Good fences make good neighbors . . . eh?

Marketplace Staff May 12, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: As if the Army didn’t have enough to do . . . The Pentagon’s making plans to send troops to the Mexican border. Reuters has that story today. The wire service says the soldiers would help with border security. Up in Washington next week it’s going to be all border security and immigration all the time. The Senate will take up its immigration bill. The House has already passed a tougher plan, one that includes billions for more fences. Commentator Tim Bedore says the more the merrier.

TIM BEDORE: Ever hear the phrase good fences make good neighbors? The person who first said that lived next door to a young Adolf Hitler.

Alright, I made that up, but I’m not making this up: Politicians like Congressman James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a state normally known for providing America with sensible people, want us to build a fence along our entire border with Mexico at a cost of $2 billion.

And just so it doesn’t look like we are singling anybody out, I think we should also build a fence on our border with Canada. Otherwise, it’s just rude. We don’t want to appear to be favoring one country over another, let’s spend the extra $2 billion to fence off Canada.

Some people say we cannot afford to spend $4 or $2 billion on a fence right now, but we could get the fence done for under $1 billion if we hired illegal aliens to do the work.

The irony would be the last time the illegal aliens are in America is to build that fence that would keep them out in the future. Of course we shouldn’t tell them that, we’d just say it’s for decoration.

Personally, I am not so sure about this fence idea. When I was 10, 11 years old Steve Menzel and I used to sneak into college football games and the fences we had to climb over had barbed wire and we did it just to save $1.50. Somehow I think feeding your family gets Mexicans over any fence we can build.

The politicians behind this fence idea think if the Mexicans can’t get into our country, our college kids are going to be taking these agricultural summer jobs illegal aliens do now. And that’s a completely plausible scenario. Thousands of Mazda Miatas and street rod Hondas parked out in the fields while their owners, wearing Juicy butt pants and baggy shorts down below their butts, get stabbed by artichoke prickers for 12 hours.

I wonder if the politicians proposing these ideas have ever talked to the young people of America. Because I have. And they don’t seem like hard workers to me. They don’t even seem like the kind of kids who would climb over a fence to see a college football game. They seem like the kind of kids who would camp out on a couch and play an illegally-downloaded game they stole off the Internet. All summer. They seem that way because… they are that way.

But if politicians are willing to roll the dice, fine. Build the fence. And afterwards, when a trip to the salad bar costs $49.99 please make sure you remember which political party had the faulty intelligence on this one.

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