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Voices from U.S. college campuses


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Daily Tarheel

By: Editorial Board

Issue date: 10/5/06


A 700-mile wall. Really.

At least it's smarter than the missile shield  

Last month, the U.S. Senate passed a bill authorizing the construction of 700 miles of new border fencing between the U.S. and Mexico.

Make no mistake: Building a 700-mile-long wall is expensive. The House has approved an initial $1.2 billion for the fence and other border-control actions - money that could have been better spent elsewhere.

Immigrants inevitably will find new ways to get around the wall. There's too much traffic going back and forth - and too much ground to cover - to catch everyone who tries to cross.

If Congress is dead-set on combating illegal immigration, it should at least spend money on other, more effective programs - a guest worker program, for instance. However the program must be implemented with consideration of the rights of immigrants. Legal immigrants should not be deprived of benefits such as worker's compensation because they are not citizens.

No one can blame immigrants who come to the U.S. for work - many of them just want to feed their families. But our concern about immigration is not humanitarian. The U.S. needs migrant workers as much as migrant workers need the U.S.

Many jobs important to our nation's infrastructure depend on them. For all the concern about Mexicans stealing Americans' jobs, it's not a common occurrence. If anything illegal immigrants in the U.S. are taking jobs that would otherwise be outsourced to third-world countries. That's worse for American workers, since migrants are at least patronizing local businesses and paying sales and gas taxes. And while some grumble about the cost of providing them with health care, their children and grandchildren usually pay it all back - and more - in the form of taxes over the long run.

Because of this symbiotic relationship, it seems logical that our government should be working to promote legislation that will make legal immigration easier.

Instead of blowing money on a wall, Congress should search for effective, long-term solutions. If we allow more immigrants to enter the U.S. legally, we will eliminate the need to build a wall.

The Daily Tarheel

By: Editorial Board

Issue date: 10/5/06



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