Border wall

About a year ago, I moved into a new place and found myself for the first time in my life living in a gated community. The gate wasn’t much of a selling point, to be honest, at least compared to amenities like location, cost and proximity to my favorite golf course and the grocery store. But still, I’ve come to appreciate the sense of security offered by life inside a more secure border.

All of which explains exactly why I believe that President Trump’s proposed border wall is not the scandalous, shameful concept his political opponents claim it to be.

The Arizona-Mexico border was one of the first places I visited upon moving to this state in 1995. I’ve traveled down there many times in the years since, both as a journalist and a tourist.

I’ve interviewed border mayors, ranchers, sheriffs and merchants, and been taken on multiple tours of the favorite routes used by drug smugglers and human traffickers. My admittedly simple-minded analysis of the situation is as follows:

The United States of America is a magnet for all sorts of people. Most of them are good, but some of them are evil in the extreme. While our nation will never stop everyone who wants to do us harm, we would be wise to control to the greatest extent possible who comes and goes at edges of our country.

 Thus, a border wall makes practical sense.

Unfortunately, we live in a time where virtually nothing is considered practically when it can be screamed about for political purposes. With that in mind, anything proposed by a Republican will be loathed by Democrats. And vice versa. And few things are more loathed by Dems than President Trump’s “big, beautiful wall.”

 Here’s southern Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva on the subject: “This wall, this fantasy, this political promise that was inane when (President Trump) made it and it continues to be inane, is not the solution.”

Grijalva is part right, of course: A wall alone would never be enough to secure America’s borders. That’s why the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, which started building six miles of new wall in the Rio Grande Valley a few weeks back, also included “detection technology, lighting, video surveillance, and an all-weather patrol road parallel to the levee wall” in the package.

I’d absolutely concede that even this comprehensive “enforcement zone” will not deter every smuggler and criminal intent on entering America.

As any “Game of Thrones” viewer can tell you, even a miles-high wall can be breached by an evildoer who combines determination and criminal skill in the right measure.

Even so, lack of 100-percent effectiveness is no reason to abandon building a border wall. Nor is the existence of a tall ladder or the possibility that someone might build a tunnel, as smugglers in Naco and Douglas have been digging for years.

To me, a secure border, enhanced by a wall, would aid us in establishing a more humane immigration policy, including one that acknowledges the existence and contributions to America made daily by most of the 12 million undocumented folks currently inside our borders.

 Me, I look at a wall as a logical starting point. But then again, I’m not this president or Speaker Nancy Pelosi. For them, everything is political – especially the things they deny as political.

“It has nothing to do with politics,” Pelosi has proclaimed about the wall. “It has to do with a wall is an immorality between countries. It’s an old way of thinking.”

Spoken like someone protected around the clock by an armed security detail. And who, like me, assuredly lives behind a wall someplace very, very safe indeed.

David Leibowitz has called the Valley home since 1995. Contact