September 30, 2010


Piggybacking on yesterday’s story about the inconsistencies of Mexican immigration policy, there’s a new story about an old problem  bedeviling our neighbor to the south. The fact that Mexico is building a wall along the boundaries of its southernmost state in order to prevent the entrance of Central American migrants-although, as the story above points out, Mexican authorities steadfastly deny that is its intended purpose-should not surprise anyone who’s followed this issue attentively over the years.

As I noted in yesterday’s entry, discriminatory treatment of foreigners is enshrined in that nation’s constitution, which is the cornerstone document of the contemporary Mexican state. So the fact that people without documents-especially those of Amerindian or Mestizo background, two groups traditionally oppressed even when they are citizens-would be subjected to unbearable conditions once they enter Mexico is not surprising.

Putting its blatant hypocrisy aside for a moment, I do think this project is a good idea in the long run. Despite what the critics of this wall might suggest, separation barriers are efficacious tools, which could be why so many countries with problematic borders are constructing them.

Granted, it’s not a panacea, and without complementary measures, e.g. beefing up internal security, policing regions where constructing a barrier is either not feasible or impossible, etc., building one is ultimately a futile gesture. However, fences and walls are effective deterrents to illegal immigration, something that even our southern neighbor seems to recognize.

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