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Investigative commentary: 450 miles of border wall are a monument to a motto

An empty construction site at the end of a section of border wall near Scribner Gultch south of Arivaca where construction crews ceased working on the controversial project following an executive order by President Joe Biden on Jan. 29, 2021. PHOTO: Arizona Daily Star
The gate in the border fence across the San Pedro River at the Arizona-Mexico border was left open early last week to allow water and debris to pass through [30 January 2021]. PHOTO: Arizona Daily Star

It started as a motto and ended as a physical reality across Arizona’s wild lands

By Tim Steller | 30 January 2021

ARIZONA DAILY STAR — In the beginning was the word, and the word was “wall.”

“Not fence,” the counselors advised. “Wall.”

When the man talked of the wall, the people stirred, they shouted, they chanted: “Build the wall! Build the wall!”

The man noticed the stirring. So the word became a promise, and the promise became a test of loyalty. The test became a campaign commitment, and the commitment became a jobs program.

Now, you can stand in the striped shadow of 30-foot bollards in the wilds of Southern Arizona. The steel is driven into concrete poured feet into the ground, and topped with metal plates.

It looks intimidating, as intended — a big barrier, slashing straight across the land. A border wall.

But it’s not just that. It’s a monument. It’s a monument to a mnemonic device made into a moving motto — “build the wall.” An idea with an urgent, fleeting life, just ended.

It’s a monument to the word. […]

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1 Comment on Investigative commentary: 450 miles of border wall are a monument to a motto

  1. FYI: the author, Tim Steller, uses the handle “senyorreporter” on Twitter — I guess you can make up your own mind if that is supposed to be ‘señor’ or ‘senior’. Anyway, it’s pretty clear that he personally would never support a well (or a “fence”), so that’s what this article is: a diatribe against it.

    https://twitter.com/senyorreporter

    [A series of caravans headed toward the United States that year. Trump sent in the military and ratcheted up his pressure for the wall, especially after the Republicans lost control of the House in the November 2018 midterm elections.]

    Sending the military and building a wall will do nothing to stop the ‘caravans’, since they can go to any legitimate port of entry to apply for asylum, and current law requires that a request for asylum be fairly heard — in addition, the US generally practices ‘catch and release’, where the alien is supposed to show up later for a hearing (either immigration or asylum) — of course huge numbers just disappear into the interior.

    Barring abrogation of the 1951 refugee treaty, a ‘safe third country’ agreement with Mexico is the only way to address the ‘caravan’ problem at the southern border — but as someone on Twitter said about Trump: he vastly underestimated how stupid Trump is.

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