Published September 17, 2010
American poet Robert Frost wrote, "good fences make good neighbors" in his poem "Mending Wall." At first blush you would think Frost meant it literally. However, the poet reminds us that before a fence can be seen as a "good fence," there must be a good reason and need for the fence being erected in the first place. Certainly I hope we all agree that the Berlin wall was not a "good fence" as it was both offensive and oppressive. But, there are instances where in fact, fences can and do make good neighbors.
I happen to believe that high border fences will make good neighbors even better neighbors and more responsible ones at that.
Regardless of whether it is the southern border or the northern border, America has a paramount need to protect and secure our borders albeit with fencing, surveillance, personnel, or equipment. Thousands of illegal immigrants flood across our borders everyday without permission or challenge. -- Fencing is not required to keep Americans from leaving it is necessary to prevent persons from entering our country without invitation or permission.
There is not a municipality in America that does not regulate or mandate fencing; in fact there are well-established zoning laws in many jurisdictions that require neighbors to share the expense of property-bordering fences. I doubt very seriously that either the Mexican or Canadian governments would rush to contribute to such a structure. In reality the Mexican government has fought tooth and nail against the United States erecting border fencing.
The irony about fence building is the fact that America is investing well over a billion dollars in highway border fencing to protect home owners and businesses from highway noise and pollution and to safeguard stray animals from harm.
In many instances the fencing to secure our highways is higher and studier than fencing to secure our borders. America today has erected thousands of miles of highway fencing at great expense and in excess in mileage of what is needed to secure our national borders.
How is it possible that we can erect thousands of miles of highway noise barrier fencing but we cannot manage to erect fencing to secure our borders?
Is highway noise a more dangerous national security threat than a safe and secure national border? I think not!
Jon Dougherty of Worldnetdaily.com recently reported that the Federal Highway Administration stated that most highway fencing are constructed of concrete or masonry block and range from 9-16 feet in height and cost between $175 and $200 a square meter for product.
According to the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials there are "more than 2,630 linear miles of sound barriers, (fencing), along U.S. highways at a cost of $1.4 billion dollars."
Remember the opposition to Israel's decision to erect border fencing along the border of the Palestinian Territory? The fact is that since Israel did erect its border fencing, Israel managed to reduce terrorist attacks by ninety-five percent.
All parties, Americans, Canadians and Mexicans should agree, "high border fences make good neighbors." It is in the best interests of all parties that they have command and control over their own land and especially their borders. Real and present dangers require America to have secure borders. It is not a question of where or not to do it. If our neighbors will not help us, then we need to spend the necessary funds to do it ourselves.
While I love my neighbor, when I go out in my backyard to enjoy my property, I would prefer my privacy as they do theirs. So my 10 foot tall brick fence is an amenity not an eye sore and certainly adds to the value of my property.
If given the choice between highway noise and a secure national border I have to believe Americans will opt for a more secure border every time.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion.
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