What happened to the “danged fence”?

Tim Kowal

Tim Kowal is a husband, father, and attorney in Orange County, California, Vice President of the Orange County Federalist Society, commissioner on the OC Human Relations Commission, and Treasurer of Huntington Beach Tomorrow. The views expressed on this blog are his own. You can follow this blog via RSS, Facebook, or Twitter. Email is welcome at timkowal at gmail.com.

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16 Responses

  1. Michael Drew says:

    A fence that’s not guarded is going to stop stopping anyone from traversing it quite quickly. So in that sense, yes, an effective fence’s funding can be cut.

    Moreover, you can also guard a line. Yes, building a fence on top of it and then abandoning it will stop a few more people than just abandoning the line. But, again, over time, not very many more.

    So I’m left wondering if your insistence on a fence isn’t based in a concern that is in fact pretty much exactly as you describe it when you point out its metaphysical advantages: namely, symbolism.Report

    • Mo in reply to Michael Drew says:

      This x1000. A fence is only as useful as the guards near it. Otherwise, you’re it’s a $5 set of wirecutters away from being useless. Even the Great Wall of China had guard towers and that was a big stone wall.Report

  2. Murali says:

    I’m not sure what’s the big deal about a fence. There is a fence on the border between Malaysia and Singapore. Of course there is also a waterway… but I’m as pro immigration as they come but a fence seems harmless.Report

  3. Personally, I’d be against a fence. Heck, I’d even oppose one on your norther border. That’s right, I’d allow all you illegal yanks to slip into God’s country!

    Regardless, I can understand the frustration of pro-fence people. The inability to get a straight answer out of a pol isn’t exclusive to the immigration debate, but the physical presence of the fence (if one were built) makes the lack of a concrete answer a little more glaring.Report

  4. Badtux says:

    I swear, when it comes to that danged fence Republican rank and filers don’t see that they’re like Charlie Brown and that danged football. Like Lucy the Republican pols dangle that danged fence out there and lure the rank and file to swat at Democrats’ supposed opposition to it, then once the rank and file have dutifully swatted at it and given the Republicans their vote, they yank the fence back again to dangle out there during the *next* election cycle. It’s a cynical electoral ploy and the Republican rank and file, like Charlie Brown, fall for it every frickin’ time. Sheesh.

    Get it clear in your silly little heads, Republicans: Your Republican pols don’t want to finish that danged fence *because then they couldn’t dangle it out there as an issue to get your votes*. Duh!Report

    • Tim Kowal in reply to Badtux says:

      Sounds familiar; could be something to it.

      Lessig is reluctant to dole out blame for legislators’ perverse motives. Yielding to special interests “isn’t selling out,” he reasons. “It is surviving.” Congress passes laws with “sunset” provisions and “tax extenders” in order to drum up donations from laws’ supporters when expiration draws near. “For every time a ‘targeted tax benefit’ is about to expire,” Lessig explains, “those who receive this benefit have an extraordinarily strong incentive to fight to keep it.” Lessig notes that in the 1990s, there were fewer than a dozen tax extenders in the U.S. tax code. Now there are more than 140. Because the average legislator cannot stand up to special interests and still draw enough contributions for the next reelection campaign, Lessig contends, can we really blame them for playing along?


  5. Kim says:

    Can’t turn a fence off?
    Not sure what kinda fence you’re talking about, bro.
    Maybe the expensive kind??Report

  6. b-psycho says:

    I’m just curious Tim, what would you say to those on the right that want the fence but not the regularization?Report

    • Tim Kowal in reply to b-psycho says:

      That you’re entitled to your opinion but it’s a fringe minority. the opinion itself seems unsupportable to me, with the important exception that it is to some extent a product of pols’ broken promises.Report

      • b-psycho in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        And if that didn’t work, you could tell them the economic fallout from the maximal deportation they seem to want, pointing out that sending back everyone would be like deporting the entire state of Ohio (last time I checked, undoc population was around same as the state pop).

        Not that I’m claiming to know how to talk to them on that, just a thought. My personal position is that restricting the movement of people via immigration laws & “border security” are inherently violations to individual liberty & tend in practice towards prejudice — so they’d never listen to me.Report

        • Art Deco in reply to b-psycho says:

          Again, those overstaying their visas are conventionally enumerated at 300,000 per annum, of which about a third return voluntarily (can I say self-deport?). Arrest around 200,000 people a year, record their biometrics, clap them in jail for 11 weeks, and deport them, and contain the problem in its dimensions. Processing caseloads of this dimension is accomplished by some of our larger urban forces and municipal court systems, so it is not as if it is beyond the capacity of the federal government to implement (with good administrative leadership).Report

          • Turgid Jacobian in reply to Art Deco says:

            So you keep bringing up this idea that, e.g., NYC pd + courts incarcerate and dispose of cases at about the right rate–but that’s in a very limited space. Spread it out nationwide and the resource requirements almost certainly increase superlinearly with the area–like almost the square of the relative area. Not so affordable.

            At least literal border enforcement is just linear in scale.Report

            • Come again? There would be some additional transportation costs from points of arrest to federal detention centers to federal courthouses. Most people live within 70 miles of a federal courthouse. The man-hours devoted to ferrying them around cannot be that all-consuming.Report

      • Art Deco in reply to Tim Kowal says:

        Waal, if worrying about moral hazard renders one part of the fringe, I guess I will just make myself comfortable out here. (And, with regard to ‘regularization’, I cannot see what’s in it for the rest of us, fringe and otherwise).Report