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Border Security Is A "Red Herring"

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A sizeable majority of Americans view the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border as either a crisis or as a major/minor problem.

Personally, I think that the idea of border security as a political issue is a red herring (i.e., a clue or piece of information that is, or is intended to be, misleading or distracting). My belief is that those who refer to this issue in this manner are worriedly wringing their hands, wailing "Hannibal is at the gates!" using the same animated hyperbole that my once teenage daughter did, crying "we're all going to die" when our internet router went down during a power outage.

Their implication is that the howling hordes of Carthage are already on their way to take your jobs leaving you and your family homeless and hungry, aimlessly wandering the streets of Rome. Then, there are the overblown fairy tales of shady foreigners lurking around school yards trying to give away - not sell - drug-laced candies "to all the good little girls and boys." Or (even worse) that the heathen Carthaginians will raid and burn your home, steal all of your belongings, and carry your children to be sold into slavery, but only after they kill you in your sleep using methods too macabre to relate to a good, Christian audience.

Of course, nothing of that sort could be further from the truth. To quote an old movie, "most of them are decent enough. They're just trying to make a living."

Unfortunately, based on the obvious lack of substantive results so far, it appears to me that the Old Parties have no real desire to fix our current border security issues. No, it seems to me that both of the Old Parties (and their candidates) derive more traction on the issue with their "Hannibal is at the gates!" narrative.

Most Americans (including both Democrats and Republicans) recognize that there are better economic opportunities in the U.S. and often cite this as a significant factor for the influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. However, there are partisan differences regarding the resulting influx of immigrants. Democrats tend to emphasize violence in the immigrants' home countries as a motivation for their migration while Republicans tend to focus on the belief that existing U.S. immigration policies make it easier for immigrants (both legal and illegal) to stay in the U.S. once they arrive.

As for how to improve the situation, this is also politically divisive because any proposed solution only will not be bipartisan. Republicans say, "build the wall" while Democrats exclaim, "you already tried that and it doesn't work!" Democrats suggest adding resources to provide safe and sanitary conditions for migrants arriving in the U.S., but Republicans would only agree to it if those conditions were part of a World War 2-era "relocation camp".

Unfortunately, the vast ideological divide between the Old Parties will continue to hinder any bipartisan legislation proposed to "fix" the immigration and border security systems. What I can derive from the position statements from each of the Old Parties is that they (and their candidates) don't want you to even try to understand the real issue (hence the "red herring" idea) because their open-ended narratives of fear and anxiety regarding border security continue to propel them into the offices that they seek where (statistically speaking) they will afterwards ignore you so that they can (in two or four years) campaign on the same issues to remain in office.

This concludes today's lesson on "How to Use Fear-Mongering to Get (and Stay) Elected". Class dismissed.


Committee to Elect Darren Hamilton
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