By Ross Flavel

Do you have a point you’d like to make or an issue you feel strongly about? Submit a letter to the editor or a guest column.

I recently wrote my congressional delegation in support of a spending bill that includes funding toward the construction of a barrier along this country’s southern border. In response, one informed me, in part, as follows:

“A 31-foot ladder easily defeats a 30-foot wall. There are smarter strategies for border security, infrastructure investment and immigration reform. Please know that I will continue to engage with my colleagues to push for a comprehensive solution to these issues.”

Where to start?

Is, then, a 100-foot wall easily negotiated with a 101-foot ladder?

First, if your imagination will allow, for I’ve never seen one, picture a 30-foot ladder, its size, weight, cost and availability.

Then consider the second need for one in a subsequent descent and the likely result of a 30-foot drop without one.

Have you ever stood at the edge of a 10 meter diving platform? But our challenge isn’t hoards of 31-foot ladder wielding “invaders,” is it?

As for the “smarter” strategies for infrastructure, investment and immigration reform, we, of course should employ these to the end mentioned.

But, I don’t see any applicability of ladders (or physical barriers) here. So, back to the subject at hand.

There are, without a doubt, many ways to defeat a wall. No one, to my knowledge, believes that a border wall alone will be a perfect solution.

Then comes a recent guest column regarding “America’s current stalemate” in The Bulletin (Jan. 23) listing a 15 or so item “proposal” only the last of which deal with the idea of a barrier, “only where proven necessary and effective” and, of course, “in conjunction with other forms of border security.”

The author then proposes that “powers that be … agree that a 2,000 mile fence or wall will no longer be pursued in lieu of a more comprehensive approach to border security.”

First of all, a barrier’s efficacy is proven and well-documented in both preventing unauthorized entry to this country and in channeling entry to better managed locations.

Second, what could be more comprehensive than a serious barrier?

It would affect the entire southern border and “all forms of immigration to our country” there.

Much suggested in the piece seemed to be a variation on sitting around, holding hands and singing “Kumbaya.”

As for returning kids to their parents or guardians, we don’t incarcerate innocent American kids with their criminal parents. That we show the same consideration to those of illegal immigrants is a measure of our humanity and an unfortunate consequence of their parents’ choices.

A wall is the embarrassingly obvious first step. If I may add my own analogy, one should stop the leak before one begins bailing.

You see, unless this is done in this order, the problem only grows worse as one, in essence, treats the symptom rather than the cause.

As for the other strategies to which both the guest columnist and the senator refer, I have yet to learn what they might be from those who so inexplicably now fight even the idea of an effective physical barrier.

Meanwhile the president, whatever his many shortcomings, has made a very good case for the barrier.

That it coincides with common sense, and the views of professionals on the scene as well as those Americans most immediately and directly affected is a bonus. It is instructive that so many in favor of the project in the past are now so desperately searching for any excuse fight it.

When someone wants to enter my home, they generally knock on the door. (It’s mounted in a wall of my house.)

I evaluate them, consider the context of their presence before me and assess their purpose for being there. I may consult other members of the household. I then make a decision.

Without my walls the decision would not be mine to make. Agents working for us on our borders are similarly tasked. We should give them the tools to do their jobs.

— Ross Flavel lives in Bend.

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