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The Wall

If you aren't hearing, talking, thinking, reading, feeling passionate, or getting agitated about the "wall", congratulations on achieving the highest level of nirvana. For the rest of us, this has become an all-consuming topic.

Here are the incontrovertible facts from Pew, White House archives, USAToday and other sources about our southern border. You cannot spin these points, no matter your political affiliation.

  • The southern border is 1,954 miles long from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, the 9th longest border in the world.

  • About 650 miles (a third) has concrete, steel mesh and/or barbed wire fencing. This was mandated by law in 2006.

  • About 1,300 miles are unsecured because of the Rio Grande or secured by flimsy fencing susceptible to bolt cutters. 21,000 border patrol agents manage this area in-person and with motion sensors and drones.

  • The border is dotted with 52 crossings, several rail lines, about two dozen bridges, two dams, multiple roads and a ferry. Millions of people reside in 35 border cities.

  • Smugglers charge $5,000-$6,000 to get you to Brownsville and another $6,500 to get through the next 500 miles to Houston.

  • Estimated illegal immigration has dropped since 2007, specifically from Mexico.

  • Total border apprehensions have dropped significantly since the late 90s. Zero-tolerance (a recent concept) doesn't account for the steep decline

  • Only 6 people connected to the terrorist watch list were stopped at the southern border in the first half of 2018 vs. 41 on the US-Canada border. The statistic about 4,000 terrorists at the southern border is totally spurious per conservative media, liberal media, and State Department records. And about undocumented immigrants committing more crimes, here you go.

Is there a "national emergency"? Yes there is but not the kind that this administration will have you believe.

Unlike previous years, the people at the southern border are not Mexicans trying to enter the country. They are from Central America and they are fleeing violence and poverty. They are seeking asylum, not streaming in illegally. There is a high likelihood that they will be killed on the way to the border by smugglers and gangs. For that reason, they are walking in a caravan to keep the media spotlight focused and to avoid persecution.

Essentially, we have a growing humanitarian emergency at our doorstep.

People will keep arriving every month especially now that Mexico has said they will provide refuge. As things stand, the US government is completely unprepared and overwhelmed. A wall will not keep asylum seekers out; they will continue to arrive legally with inadequate processes to handle the volume.

Clearly, letting the caravan into the country will have consequential and long-term impacts; turning them away will be a humanitarian blunder. For the first time America is stuck between a rock and a hard place on the southern border. And 5B of spending on a wall at this moment in history is a missed opportunity with respect to fixing our immigration system once and for all. This plebe definitely does not know how to solve the problem but I hope the people we have elected will do the right thing!

As we sit cozily in our warm homes watching history unfold during tonight's primetime news cycle, let's remind ourselves to sort fact from fiction as we draw our conclusions.

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