, 25 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
In all the histrionic, hyper-partisan commentary about the Great Wall of Mexico, some eminently sensible points by @PeterZeihan don't get enough discussion.

He argues the wall would *encourage* illegal immigration, not reduce it. zeihan.com/of-walls-and-s…
I'll quote, because I think his argument has been painfully neglected:

"The Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts that form the bulk of the American-Mexican border regions are among the most dangerous, desolate regions of the planet. That makes it a good border–it is hard to cross.
"Would-be migrants have to make crossings in the deep desert. Dangerous, desolate areas with no towns also have another defining characteristic: no roads. Anyone who crosses the deep desert largely has to do so on foot, and a great many die trying.
"Areas with no roads cannot support other signs of civilization: post offices, schools, hospitals, gas stations…or walls. The first thing that would need to be done to facilitate the construction of a meaningful border wall
"would be to build service roads across the desert at least 40 points in order to enable heavy construction vehicles to reach the border in the first place. At least one road would then need to parallel the wall across the entire 2000 miles of would-be border wall.
"Put simply, the preparatory effort of building a barrier to stop illegal migrants would eliminate the biggest current barriers that hinder illegal migrants: the region’s natural hostility, remoteness and lack of infrastructure.
"(Incidentally, narcotics also flow more heavily along routes with good infrastructure, so the wall would likely double down on one of America’s most pressing social/law & order issues in addition to exacerbating the migration question.)
"Even that assumes the wall actually stops migrants. It wouldn’t. A great comparison is the world’s second-most hermetically sealed border barrier: the Gaza Wall that keeps the Palestinians bottled up in the Gaza Strip. ...
"The Gaza Wall is over 30 feet high, made of solid concrete, and the Israeli Army has standing shoot-on-sight orders for anyone brave enough to try overtopping it. Yet the Gaza Wall is so riddled with tunnels that the Gazans regularly get everything from construction materials--
"consumer electronics to foodstuffs to live animals to missiles to wedding parties to fast food deliveries on a daily basis.

The point isn’t just that the Gaza Wall is porous, but that Gaza’s under-wall traffic is fairly regular – items and people go back and forth often.
" A U.S.-Mexico border wall would need to block irregular traffic because the illegal migrants only need to cross once. That requires a much more intense security regimen than exists in Gaza,
"which now means so expanding the border infrastructure that the United States has a moderate number of border agents every few miles. Having only 30 people on station every four miles (a woefully inadequate number considering the task’s scale)
"at any given time adds up to roughly 60,000 security staff – not counting support personnel or the sort of expanded infrastructure required to support such a large number of people along such a long logistical chain in such a remote area.
"It’s worse than it sounds by far. Any border defined by an ineffective barrier and large, determined population movements is one in which various elements will conspire to provide clandestine crossing capacity that expressly avoids law enforcement.
"That not only generates a culture of criminality, but a whole industry based upon circumventing the barrier. Considering the Mexican cartels already have deep pockets courtesy of their narcotics smuggling, and already hold respectable market share in the smuggling of people,
"adding a wall would provide the cartels with the perfect environment to use cash and guns to criminalize America’s border towns and the border force itself. ....
"There are other reasons barricades and troops are not the right solutions. A meaningful wall’s impact on trade would easily trigger a U.S. recession across the United States with Texas getting hit the hardest.
"It would cause a multi-year depression in Mexico that would so destabilize the country economically as to guarantee sustained increases of illegal migrants to the United States.
"Current thoughts of militarizing and attempting to secure Mexico’s northern border would actually CAUSE THE PROBLEMS they purport to address. [My emphasis]"

"... Keep in mind that net migration from Mexico to the United States has been negative for nearly a decade.
"Most of the illegals that enter the United States from the south are not from Mexico, but instead from the half dozen Central American countries. If interdiction is the goal, the best place to do so is at Mexico’s southern border which is far shorter and easier to fortify...
"That sort of interdiction requires a relationship between Washington and Mexico City characterized by communication, cooperation and a degree of trust – not sending the Army to the border.
"Instead, the bilateral political relationship is now so poisoned that it will very likely lead to the election of the Mexican equivalent of Bernie Sanders – one Andres Manuel López Obrador." (It already has.)
His are significant arguments. Democrats keep focusing on, "We don't need it, it's a waste of money, it would be an eyesore, and besides, we'd have to ride roughshod over people and their property rights to do it--and besides, it's a distasteful and un-American symbol.
That's the kid of thing the Soviets did, not something Americans do"

All true. (What's more, it can only be accomplished with a lavish use of eminent domain. Anyone who grasps that property rights are the foundation of civilization should be aghast.)
But they're not stressing the argument that would have the greatest valence to anyone genuinely unsure whether we need a wall.

Americans who are afraid we'll be being flooded with criminals from the south need to understand that a wall will make this *more* likely, and why.
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