Answering The Atlantic: How to Secure the Border and Address Immigration Reform

The Atlantic occasionally employs a unique and ingenious way to engage their readers’ perception of hot-button issues in a manner framed around their agenda: The “A and Q,” which flips the standard Q and A format to pose more detailed questions than answers. The concept provides a sentence or two about a commonly proposed solution to a polarizing problem before asking seemingly valid questions that change the reader’s perception. This allows the magazine to editorialize on an issue while providing minimal information on opposing arguments, cloaking it in objectivity.

On March 8, their A and Q addressed immigration. Two particular rhetorical questions in the article can be addressed substantively and effectively, which the author declines to do. The first addresses border security and the second misleads readers about the history of immigration in America.

Concerning border security, the magazine poses a brief solution before tearing it down in a more detailed manner, dismissing concerns over a porous border:

Atlantic’s answer: “If one thing is certain, it’s that [illegal immigration] has been an ongoing problem. The government needs to secure the border and build a wall.”

Atlantic’s question: Where does the money to pay for the wall come from, and how would it get built? To completely block off the U.S.-Mexico border, the wall would have to extend roughly 2,000 miles, from California to Texas’s Gulf Coast. In 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act into law, authorizing the construction of a 700-mile wall of double-layer fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border. Covering a mile of the border averages between $2.8 million and $3.9 million, according to the Government Accountability Office. And the Department of Homeland Security has already paid millions to maintain existing fences.

The goal behind this question is to plant the idea that securing our southern border is fiscally ludicrous, a position shared by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. However, the math shows otherwise. FAIR estimates illegal immigration costs the United States $113 billion dollars annually. If securing the border costs $15-$25 billion as is commonly proposed, with an additional $700 million each year for maintenance, the fence need only result in a 5 percent drop of the overall annual cost of illegal immigration to pay for itself within six years. Securing the border is certainly possible and indeed, it represents an opportunity to lighten the load for American taxpayers.

The second question presents a false pretense that compares immigration levels today to those of the past:

Atlantic Question: “U.S. history is rooted in immigration, so how would the country morally justify blocking immigrants?”

immigrant admissionsThis question suggests that immigration levels and policy today are historically consistent. But in fact, the waves of chain immigration today are incomparable to any previous trend. The highest amount of immigration the U.S ever experienced prior to the modern era occurred during the period from 1901-1910, when an average of 880,000 immigrants entered the states every year. This amounts to roughly half of the estimated 1.75 million immigrants, legal and illegal, who currently enter the United States on an annual basis. Furthermore, the immigration policies that allow for such out-of-control immigration levels are not part of the country’s “roots,” rather they were instituted in 1965, overturning prior strategies of caution and moderation. Since 1965, the yearly average of immigrant admissions has steadily risen to unprecedented numbers.

It is very important that immigration is covered by the media. However, it is imperative that they do so without a manipulative agenda. Americans crave honest and balanced journalism, and the mainstream media has again failed to deliver.

avatar About Spencer Raley

Spencer joined FAIR in 2015. He conducts research, and writes content for FAIR’s publications and website. He brings previous experience in state politics, gubernatorial and district campaigns, and D.C. political non-profits. Spencer holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.

Comments

  1. avatar Not Politically Correct says:

    The wall is working great in Israel.. We need them to show us how to build a REAL fence.

    • avatar Pat Enery says:

      So did the Great Wall in China & the Berlin wall in Germany. Those who do not learn from history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

    • The Latinos I Talk to In America

      Totally support a fancy tour attraction Trump Wall to bring Mexican jobs back to their own country….it could have Trump Steak and wine at tourist restaurants, hotels will spring up and best yet, it will cause IAs to return to their motherland, where Mexico actually created its “own job base” with its MASSIVE WEALTH..

      Win/Win!

  2. avatar William says:

    Robert Frost said it best “Good fences make good neighbors”. Many moons ago I met a “HAL” salesman from South Africa, long before Mandela was released from prison, and he told me about a fence made of cactus that was on the border with one of the belligerent countries. He said the cactus was so thick that even tanks couldn’t get through it. Last time I checked cactus thrives all along the border. Of course, EPA regulations would probably prohibit the importation of the variety of cactus that was used in South Africa. I think there are many different ways to build the fence, and we should start looking into them. In the 1960′s Kennedy set landing on the Moon as a goal, and we achieved it. I can’t imagine that we are incapable of building a wall.

    • avatar Pat Enery says:

      It is the constant pounding by the controlled Media that pushes the idea that we are incapable of building that wall or rounding up all the illegals. The roundups have been done here before successfully & before the advent of instantaneous communications. (the Internet) We should be far more efficient today. Hitler did it. And NO, he didn’t exterminate them. That was in the 30s. Let’s get up to speed.

      • avatar SecBorders says:

        In my opinion, I think that FAIR should delete any comments that refer to Hitler as a positive analogy to the enforcement of our immigration laws. A member of my family lost an eye fighting the Nazis and I find this offensive and I think this analogy hurts, and does not help our important cause of ending illegal immigration and reducing legal immigration.

  3. avatar DSchaer says:

    Tax payers spent $750 million on obamacare for illegals. Build the damn fence. Enforce the law, send the kiddies back, no refunds to illegals from IRS, no anchor babies!

  4. avatar George Fuller says:

    TWO THINGS to reduce border traffic to drug traffickers……..

    1. Pass and enforce E-Verify so all workers are legal……..
    2. Amend the IMM & NAT> ACT to require one parent be a citizen for a child to be a citizen at birth.

    Those are the two biggest magnets drawing illegal aliens and visa over stayers to the USA………..

    Congress knows this……..why haven’t they enacted them…………..E-Veriify was promised by Congress in 1986……….30 years ago!

  5. avatar Leland says:

    People who don’t want a wall or fence insist it won’t work. The Border Patrol, you know, the people who have the actual job of securing the border, say fences are a great assistance to their work. It prevents people from just dashing across the border, instead it gives agents time to get to the scene of those trying to climb the fences. Foolproof? No, but what is.

    As for this country being “rooted in immigration”, why doesn’t the Atlantic tell the other side of the story. Which is, the people who came in the past were not welfare recipients, because those programs did not exist. It was sink or swim on you own. Not run down to the welfare office for the anchor babies. Typical rewrite of history.

    • avatar No Change says:

      No Leland…people who do not want a wall are smarter than you….and know for a fact..ONE is not needed to stop illegal immigration.

      • avatar Leland says:

        Like I wrote, the border patrol wants one and say it works. They have testified so in Congress. But you apparently know better.

        • avatar No Change says:

          I do not know better………it is so…………I never think I am right I stay behind the facts……..

        • avatar No Change says:

          because a clown testifies that is better in Congress it means so?…because they are in the Senate they know what they are doing? just look at the last 8 years….all of them….that is my point….

    • avatar Stinky Cheese Man says:

      The wall is good, but limited. Let’s keep the wall, and make it better. Let’s also use e-Verify to catch the illegal scum who get by the wall.

      • avatar No Change says:

        The wall will never work already proven by history but you guys are just out of touch….