How do you feel about walking through the zoo and observing elephants and lions that have been fenced in for your entertainment? It is educational to be able to see a live lion and hear his roar without the fear of becoming an appetizer. Still, it is sad to see these animals artificially fed and gradually see the "wild" fade from their eyes. At some locations you can drive through more or less natural habitat and view wild animals from the relative safety of your car. Be sure to take a video camera because a large percentage of these trips wind up on America's Funniest Home Video. While backpacking the portion of the Appalachian Trail that crosses the Smokey Mountain National Forest, we were required to sleep in three-sided shelters that had a chain-link fence and gate across the front to keep bears out at night. So many hikers were feeding bears through the fencing that it is now being removed to reduce the interaction between hikers and wild bears. That's not very comforting for the people passing through after the bears have been conditioned to come to the shelters for easy food.
Now imagine building a cage large enough to encompass an entire country. Did you know that is what is proposed for our country? True, right now the focus is just on the USA/Mexico border. Canada will come later. This raises several questions for me. The first relates to the previous discussion--who is caged? If we actually build an $500 million fence, wouldn't that be like repairing the levies in New Orleans while the water was still 9 feet deep in the city? Since there are an estimated 20 million illegal Mexican immigrants in the USA now and such a fence would take......maybe 12 years to build, there may well be, what, 60-70 million by the time it is finished. There will be almost as many on this side of the fence as on the other side. That is not my only concern. The biggest concern is where does the $500 million come from. Actually, that would likely turn billions. President Bush says a secure wall would cost $8 billion. The 14 mile fence south of San Diego has slowed the flow of Mexicans into that area. But the original estimate of $1 million per mile has actually cost $3.8 million per mile for the first 11 miles. Since the remaining 3 miles is over difficult terrain, it is expected to cost $10 million per mile to complete. Will that keep out terrorists? Of course not. Will it keep out illegal immigrants? Of course not. They will simply drive across at check-points. The problem is not crossing the borders. The problem is once they are here we treat them as legal citizens, as if they had always been here. Many are receiving government subsidies. I do not claim to have all, or even many, of the answers concerning immigration and naturalization. But I am sure that a fence we do not have the money to pay for will not fix the problem we are afraid to address.