Letters to the Editor

The Christian Science Monitor, March 5, 2008 | Go to article overview

Letters to the Editor


A border fence will not solve immigration issues

In response to your Feb. 29 editorial, "On a fence at the border": As a resident of Arizona (where the United States southern border is at its most porous), I believe building a fence is a waste of money. Any student of history will tell you border fences are as ineffective as they are offensive.

Instead, America should leverage its expertise in credit card authorization to track immigrants. Knowing who's in the country, where they are, and what they're doing is critical to national security. We can do this by issuing immigrants a visa with a magnetic strip or computer chip.

Whenever immigrants rent an apartment, apply for a job, or engage in other important activities, they could be required to swipe their visa using a terminal similar to those in retail stores. I'm sure MasterCard, Visa, or American Express would be happy to tackle this project. Tracking immigrants isn't the only measure that's needed, but it would be money well spent - unlike a fence.

Lynn Dorsett Scottsdale, Ariz.

Regarding your recent editorial on a border fence: Does what the Soviet Union tried in Germany and what Israel is trying in the Near East mean nothing to us? The expense and appearance of a fence around us says so very much about our failure as a country in international relations.

We need to enter into discussions and actions with our neighbors on how best to help them make it better for their people to live and work at home.

Robert Alsleben Victoria, Minn.

Regarding your recent editorial on a fence along the US-Mexican border: I agree that technical problems are ultimately fixable, but a virtual fence "in the field" should be working now, without waiting until 2011. If Boeing can't do the work properly, someone else can. Fifty years of space exploration proves that the United States has the knowledge, technical superiority, and resources to build a virtual fence in a respectable time frame.

Real fences are impediments to resolving conflicts by negotiation and are psychologically detrimental, as they are perceived as being prisonlike and they are false barriers. …

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