“Secure the Border”: Politician-Speak for “I’m a Tyrant Who Thinks You’re an Idiot”




By Thomas L. Knapp

About 30 years ago, in southern California, US Border Patrol officers pulled over the vehicle I was riding in to search for “illegal immigrants.” They carefully checked the ID of each occupant in the vehicle. Yes, all 30 or so of us. The vehicle was a bus marked “US Marine Corps” on the side. All its occupants were Marines in uniform.

That was during Ronald Reagan’s first term; in the Republican primary debates in 1980, Reagan and his eventual vice-president, George H.W. Bush, had worked diligently to outdo each other in their support for open borders. My, how times have changed.

Given the widespread moral panic and bed-wetting security theatrics over “illegal immigration” that characterize the last two decades,  I shudder to think how much worse life must have become on the southern US border since then, especially for Americans and immigrants of Hispanic descent.

When I hear a candidate for office quack about “securing the border,” I dismiss that candidate as unworthy of my vote or support. So should you.  At best, that candidate is an idiot; more likely he or she is a demagogue who assumes YOU are an idiot.

The United States has more than 100,000 miles of border and coastline, across which more than 500 million people (350 million of them non-citizens), 118 million vehicles and 22.5 million cargo containers travel each year. No, I didn’t make those numbers up — I got them from the people in charge of “securing America’s borders,” US Customs and Border Protection.

It’s true that the US border with Mexico is “only” about 5,500 miles long, but it’s also irrelevant. Even if that border could be sealed — and it can’t be — unauthorized traffic across it would just take to the seas. If you don’t believe me, go ask a Cuban or Chinese “illegal immigrant.”

Attempts to “secure the border” can only have two consequences:

First, they can increase the likelihood of terror attacks and so forth by creating a sea of “illegal aliens” and a lucrative industry based on getting them into the US. Actual terrorists and other evildoers become invisible in that sea and have at their disposal an illicit travel industry that would not exist absent the large demand created by “border security” nonsense.

Second, they can turn the US into a police state like East Germany. In fact, they have arguably already done exactly that to the southern border zones. It’s worth remembering that the East Germans were never really able to “secure their border” either, thank God.

And yet candidates of both major parties for all elective offices continue to publicly pay obeisance to the dumb and evil notion of “securing the borders.” Why? Because they think you want them to.

Prove them wrong. Vote Libertarian.


Thomas Knapp

Thomas Knapp

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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Steven Gama

You sound just like a democrat, when you call those of us who disagree with you an idiot. My grandpa joined the U.S. Army for WWII in order to become a citizen. He learned English, drove a produce truck out of Oxnard for thirty years. Eventually, opened La Mexicana Market in Oxnard, which is still open today. He earned the right to criticize illegal immigrants and believe me he did. I am a brown skinned person who thinks your hat is too tight on your head which resulted in less blood flow and irrational thoughts.

Thomas L. Knapp

G. Miller,

Thanks for the catch. I accidentally grabbed the number for the Canadian border rather than the Mexican border.

It’s a shame that that’s the only item on which you have the slightest idea what you’re talking about.

Thomas L. Knapp

Yes, Mr. Hicks, you’re very clear that your mastery of politics is in the same league as Saddam Hussein’s mastery of military strategy.

G. Miller

1. The US-Mexican border is 1954 miles, not 5500 miles, so you’re already batting less than .355 just out of the dugout and up to the plate.

2. Enhancing border security will reduce ingress of illegals, not increase it as you say. This was proven when we actually used to do at least some of that.

3. The vast majority of illegal crossings are at just a few points, so addressing those first and stepping up strategic internal enforcement will have a disproportionately large payback. When hopefuls see what is going on, far fewer will try and far more will self-deport.

4. Yes, when those routes are blocked, some illegals will try other routes, but they will be harder and we will block some of those too.

5. RE: “Second, they can turn the US into a police state like East Germany.” You are quite confused- East Germany never had people breaking down the walls to get in.

6. You help explain why votes for Libertarian candidates are little more than rounding errors. Fortunately, not many will be voting for candidates who are not interested in protecting our borders to enhance security, reduce overcrowding, crime, expenses and cull to improve the quality of inbound, LEGAL, immigrants. After reading your screed, it is much clearer who the real idiot is.

William "Bill" Hicks

Then, you live in a delusional world, Mr. Knapp. Ignoring the obvious invasion, not immigration, from our southern border is as stupid as Barrack Obama calling ISIS the JV team, ISIS is in containment and it was wise to make any agreement with Iran on nuclear proliferation.

You’re the very picture next to the description of an idiot in the dictionary.