COMMENTARY: Our nation has been talking about the problem of immigration into our country by people without legal status for decades. No one has done anything about it. Much of the talk has focused on the country of Mexico since many people coming into our country without legal status come from Mexico. Many, not all.
As I said in last week’s column, the politicians for and against immigration solutions are mainly using the controversy for their own fundraising. Politicians on both sides don’t want resolution of immigration issues because they themselves are making so much money fundraising on the fears.
For all these years, what we know is that many people from other countries are bypassing our legal immigration processes. Over the years one of the plans is to build a wall. And it would appear a doer rather than just a talker, President Donald Trump, is set to build a wall between our country and Mexico.
Don’t do it President Trump. I have a better plan. The wall is a thumb in the eye of Mexico. Plus, we are building a wall with no utility other than stopping people entering our country outside of legal processes.
It won’t work. China found that after building the more-than-five-thousand-mile Great Wall of China. It didn’t work because invaders just bribed the Chinese guards to go through the wall when they wanted. Sounds like the problem Americans have with drug cartels bribing our authorities.
I do not like win-loss political solutions. A wall does nothing for our country other than provide jobs building it and bribes for our authorities from cartel members to get past the wall.
There is another way to spend that money on a better win-win solution. Rather than just building a wall on the border, build a fifteen-foot raised six-lane super-freeway along with an easement on our side for two-way railroad track construction, multiple pipelines, power lines and cellphone towers.
The cost of just building a wall is similar to building a fifteen-foot-high super-freeway that would act as a wall. We get the benefit of an easement on our side. My friend, former state Sen. Lee Cotter, a civil engineer, first mention this to me a couple weeks ago. I really like the idea.
One of the great improvements of our time is super-freeways. President Dwight Eisenhower was an Army lieutenant-colonel in 1919 when he was joined a convoy of equipment and men from the nation’s capital to San Francisco. It took the eighty-vehicle convoy sixty-two days averaging a rate of six miles per hour.
He vowed that if he was ever in charge, he would build superhighways. At the time, Germany was doing so with its autobahn. Eisenhower was lifted out of obscurity at the start of WWII to become the supreme commander of the military and then the 34th president of the United States.
Now coast to coast travel on freeways is only a few days. So why not put another path across the southern border that would allow better transportation along with more access to our country’s markets for Mexico — and to Mexico’s markets for our country.
Queen Elizabeth II said, “At its heart, engineering is about using science to find creative, practical solutions.” I agree. Engineering solutions are much better to use than political solutions. Our nation, using engineering, sent people to the moon and returned them safely. While politician President John Kennedy started the quest, it was engineers that achieved that mission.
Just having a wall out in the middle of the area with nothing around it will still require constant monitoring, which would also be what the freeway would require. A fifteen-foot rise would make it harder to just walk across the border, but it would not be impossible. Having traffic and regular rest stops would make it attractive to our citizens and would be heavily monitored for anyone trying to cross without authorization.
Let us build something useful to use on both sides of our southern border while still being a barrier to those who would enter our country without legal status. It is an engineering solution rather than a political solution. I like win-win solutions.
Michael Swickard is a former radio talk show host and has been a columnist for 30 years in a number of New Mexico newspapers. Swickard’s new novel, Hideaway Hills, is now available at Amazon.com.