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In This Together: Seeking a better solution than border walls
Jul 26, 2013 | 1035 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print

By LOUISE R. SHAW

Clipper Staff Writer



Does anyone else see the irony? Isn’t there irony in that even while we continue patting ourselves on the back for helping to bring one wall down, we’re building another?

It’s different, you say. The Berlin Wall kept an oppressed people from freedom.

But really, aren’t people crossing the border from Mexico into the United States doing it for the freedom to support their families? The freedom to live in a safe society?

The big, tall, deep, eye-sore of a wall that is being built to keep people from crossing into the U.S. seems about as un-American as it is possible to get.

And does anyone really think it will keep people from seeking the freedom they crave? Surely they will they just find other ways.

What would we say if Turkey built a wall to keep Syrians from reaching safety? Or if Kenya had built a wall that trapped Somalians in a war zone?

I have an idea.

Instead of all the money we’re spending to build a big, tall, deep, eyesore of a wall, let’s invest in helping our neighbors to the south improve their society in such a way that they will want to stay and help build it up. 

We’ve done it before. With enemies. We’re doing it now. With far away nations.

Let’s do it with a neighbor.

If jobs are a problem, could we invest in training so that better infrastructure could be built? Perhaps some could be employed helping construct water purification facilities? Is there a need for better roads or shoring up historical sites? Sturdier homes? If safety is an issue, how about jobs in policing or security? Could things be “Made in Mexico” again?

I know, I’m simple, you’re saying. It’s not that easy, you’re saying.  

But easy is less important than right.

I saw photographs of the wall and the animals that live near it in an article in Outdoor Photographer. 

It is an affront to multiple senses.

According to the article, Krista Schlyer spent five years exploring the area, photographing wildlife and talking with residents.  

She found that animals go from north to south in different seasons to find water and food, and that indigenous people did the same. 

The wall prevents migrations sometimes necessary for survival. For animals and for people.

Apparently, more than 600 miles of fence have already been built along the 2,000-mile border. Recent proposals call for 700 more miles of fence. Radar and sensors and cameras thwart passage where there is not steel and concrete. 

What a cost. What a loss.

We have something here that a lot of people want and work to get at great personal risk. 

We can’t do the “I’m here so no one else can come” bit. If it had been done in the past, most of us wouldn’t be here now.

Those who’ve come and worked and contributed deserve to be included.

Surely we can understand why more are seeking what America has. And surely we can do something more than build a wall to stunt their hopes and dreams. 

Can’t we help them build those dreams in their homeland?

Can we at least try?

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