.

    Much of the land that the fence has to pass through is privately owned, and confiscation by eminent domain takes time, as it should. Also, negotiations for property value damages are ongoing. In Texas, the border is the middle of the Rio Grande, but the fence can’t be built there. So the fence will be built north of the border, in some cases a mile north.

    Those whose properties will be stuck on the Mexico side need to be compensated. So should people who lose access to water in the river they need for their ag or recreation businesses. There also issues of emergency responder access that have had to be worked out for the houses on the wrong side of the fence.

    It’s a little more complicated than a lot of people realize.

    juliesa (06ce13)

  32. The SIERRA CLUB oppose a border fence becuase they claim it will block the JAGUAR from entering america but no fence has ever stopped birds who can simply fly over any fence SCREW THE SIERRA CLUB

    Krazy Kagu (34b826)

  33. Lets get one thing straight. There is a difference in kinds of immigrants. My family came here for freedom, they didn’t come here waving foreign flags and for financial gain only. Why are we legalizing over a million people into this country when there are so many Americans out of work? For all of you that are for amnesty and you end up loose your job and they foreclose on your house, you deserve it.

    Ryan (0fb51f)

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