posted at 5:21 pm on March 3, 2017 by John Sexton
A Mexican lawmaker named Braulio Guerra posted a video on Twitter Thursday showing himself sitting on top of the border fence between Mexico and the United States. The point of the clip was to show how easy it was for someone to climb the wall and thereby argue that spending billions to expand the barrier makes no sense. From CNN:
“It’s completely unnecessary — and it’s absurd — to build a wall that costs $15 billion,” Braulio Guerra says in Spanish as a camera rolls. “Look, in these 8 meters, more or less 8, 10 meters, how simple it is to climb.”…
“It was easy to get up the wall, but there are many dangers for our people,” Guerra wrote in his tweet. “Human rights, principles and dignity are not negotiable.”
The lawmaker’s video, posted Thursday to Twitter, does not show Guerra climbing the barrier.
There are a few ways to look at this. On the one hand, this is obviously a stunt. Guerra is playing to an audience beyond Mexico with this video, though it would probably have been more effective if he had actually climbed the barrier on camera rather than talking about how easy it was. Maybe it wasn’t quite as easy as he claimed.
But putting that aside, Guerra does have a point. I posted this video a week ago showing two smugglers who climb a similar border barrier in about 10 seconds flat with large backpacks on their backs:
And before you say that it won’t be possible to climb a solid wall, remember that there are downsides to a wall including higher cost and the fact that you can’t see what is happening on the other side. If smugglers build a scaffold with stairs or a drug catapult on the Mexican side of the border wall, that won’t be visible.
But none of that proves there is no point in having a border barrier at all. Yes, Guerra was able to climb the wall but it would have been much easier for him to simply walk across the border if it wasn’t there. The young smugglers climbing the wall in that clip above would probably be carrying much bigger packs with larger amounts of contraband if not for the need to scale that 18-foot barrier. The barrier slows down the flow of smuggled drugs and people. Of course a barrier won’t stop every smuggler but it raises the risk and cost of crossing the border and acts as a deterrent. This is a case where the perfect shouldn’t be allowed to become the enemy of the good.