Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative begun by its predecessor. DACA provided otherwise law-abiding illegal aliens brought here by their parents some relief from the fear of deportation, along with work permits and sundry other benefits. Much of the controversy so far focused on the process by which this was done – many of those who approve of the policy found the method profligate – but this debate is now relegated to law school hypos. The objectors won.
Ethnonationalist malcontents such as Ann Coulter were muted in their praise, however. Merely rescinding DACA is not enough to protect “Western Civilization” from obliteration (I remain perplexed why the cultural legacy of Miguel Cervantes and Jorge Luis Borges no longer counts as western civilization, but will leave that for another day). What we need is a Wall!
Fine. Give them the wall.
To be clear: the wall is a boondoggle among boondoggles. Even accepting, arguendo, that America should pursue the cultural sanctity of eighteenth-century Japan, a stack of cinderblocks along the Rio Grande accomplishes little of this. For one thing, the majority of illegal entrants to the country these days are not boarder jumpers but visa overstays. For another, the shifting demographic mix that so imperils Coulter & Co.’s white nationalist vision is due not to incoming mongrel hordes but differential birthrates – and before you start making cracks about catholic breeding habits, that differential is not a question of culture but of age: the median Hispanic resident is 27, the median “white” resident is 42. Twenty-seven year-olds make more babies than forty-two year-olds. None of this is “solved” by a solution so comprehensive it can only be defeated by a ladder.
But one need not resort to the abstract: we know a border wall will be a boondoggle because we already doggled this particular boon. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 directed the erection of such a barrier, and low the erection occurred. But then reality decided to cramp our style. Large portions of the border are not amenable to wall building – Mother Nature is an irredentist – and others still are privately owned, legally protected (chunks of the border run through Indian reservations), or otherwise unworkable. Over a decade later, what we achieved for our billions of dollars was an eyesore and the annoyance of those whose property we bisected. The final result proved, well, a bit limp.
But no matter. Let’s blow some money. Estimates for exactly how much we’ll be blowing vary wildly. At one point Trump claimed $10 billion, now it sounds more like $20-30B, with some pegging it closer to $70B. But we spent more than a trillion on a plane we still can’t fly, so what’s a few dozen billion between friends. And other than some wasted money, the annoyance of those who will live in its shadow, and the unseemliness of the graft and incompetence that will probably pervade this project, there’s no great harm in stacking up bricks along the border. The nice part about meaningless symbols is they’re meaningless.
If we’re to put up with such profligacy, then let us buy something with the immolation of these funds. And so I bring good news for the William Poole’s among us: there’s already a bill you can attach your amendment to: S.1615, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, sponsored by the alt-left pinko Lindsey Graham. Those with dreams of an ethnostate are probably not too deficient to put together an acronym, and so I would expect my humble bargain to be met with hoots of derision. But political victories often require compromise with unsavory characters, and I’m afraid the tiki-brigade will pass nothing unless it makes a deal with us devils. Quid pro quo, Clarice.