Sunday, December 9, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: Huckabee says he’d seal Mexican border

Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee says he’d seal the Mexican border, hire more agents to patrol it and make illegal immigrants go home before they could apply to return to this country.

Apart from the dedication of substantial military assets to the border (and by that I mean more than what we have in Iraq at the moment) and turning the entire 2,000-mile stretch into a militarized zone, there is no way to “seal” the border. The Pentagon did an estimate for the Congress back in the 1980s as to what it would take to stop all drug-flow into the country from the south and the numbers were quite large–large enough that one could extrapolate that a true policy of “sealing” the US-Mexican border would become the mission of the US military (the number is in Betram, et al.’s Drug War Politics: The Price of Denial, which I do not have handy at the moment). Even sans such a number, it should be obvious that the idea of “sealing” 2,000 miles of territory is ludicrous without a radical increase of force on that border–to the point that any other activities of the US military would be seriously compromised. I would like to see some of these guys campaign on the notion that forget the war on terror, forget protecting the US homeland, let’s transform the US military into a border-sealing mechanism. Of course, the bottom line is that those who speak of such things are either a) ignorant of what they are talking about, or b) utterly disingenuous about what they are saying.

Huckabee also promised a fence by 2024. As it stand, there is only approval for funding for a total of 700 miles of fencing, half of which is “virtual.” The notion that the entire border could be fenced within roughly three years is a delusional proposition.

Also, one of the key numbers that these types of declarations always ignore is that not all of the illegal aliens in the US are here because they crossed the border illegally, many are here who crossed legally, but over-stayed their visas. Sealed borders won’t solve that problem. The Pew Hispanic Center estimated that as of March 2024, between 4 and 5.5 million of the estimated 11.5 to 12 million illegals immigrants in the US entered legally. No one talks about that very much, if at all. Instead, they speak in simplistic ways about walls. As such, a “sealed” border will still leave as much as ~45% of the problem in place (not to mention that “sealed” borders will lead to increased attempts, and likely successes, of those who cross legally, but then simply stay).

In fairness to Huckabee, the AP story does not quote him using the word “seal” (and, as such, it may be the reporter’s word). Still, that does not mitigate my critique.

Update: He said it.

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7 Responses to “Huckabee Promises the Impossible (Border-Sealing Edition)”

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    1. Jan Says:

      Maybe he could get all his supporters to stand together arm in arm at the border and sing Kumbaya. That would work, don’t you think? ;)

    2. TLB Says:

      Uh, your entire critique falls apart when you look at the actual plan and there’s no instance of the word “seal”, nor is there anything similar in there.

      But, it is possible to mostly “seal” the border: simply remove the reasons why people try to come here. If they can’t find work or benefits, almost all of them won’t try to come, and those who do (almost all non-migrants) can be dealt with in the normal way. As for visas, well duh: simply tighten the requirements.

    3. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

      Actually, the critique works, “seal” or no.

      However, Huckabee’s Director of Research e-mailed me this morning to first tell me that Huckabee did not use the word “seal” and later called to correct himself–Huckabee did use it.

    4. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

      And until you find a way to suspend the laws of supply and demand, it is impossible to take away the reasons people come here.

      If you decrease the number of visas, you simply incentivize illegal crossing, btw.

      You are being radically simplistic here. You might as well just “the problem can be fixed if you make the problem go away.”

    5. My comments Says:

      I retract the part about Huck using the word “seal”. It’s not in his plan, but he did say it on FNS. Why he can’t be trusted and what his plan actually involves at my name’s link.

    6. PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Huckabee: “seal the borders” Says:

      [...] As a follow-up to my post from this morning, Huckabee did, indeed, speak of sealing the borders on today’sFOX News Sunday So part of the plan that I have is that we seal the borders. [...]

    7. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

      It’s confirmed: he said it.

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