In a clip released as part of a documentary entitled "The Other Side of Immigration," two girls can be seen shimmying to the top of a section of border fence in a mere 18 seconds. The barrier is the kind that stretches across large expanses of the southern border, and that some would like to see extended.
"The Other Side of Immigration" is a critically-acclaimed film directed by Roy Germano about the conditions that drive Mexicans to illegally journey to the United States and the results of their displacement. This specific clip asks: "Are we getting our money's worth? Is the border fence an effective deterrent?" and appears to argue that money could be better spent improving the lives of Mexicans to discourage them from crossing the border quickly and illegally.
Some, however, have argued that the video is instead proof that more comprehensive, effective border security should be pursued.
"We need to have a combination of high technology predator drones. We need additional manpower along the border, and then where appropriate we need to build these double-layered secure fences to actually secure the border," Bob Price of Border Watch told MyFox Houston, referring to his desire to see some of the requirements of the 2006 Secure Fence Act implemented.
The Obama administration recently announced that it was ending a high-tech border fence project that had become mired in cost-ineffectiveness and waste.
Here's how the creators of "The Other Side of Immigration" explain the clip in the context of the larger theme of their documentary:
Since the mid-1990s, the US has built fencing at various points along the southern border in an attempt to deter would-be immigrants from Mexico. Building the fence isn't cheap. On average, each mile of border fence costs US taxpayers about $4 million to build and will cost another $6.5 billion over the next 20 years to repair and maintain.
Are we getting our money's worth? Is the border fence an effective deterrent? To find out, I asked two young women--both only about 5'5"--to see if they could climb the wall. Check it out...
If we're really serious about reducing rates of undocumented immigration, we could make more effective use of our tax dollars. Those of you who have seen my documentary, The Other Side of Immigration, might remember this statement from the end of the film: "Why spend money on a border fence when we could invest in highways, factories, and greenhouses. How many greenhouses could we build for the cost of that wall? If we invest in Mexico, people won't want to leave."
What do you think? Would spending a dollar to reduce poverty in Mexico be a more effective way to reduce undocumented immigration than spending a dollar to build more fencing along the border?
UPDATE: Frank Sharry, Executive Director of immigration reform group America's Voice, claims that the video is an illustration of the nation's commitment to an obsolete and shallow approach to the issue of immigration.
"This stark example underlies the futility of the GOP's border-only approach to immigration," Sharry wrote in a statement. "We are responding to a 21st-century challenge with a 14th-century wall. Immigration is a complex problem that deserves a comprehensive solution."