In the history of human civilization walls have been built for one of two purposes: keep people out or keep people in.
Probably the biggest and most famous wall is the Great Wall of China. It’s massive, covering more than 13,000 miles of Chinese real estate. It’s not actually a wall, but a series of walls built starting around 250 B.C. and ending with the last parts built around 1878. It’s estimated that it took more than a million men to build the wall, and more than 400,000 lost their lives in the process.
Even something that massive couldn’t keep all of the invaders from the north out of China. Genghis Khan breached the wall in the 13th century. The Manchus invaded and brought an end to the Ming dynasty in 1644. More recently people dismantled parts of walls to build roads and buildings.
Another famous wall was the Berlin Wall. While the official purpose was to keep those from the West out, its real function was to keep people from Eastern Europe in. It was much shorter than the Great Wall of China at 87 miles, and lasted only 28 years. While it offered a formidable physical and psychological border for those trying to cross, it’s still estimated that more than 5,000 East Germans crossed, including 600 border guards.
When it comes to walls, the one being proposed by President Trump to secure the border between the U.S. and Mexico would be formidable. There is already about 500 miles of barrier in place, which means about another 1,500 miles of wall would need to be built to run the full length of the U.S.-Mexico border.
President Trump has stated several reasons for building the wall. Some of them include keeping drug smugglers from bringing product over the border. There is also an assumption that the wall would keep out other criminals looking for a jail-free life here in the States. No one knows what the wall will do to keep out honest immigrants looking for a better life in U.S. factories and farms.
I’m not one to get into a political debate over whether a wall should be built. But I think if the wall is seen as a pillar of immigration reform, we’re missing the boat.
Why are we missing the boat? What should we be doing? Find out by reading the rest of the article here.