Tancredo, Wall-builder

by John Holbo on June 15, 2007

So I’m reading Belle’s copy of Marie Claire (June, 2007). There’s a short Q&A with Republican Presidential hopeful, Tom Tancredo (p. 216). He’s all about the immigration stuff. Example:

Q: Would you build a wall along the Canadian border, too?
A: Yes. If you don’t build strong borders, you’ve gained nothing.

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{ 77 comments }

1

Sean Carroll 06.15.07 at 1:02 am

Did you misplace your own copy?

2

Helen 06.15.07 at 1:13 am

Simply batshit insane.

3

Matt 06.15.07 at 1:14 am

I’m all for building a wall between Canada, especially if it will keep out those no-good Canadian academics who come here, while keeping in place their own protectionist measures, and take tenture track jobs away from good, hard working Americans like myself!

(Please note this is said jokingly, except for the protectionist measures part.)

4

John Holbo 06.15.07 at 1:16 am

No, Sean, don’t be ridiculous. My copy’s not for reading. It’s for preserving in acid-free mylar in a long box in my closet, with all my other copies of Marie Claire, dating back to 1956.

5

Hello Kitty 06.15.07 at 1:54 am

Along the same line of thinking, don’t we need walls along our entire shoreline as well?

6

John Holbo 06.15.07 at 1:55 am

Actually, I think it needs a roof, too. (Not to mention it only has a dirt floor, for the most part.)

7

otto 06.15.07 at 1:56 am

I haven’t got to that article yet, I’m still working on the Marie Claire roundtable on Bretton Woods II.

8

will u. 06.15.07 at 2:14 am

“Along the same line of thinking, don’t we need walls along our entire shoreline as well?”

I found that to be pretty effective in Age of Empires II. I further recommend castles and guard towers filled with English longbowmen.

9

Gene O'Grady 06.15.07 at 2:34 am

Yeah, they coulda kept my great-grandfather out and we’d be as contented as our Canadian O’Grady cousins up in Bastard Township (not to mention British Columbia).

For a touch of the good old days, my late mother-in-law came to Corpus Christi by ship in 1916, speaking only Swedish and Spanish, and they didn’t check on her “citizenship” until 1980 — after 50 years or so of voting.

10

otto 06.15.07 at 2:55 am

But Josh Marshall says there’s no such thing as voter fraud!!

11

Matt 06.15.07 at 3:06 am

The floor would help keep out mole men, too. That seems a good idea to me but I don’t see Tancredo supporting it. Jerk. Just because that’s how _his_ family came in he thinks it’s fine.

12

McG 06.15.07 at 3:18 am

Would that include the Alaska-Yukon border?

13

Michael Bérubé 06.15.07 at 3:39 am

You’re all missing the point. Tancredo was suggesting that there should have been a wall along the northern border of Canada. That would have kept the immigrants out.

14

Andrew Edwards 06.15.07 at 3:40 am

If the Americans built it, it would save us the trouble :-).

By the way, has anyone in a public forum busted out any “Mr. Tancredo, tear down this wall!” kind of stuff?

15

Jacob T. Levy 06.15.07 at 3:41 am

My copy’s not for reading. It’s for preserving in acid-free mylar in a long box in my closet, with all my other copies of Marie Claire, dating back to 1956.

John wins his own thread.

16

george w 06.15.07 at 4:00 am

The whole point of Marie Claire is to accelerate deforestation. A wall on the Canadian border would just slow that down.

17

roy belmont 06.15.07 at 4:36 am

Instead of being silly about it, be practical. Individualized, wearable, personal walls. In times of trouble masses can convene at the appropriate geographical feature, shoulder to shoulder like the good old days. Living walls.

18

On a serious note 06.15.07 at 4:54 am

I hate to break the light mood, but the 911Commission StaffReport might make some interesting reading for those who are (almost certainly) ignorant of all the aspects of this issue. One chapter describes how past terrorists have gamed our ImmigrationSystem to stay here, including one that almost became a citizen through a PastAmnesty.

19

Chris Bertram 06.15.07 at 6:45 am

Sounds an excellent idea. It would make it more difficult for those libruls to flee the US and erode the tax base.

20

ejh 06.15.07 at 6:46 am

speaking only Swedish and Spanish

That’s an unusual combination.

21

Henry (not the famous one) 06.15.07 at 7:15 am

#18–Progressive thinking like that would have prevented the Columbine massacre.

22

pietr 06.15.07 at 7:42 am

Every genuine US citizen should be obliged by law to turn their toilet into an immigrant-free panic room, which auto-locks for six months on detection of a Canadian accent.
Let’s face it, in Switzerland everybody has a mandatory bomb shelter.
Better by far to live in your own shit than to say ‘hello’ to the neighbours, right?

23

wade 06.15.07 at 7:47 am

Because i remember how people used to get over that wall that ran through Berlin, perhaps a more practical solution would be to make a pair of massive incisions through the Mexican and Canadian borders, attach the worlds largest steel cable to California, and tow the continental USA out into the middle of the Pacific ocean…

24

abb1 06.15.07 at 8:03 am

It belongs here: The Onion: American Voices.

25

darreng 06.15.07 at 8:41 am

#19 — Which parts of “the issue” do you believe folks here are ignorant of? The part where not a single 9/11 hijacker entered the country illegally, or through Mexico? Pray tell, what wall would have prevented the 9/11 attacks?

26

chris armstrong 06.15.07 at 9:11 am

“Along the same line of thinking, don’t we need walls along our entire shoreline as well?”

I found that to be pretty effective in Age of Empires II. I further recommend castles and guard towers filled with English longbowmen. [Will U]

Classic mistake. This will do nothing to protect against enemy trebuchets (including floating ones, so those shore walls won’t last long either). The Americans need to get to work now on their anti-trebuchet technology. For those enemy flotillas, I recommend long-range ‘Patriot’ trebuchets armed with fire-balls.

27

alphie 06.15.07 at 10:18 am

And I thought the whole working mom-study of empires thread was bizarre.

Good stuff this week, if a little unsettling to the sleep deprived.

Personally, I always found that a wall of Protoss Photon Cannons three deep to be ideal for home(land) defense.

“Phased-plasma rifle in the forty watt range.”

“Hey, just what you see, pal.”

28

ajay 06.15.07 at 11:50 am

19: hey, it’s that WeirdGuy with the hatred for IllegalImmigrants and the CapitalizationProblems!

29

glenn 06.15.07 at 12:17 pm

So, why not just build a wall around Tancredo? I think that would make just about eveyone happy.

30

shaftesbury 06.15.07 at 12:26 pm

Glenn wins this thread at 31. Hands down.

31

aaron_m 06.15.07 at 12:33 pm

Obviously we are missing the easiest solution.

Not a wall around the US to keep immigrants out, but a wall around Mexico and Canada to keep “immigrants” in.

Guantanamo, Mexico, Canado,

32

Gene O'Grady 06.15.07 at 1:03 pm

No. 21 — I’m not sure just how unusual a combination Swedish (actually it was a language we jokingly refer to as Nordish or Swedegian) and Spanish was — there seem to have been Scandinavian immigrant colonies pretty much everywhere my wife’s grandfather (1872-1930) went on his travels, and his residences included South Africa, Malaya, Argentina, Venezuala, almost every state in the American West, and of course Sweden and Norway. Did leave us with a remarkable portfolio of postcards switching between four languages in a very small space, plus a collection of photos of his women friends.

More to the point was the fact that my impoverished Irish-Canadian great-grandfather seems to have regarded the US-Canada border much as the Mexican and Central American populations regard the border today?

Out of curiosity, has anyone here read the Treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo?

33

tveb 06.15.07 at 1:17 pm

Terrorism! terrorists!! terrorism!! walls!! mexicans!! terrorism!! criminals!! our families!! hard working americans!! terrorism!! terrorists!! mexicans!! walls!! walls!!

A leaked copy of tancredo’s upcoming speech (with a few adjustments it would be similar to any other republican candidate’s, except perhaps Ron Paul’s)

34

Wissen 06.15.07 at 1:44 pm

Tan Credo. Tommy Sheridan’s new party? :-)

35

omicron 06.15.07 at 2:03 pm

34:You forgot “hard-working mexican terrorists!”, and by adjustments you probably mean adding a good smattering of God and Jesus to it.

36

Randy Paul 06.15.07 at 2:13 pm

I found that to be pretty effective in Age of Empires II. I further recommend castles and guard towers filled with English longbowmen.

Make it Frenchmen who fart in their general direction, tell them their mother was a hamster and their father smelt of elderberries and convince them to go away before we taunt them a second time and you’ve got a deal.

37

chris armstrong 06.15.07 at 2:30 pm

See, no-one’s spotted that a wall only works in three dimensions. It’s those crafty time-travelling immigrants you’ve really got to watch out for. They could use a time-machine (devious foreign technology) to get into the States just before The Wall was built. I recommend, therefore, that US scientists invent a time-machine (Patriotic version with Stars and Stripes and tax breaks for rich travellers) to construct an EternaWall which continually loops itself back into existence. That should do it.

38

abb1 06.15.07 at 2:48 pm

Time machine? OK, but what about a teleporter a-la Star Trek? You’ve gained nothing.

39

gray 06.15.07 at 3:09 pm

Dave Barry having a go at Tancredo

http://www.realcities.com/mld/miamiherald/16561492.htm

40

mds 06.15.07 at 3:16 pm

I suspect that had they asked him if he would build a wall along Canada’s border with Mexico, he would have still answered “Yes.”

Why is Marie Claire running an interview with Mr. Tancredo, anyway? (Granted, it’s not nearly as disturbing as Mr. Huckabee joking about wearing a thong…) Perhaps Senator Brownback needs to arrange something with Cosmopolitan, just to keep up.

41

engels 06.15.07 at 3:18 pm

Building a wall is not the solution. The solution is a mile-wide moat filled with sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads.

42

chris y 06.15.07 at 3:28 pm

This is clearly the way to go.

43

aaron_m 06.15.07 at 3:32 pm

re: #39

We need roofs, roofs I tell you!!!

44

John Emerson 06.15.07 at 3:53 pm

10: Jesus is a common Spanish given name, and Christ is an occasional Scandinavian surname, so a “Jesus Christ” would be possible in a Hispano-Swedish environment. Second coming, Armageddon, etc.

45

Peter 06.15.07 at 4:09 pm

When the DDR built their wall, they claimed they were building it to keep out spies, sabateurs and terrorists. In actuality, it was built to imprison their citizens.
When the US builds “our” wall, “we” claim that we are building it to keep out illegal immigrants and terrorists. To leave the US requires a passport. As of today, in 2007, one only requires the passport to leave the US via plane or boat. As of 2008, even people fleeing the US via car or foot will need one. To board a plane, boat, or leave via car requires positive permission from the DHS.

Many people who have been detained/arrested at anti-bush or anti-wto events are being refused passports (either new or renewals), and so are becoming the nucleus of the future political prisoners of america. You voted for the jackbooted thug. Even if his jackboots are crocs.

Tancredo’s wall is meant to imprison Americans, just like the Berlin wall.

46

McG 06.15.07 at 4:31 pm

Tancredo’s wall is meant to imprison Americans, just like the Berlin wall.

This is sillier than Tancredo’s comment. The new passport rules may be misguided, but they are not a round-about way of keeping Americans “imprisoned.”

47

Sean Carroll 06.15.07 at 4:33 pm

John is trying his best to point us toward the obvious solution, but we’re all missing it.

Mylar bags around every country.

48

Craig 06.15.07 at 4:37 pm

Re #10: The amalgamated townships of Bastard and South Burgess were renamed Rideau Lakes Township in 1998. However, there are still people who “are proud to be a bastard.” (Although they’ve likely changed affiliations to the “Rural Revolution.”)

49

Steve LaBonne 06.15.07 at 5:16 pm

Mylar bags around every country.

And sealed with… duct tape! This is the perfect assignment for our crack Dept. of Homeland Security.

50

mds 06.15.07 at 6:05 pm


Mylar bags around every country.

And sealed with… duct tape! This is the perfect assignment for our crack Dept. of Homeland Security.

Fortunately for those of use that love fresh air, the DHS would probably bungle this, too. Then again, they might destroy another American city through neglect, by not keeping a good grip on the big wad of duct tape.

51

Allow me to help 06.15.07 at 8:12 pm

#27: I’m pretty sure most of the people posting are only familiar with this issue to the extent that the MSM had fed them information, i.e., hardly at all.

First, the 911Hijackers entered due to weak visa rules and had questionable apps. Second, they obtained DriversLicenses because of the IllegalImmigration infrastructure. Third, not only were all or most IllegalAliens after having been here for a while, some were stopped for traffic violations and the DHS could have been notified and that might have stopped the plot.

And, HezbollahMembers have entered the U.S. illegally through Mexico, as have tens of thousands from SpecialInterest countries.

I’ve got a whole category just about this specific issue, so feel free to come by and get educated.

52

Kevin 06.15.07 at 9:35 pm

BarelyArticulate! AlarmistCrank! CompoundWords!

Ooh, that’s fun.

53

abb1 06.15.07 at 9:56 pm

HomeGrownCrank!

54

alwsdad 06.15.07 at 10:03 pm

DriversLicenses?

55

John Protevi 06.15.07 at 10:57 pm

And he has a WholeCategory about this SpecificIssue!

56

Jon H 06.16.07 at 3:44 am

Did Marie Claire ask “How can a girl determine if a boy has her best interests at heart, and his immigration status, before agreeing to date him?”

57

tzs 06.16.07 at 3:45 am

why doesn’t the government just hire Christo or whoever that guy is who wraps islands as “public art” and put him on the task?

58

Jon H 06.16.07 at 3:45 am

“I’ve got a whole category just about this specific issue, so feel free to come by and get educated”

I know a key that’s just for putting spaces between words. Feel free to look down and in the middle of your keyboard and get educated.

59

terence 06.16.07 at 5:48 am

Surely a wall between the US and Canada would be an impediment, no?*

_____________________

*This is assuming that the planned invasion of Canada is going ahead as scheduled.

60

richard 06.16.07 at 7:22 am

now I think 61 wins the thread, with a graphical use of typographic elements worthy of El Lissitzky. Beautiful!

61

bad Jim 06.16.07 at 9:22 am

Were our crack Dept. of Homeland Security up to the task of securing our borders, and keeping us safe from the threat of terrorism, it would equally be capable of keeping out the deadly scourge of illegal drugs, or at least those not grown locally.

We seem to be unable to conceal our revealed preference for both drugs and immigrants (“smokes & folks from Mexico”). Is this a bad thing?

62

Matt McIrvin 06.16.07 at 12:01 pm

I recommend, therefore, that US scientists invent a time-machine (Patriotic version with Stars and Stripes and tax breaks for rich travellers) to construct an EternaWall which continually loops itself back into existence

I believe what you’re thinking of there is a Gallifreyan Transduction Barrier. The big problem with it is that if you get wiped out by the Daleks, no time travelers can come back and save you.

63

jmartin 06.16.07 at 12:18 pm

Surely a Canadian wall could only hinder the one border-crossing approved by our Lord: the eventual northern migration of US climate change refugees.

Doggie doors, cut for the American tush?

64

belle waring 06.16.07 at 2:52 pm

now bad jim wins the thread because he referred to my favorite little feat song: “willin”! “if you give me…weed, whites and wine.”

65

Squander Two 06.16.07 at 3:35 pm

Doesn’t this entire discussion of walls keeping people out (or in) miss the point? That decision has already been made: the US has a border and has immigration law. The US-Canadian border, mainly due to its length and the terrain, contains many spots at which that law is not always enforced. The reason to build a wall is to try to close those gaps and thus better enforce existing law.

Has Tancredo proposed changes to immigration law? If so, that’s what you need to concentrate on. If you believe that a wall would by itself make matters worse, then that can only be because you oppose current immigration law, in which case that’s what you need to concentrate on. This obsession with walls is like discussing the War on Drugs purely in terms of how fast the DEA’s cars are.

66

abb1 06.16.07 at 4:39 pm

#67: If you believe that a wall would by itself make matters worse, then that can only be because you oppose current immigration law, in which case that’s what you need to concentrate on.

Crossing the border illegally is merely a misdemeanor. It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to build thousands of miles of walls to prevent misdemeanors; there are plenty of serious crimes to be concerned about.

And as far as the rest of the immigration laws – border control may or may not be used as a tool (one of many and highly inefficient at that) for enforcing them. So, yes, it is entirely possible to be consistent in opposing the walls without opposing any of the current immigration laws, or even while favoring stricter and better enforced immigration laws.

67

stuart 06.16.07 at 8:31 pm

Maybe those people who think building a wall is going to make any difference should look at the UK – surrounded by water, which is far more effective than a wall at keeping people out, and thus having very few border crossing points to monitor (airports, the channel tunnel, and ports). Even with this, which is a situation that the US can never achieve, even with walls on every inch of its borders, the UK gets plenty of illegal immigrations getting through.

If you want to deal with illegal immigration you go to the source of the problem – ensure that all companies have to account very clearly for all their employees, and make it a serious offense (harsh enough fines to shut down most small companies, for instance) for them to employ people that do not have a legal right to be in the country. Of course, conversely this also means the government has to make it easy for companies to check up on these things, and thus they can only be blame if they have followed best practises in ensuring their employees are legal.

Of course because the US has basically encouraged illegal immigrants over the last two decades to fill gaps in the unskilled labour force during boom times to the point there are so many, any action the government takes will have to be measured, at least if the aim is to eject rather than give amnesty to previous illegals (and equally amnesty could be seen as a dangerous precedent for continued illegal immigration).

At something like 4-8% of the US population even if they could all be removed in a short time doing so would be damaging to the economy – it would lead to labour shortages, business failures, wages at the base of the economy would probably rise pushing inflation, house prices at the low end of the market in the south particularly would likely drop and this would probably spread to other areas, and higher up the market. It would seem very likely that a serious recession would be caused, and possibly a period of stagflation, especially given the continued weakness of the dollar and the large amount of deficit spending during a buoyant economic period that has passed recently. The cure could be worse than the disease. (Probably a bad phrase to use given Lou Dobbs recent anti-mexican screeds about leprosy, but I couldn’t think of a better one offhand)

68

roy belmont 06.17.07 at 6:29 pm

Well if you want to be all serious about it, it’s not about immigration or keeping people out, it’s about getting rid of people, thinning the herd, trimming the population. Only the vapid scum that clamber their way to the microphones don’t have enough backbone to confront that real(er) theme, so the drive gets diverted and redirected to stupidities and absurdities.
Tancredo doesn’t care about illegal immigrants – he and the big crowd of mindless boobs he stands for want more gasoline and more water and more open real estate, and they don’t want to risk their lives or current resources getting it.

69

Brian Schmidt 06.17.07 at 7:52 pm

Tancredo should’ve followed up with saying “and if you haven’t got your health, then you haven’t got anything.”

More seriously, people like myself, who think the level of net immigration to the US is a problem, can hang it up when so much of the support for this side of the issue comes from racists.

By the way, Arriana Huffington’s statement that no terrorists entered the US illegally so far, therefore it can’t happen that way in the future, is almost as embarrassing as Tancredo.

70

TLB 06.17.07 at 8:30 pm

68: The problem isn’t simply that a few people cross the border. The problem is that hundreds of thousands do that, and there’s also the follow-on issues that those who aren’t familiar with this subject don’t realize: massive PoliticalCorruption, more PoliticalPower inside the U.S. for the MexicanGovernment, increased SocialWelfare costs, and on and on and on.

69: The problem is indeed deeper; one non-”wall” solution is to discredit those who support IllegalImmigration in one way or another. Once it’s considered a fringe opinion a la, say, support for legalizing heroin, it will be easier to deal with.

With that said, I look forward to this site discussing this issue again.

71

Matt 06.17.07 at 9:45 pm

I largely agree with Stuart’s senible points above. But one thing that gets me with those who favor very harsh employer sanctions along with the means to make the effective (Mark Kleiman and sometimes Matt Yglesias on the left, at least sometimes) get’s me in Stuart’s remark: _If you want to deal with illegal immigration you go to the source of the problem – ensure that all companies have to account very clearly for all their employees, and make it a serious offense (harsh enough fines to shut down most small companies, for instance) for them to employ people that do not have a legal right to be in the country._

Do we really think it would be sensible to put, say, the Balkin resturant that I like to go to out of business because it payed a woman from Belarussia here on a student visa to work under the table as a waitress? Especially given that the other option _wasn’t_ hiring an American to do the job but rather the owners working longer hours themselves, or having their kids work? I don’t object to some versions of employer sanctions, especially for large-scale violations, but think they would have to be very carefully crafted to not be perverse. (I don’t mean to attribute the bad view to Stuart here, just to be clear.)

72

abb1 06.18.07 at 7:06 am

#72, are you sure these alleged hundreds of thousands illegal crossings of the Canadian border cause this ‘PoliticalCorruption’ and all the other VeryBadThings? I was not not aware of that.

Moreover, even with the Mexican border – crossings themselves obviously don’t create any costs and corruption; if there is a meaningful rephrasing of the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, the “border crossings” must be it.

People come to the US to work, not to create corruption and costs, and this is exactly where you should look for the solutions: make sure they have decent jobs in Mexico, or that the US employers don’t hire them, or preferably both and the problem will go away. This is not rocket science.

73

Stuart 06.18.07 at 10:27 am

Matt, I agree as you say that its easy to go to far against the employers – when enforcing it the initial targets should be those employers that are based pretty much entirely on illegal labour and in those cases whatever the penalties are they should be significant enough to be shutting down those sorts of companies, or at least at that sort of level, as opposed to the sort of slapped wrist fines that considering their infrequency are often cheaper than hiring a legal worker.

The situation you suggest should be more likely to be issued a warning that they may face action if they continue employing illegally. Although an alternative might be just to allow people to work if on a valid guest/student visa – is there any good reason to stop people doing so? You would think if someone has a valid reason to be in the country, then they should be able to work if they want/need to without having to dodge the law. The limited duration (I presume) of such visas should implicitly act as the break on them being used as defacto permanent immigration alternatives I think?

74

darraugh 06.18.07 at 8:11 pm

US Rep from MI said if the Canadian border was
closed down their factories would close down.
We have been outsourced here and all around us
and in IL. Do you know how bad those workers
would have liked those jobs the Canadian were
taking from Americans. The health insurance
a lone. Maybe you would think different if
those were your jobs that went offshor because of
clinton/gore NAFTA or their companies closed
down because they can’t compete with China
because of clinton/gore one way trade with
China. CTT, telecommunications act and more.

4th generation Democrats no longer and a lot
more street smaart than you.

75

darraugh 06.18.07 at 8:17 pm

Bush’s legacy is 3,500 dead. And he does not need another legacy against the American people.

76

darraugh 06.18.07 at 8:29 pm

#74 Mexicans are the only nationality who have taken our US companies at a high degree and then
their illegals come here to take from what ever
is left after outsourcing from the Americans.
Quaint idea have the illegals protest their
wealthy Mexican governmnent for jobs. The
wealthy Mexican government was doing alright with
their standard of living but they could not
handle the large families. And they still have
the large families in US. This is hurting the
US with Global Warming which is caused by people
and asked us to reduce our reproduction because of
it. There are 5,000 illegal Mexicans coming over
the border each day with disaeses and Moraccan
terrorist and terrorist a long with them. Houston
has South American gangs.

77

Richard 06.19.07 at 8:09 pm

don’t feed. Please.

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