Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rick Perry: Right on the Border Fence

Rush Limbaugh loves to say that conservatives are results oriented while liberals are guided by good intentions. Conservatives are rational. Liberals are emotional. Conservatives focus on facts. Liberals focus on what they believe the facts to be. Rush's analysis seemed to be on target until the issue of illegal immigration came along and conservatives have shown that they are just as likely to be driven by emotions as any well intentioned liberal.

A perfect example of conservatives "being emotional" is the hysteria that ensues everytime a politician suggests that a full physical fence along the Mexico-USA border is not the most effective use of our financial resources. Rick Perry is being portrayed as "soft" on illegal immigration by his GOP primary opponents. They point to Perry's opposition to building a physical fence along the entire USA-Mexico border. Perry said, "...the idea that you’re going to build a 1,200-mile wall ... is idiocy. It absolutely would not work. If you build a 40-foot wall, then the 42-foot ladder industry takes off.”Actually, you don't even need a ladder to scale the border fence as these two young women demonstrated in 18 seconds:



The Mexico-USA border stretches for 1,969 miles. According to the Department of Homeland Security nearly 650 miles of fence has been completed. A 2009 GAO study found that "The per mile costs to build the fencing varied considerably because of the type of fencing, topography, materials used, land acquisition costs, and labor costs, among other things." However, a rough estimate can be calculated by simply taking the Table 3 figures on page 8 of the GAO report which shows the completion of 215 miles at a total cost of roughly $625 million. That works out to $2.9 million per mile. To construct the additional 1319 miles it could cost approximately $3.8 billion. And, that is a conservative estimate that doesn't take into account any increases in labor, materials and other costs. It also does not take into account maintenance of the the fence. That is a lot of money to delay entry into our country by 18 seconds.