Donald Trump wants to "build a wall," along the border to stop illegal immigration.
Great. Seriously. I am all for it. And so are you.
To be clear, it's not a new idea, and it's already been done, and it's been working for more than a decade with strong bipartisan support.
Read that last line again.
Strong bipartisan support. Senators Diane Feinstein, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton supported more and better border fencing. In fact, they voted to put in 700 miles of the stuff.
I have written about immigration and U.S. population growth before, here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.
I was talking about this stuff more than 35 years ago, before Eric Trump was born, and before Ivana Trump (Donald Trump's first foreign-born wife) became a naturalized United States citizen,
I supposed I should also say that I have something to do with this wall idea.
Yes me, the flaming liberal who supported Bernie Sanders, and who recoils in horror at a great deal of Donald Trump's unnecessarily divisive rhetoric.
You see, Donald Trump got the idea for the wall from Pat Buchanan, and Pat Buchanan got it from me when I appeared on Crossfire, a little over 28 years ago, to talk about the need for secure fencing along the border.
For the record, when I was on Crossfire, I was 'the lefty" in the crossfire and Pat Buchanan was the apologist for open border immigration. But Pat Buchanan listened, and three days later he wrote his first piece in favor of border security.
What was I proposing, and why?
What I was proposing was not very remarkable physically, even if it shattered conventional thinking.
We have many thousands of miles of solid concrete and steel walls around major highways all over the U.S. The picture, above, is of I-66 right outside Washington, D.C. and it is a picture of this wall that got Pat Buchanan's attention back in 1989 when I first rolled out the "invisible sunken wall" idea.
A sunken wall? An INVISIBLE sunken wall? What's that?
The idea is common enough. You can see it where we have trenched highways, as along I-66 in Falls Church, Arlington, and Fairfax, Virginia, but you can also see it the "mote" enclosures used at zoos where a slope down to sunken retaining wall keeps bears and and lions and their viewers at eye level, but quite safe from each other.
The idea comes from 17th Century Land Skip architecture, when large estates wanted to prevent sheep, cattle, and deer from getting into their fancy, new, and very expensive gardens. Stone walls and rail fencing would have been an eye-sore, and so the "Ha Ha" was invented, and it has been working wonderfully ever since.
Will better fencing stop all illegal immigration?
No, of course not.
But laws don't stop all murders and rapes, and yet we keep those laws and we take action to reduce numbers.
Because numbers matter.
If we want to continue to admit legal immigrants through the front door, we need to secure the back door against uninvited gate-crashers.
The backlash against immigrants we see now in the U.S. is a direct response to our long-standing and systematic failure to control numbers.
It's like a college party; if you advertise free drinks and don't control entry at the door, the police will show up with a paddy wagon soon enough, and unhappiness and disorder will follow.
You believe in border enforcement, and prove it every day when you lock your front door, or your car door, as you leave for work.
Why do you do this? Because you understand that you cannot feed and house everyone else in the world, and that at some point others are responsible for solving their own problems through hard work and difficult decisions.
The same is true for other people in other nations. And the same is true for this nation.
These points are common sense and are separate and do NOT support arguments for racism, or discrimination based on religion or national origin, or deportations, or registries and the like.
That's where Trump has fallen off the edge of the world. He has, literally, taken a good common-sense idea and made it anathema. That's the very opposite of good policy and good politics.
But does fencing work to slow, if not stop, illegal immigration? Like new money, as the figures below make clear.
And what does all of this have to do with terriers?
What? You have never heard of the Heugervein Wall Dog? A very famous breed, I assure you. I invented it myself.