LETTERS: Sealing the borders isn't the answer

Dick Yarbrough’s last column (“It’s Time To Fix Our Borders,” Nov. 13, Page 6A) bordered on the outrageous. He would have us believe that one solution for our threats from terrorists is to seal the Mexican border, to magically wall out all but, perhaps, selected entertainers, maids and waiters.

To take a more common sense and cost-effective approach, if our nation spent just one 1/100th of what it does now (to patrol our southern border, return those caught, imprison the habitual “offenders,” build thousands of miles of walls) on helping restore the Mexican economy, we might actually stem the immigration.

I say, “restore” its economy, because for more than 90 years, North Americans exploited its people and land, extracting huge profits and forcing the once-self sufficient farmers to grow only products for U.S. export. Latin Americans became impoverished by having to import foods that they once could grow. Now in the past few years, when Mexicans could suffer no more, their historical role in feeding this nation has been swept away in a tide of Republican-led xenophobia.

Yarbrough’s argument that terrorists sneaking past our borders will create another 9-11 are facile and only appeal to those who know neither history nor international affairs. Terrorists weren’t born that way — to want to hurt the Americans. The reluctant road to violence was paved in decades of humiliation and racist U.S. policies that, for example, turned a blind eye to Israel’s decades of humiliations and abuses of Palestinians.

The best way to prevent social and military threats to our nation are by studying recent history, learning why people believe they have no alternative to conduct illegal acts or harm us, avoiding the actions that cause them to suffer and subsequently seek redress or revenge. Preventions are far better than cures.

— John Elliott