Iowa Politics — Mon. Feb. 04, 2019

Iowa Politics — Mon. Feb. 04, 2019

Crossing the Border

I’m often confused by some of the discussion concerning border security. Granted, I don’t tend to travel outside the country any more, but I can recall being about 7 years of age, the summer of 1970, when we went on a family vacation to the East Coast. That included a trip to Niagara Falls…and then across the border to Niagara Falls, Canada. I recall that the family car had no problem crossing north…but on the way back into this country, border officials came up to the car to take a look inside and make sure that we didn’t have anything we shouldn’t. I also recall my parents sternly cautioning me and my younger brother to behave and not be funny when the officials were around, because it was serious business.

A few years later, the same thing played out during a summer vacation to visit friends in Arizona…a day trip to Mexico, complete with purchasing sombreros and maracas…and complete with rolling southward without issue, but having the car inspected and passengers questioned when coming back into the United States.

It all made plenty of sense…we want to be careful about who and what we allow into our country. That was the lesson I learned more than 40 years ago, and I agree with the concept today.

That’s why I have a problem with much of the current discussion. I’m going to presume we are still monitoring roads and checkpoints like we did in the 1970s. So that means the people who are not supposed to be here, or who are bringing things into the U.S. they aren’t supposed to, are coming in elsewhere to avoid detection. And that should be stopped.

If a dam is built to hold back water and there’s a leak, you plug the leak. If certain areas of an open border are prone to leaks, you plug the leak. It may not solve the whole problem, but better to play a game of whack-a-mole and at least make it harder for the people committing crimes, by coming into the country without legal status, to complete the illegal act.

Obviously, it’s more nuanced and complicated…but fundamentally, not all that much. So why not plug the leaks? Once you figure out the motives of people who don’t mind the leaks, you’ll figure out the chance that any of this ever gets resolved.