THE BLOG
06/16/2010 02:25 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rep. Steve King's Distortions About Border Security

A few days ago The Iowa Independent featured an article about U.S. Congressman Steve King's assertion that a 2,000-mile long border wall between the U.S. and Mexico would have prevented the shooting death of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, a fifteen year old Mexican National who was recently gunned down by a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. Congressman King also said, "A border wall would dramatically reduce illegal immigration." According to King, more border walls would prevent violence, death and illegal immigration. On all accounts Mr. King is factually wrong and possibly lying to score political points. A bullet killed the Mexican teenager, not the lack of a border fence. We have never had more border walls than we do today and the federal government that built the structures cannot even ascertain whether or not they are effective. Yes, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), after billions of dollars in contracts to build the current border walls, cannot determine whether or not they prevent illegal immigration.

Mr. King and his colleagues constantly beat the drum of "more border walls" even though they are nothing but a waste of money. Also, it is a known fact that current border walls were never intended to stop illegal immigration as King suggests they will. Border walls were constructed to deter migrants - to make their attempt to cross into the U.S. more difficult and more dangerous. A twelve-foot fence will never stop anyone who wants to scale it, dig under it or break through it. High-ranking border officials have stated publicly that a border wall cannot stop illegal immigration. The entire reason to place a barrier at the U.S./Mexico border is to drive migration away from the safety of population centers out to remote areas where agents would supposedly have an easier time detecting and apprehending migrants. The reason Arizona has seen a spike in migration is because the current border fences have funneled people in that direction. The walls have not stopped the flow they have merely shifted it to the hostile deserts and mountains. The only measurable affect of border walls is the mass death of thousands of migrants. The current walls have stopped no one. People are still coming and people are dying in record numbers ever year. Rep. King must know this but chooses not to address the deadly effects of border walls because it is not politically expedient. Instead he would rather lie about the magical power of a border wall and stand on the bodies of dead immigrants to garner votes.

Yes, I know many of you will disagree and say that walls do not kill people, that hopeful migrants take their lives into their own hands and must accept the consequences of their actions. To you I say you do not know the pangs of poverty or desperation. Most migrants are well aware of the risks and they make the deadly journey anyway. They have no choice. Shouldn't we be alarmed that over 5,000 bodies have been recovered on U.S. soil since border walls were first built? For Mr. King to suggest that more border walls would save lives is not only ludicrous it is beyond ignorant and inhumane as well as an outright lie.

If Mr. King really wanted to resolve the complex issues of migration he would partner with our neighbors to the south instead of referring to them as livestock (see clip). He would take a look at trade policies that keep our southern neighbors poor. He would address corruption, greed, lack of education and job opportunities. He would denounce the demand for cheap labor and illegal narcotics in the U.S. that fuels migration and the drug trade.

I suppose you cannot expect much from members of congress who use tactics of fear and think it is smart politics to scapegoat immigrants. Steve King, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and all the other politicians who scream, "secure the border" are not tough or smart and are not protecting us from anything. They are liars and deniers of the facts. They pick on the weak and poor to appear strong. We have a serious and complex immigration problem in this country. It is destroying families, causing national strife and killing thousands of people. Scoring cheap political victories does nothing to resolve it and lying to constituents about border walls exacerbates the problem. A migrant, trying to illegally cross the U.S./Mexico border, braving the desert heat and mountain heights to find a menial job to feed his children has more dignity, honor and humanity than a lying U.S. Congressman from the great state of Iowa who says he wants to keep them out.