Since “securing the border” has become the hottest issue in the GOP presidential nomination process, comparing the US/Mexico border to other borders around the world may provide insight as to why that’s a dumb statement. On almost every continent, international borders are much more open, and military/police presence is basically nonexistent. We’ll start in Africa:
This is a photo of a couple on an African safari, crossing over from Kenya to Tanzania. Rather than guns, troops, helicopters, drones, and fences, the only thing separating these two countries is a rock. The only intimidating weaponry near this border would be a pride of lions.
While Asia is home to the DMZ — the most militarized border in the world between North and South Korea — many other borders are meant for easy, open travel. In this photo, three backpackers are taking a selfie at the India/Nepal border, with no menacing security forces or intimidating weaponry in the background. And these immigrants very likely have no intention of taking any jobs, selling any drugs, or raping any natives.
More relaxed borders can be found in Eastern Europe. On the left of this photo is the Poland border. On the right is Belarus. This man is straddling the line in between the two countries, with not a fence in sight. And while Poland and Belarus undoubtedly have their share of problems, they at least have enough sense to know that building a massive wall between their countries would be a tremendous waste of time and resources.
In Northern Europe, the border between these two social democracies is almost nonexistent, save for a stone marking an arbitrary line, and a bridge. Neither are threatening. And, as evidenced in this photo, there are no soldiers to exert violence on two individuals jumping between the two countries.
Western Europe has some of the most-relaxed border security in the world. Many of the borders separating Western European countries are little more than imaginary lines. In this photo, a pile of rocks is the only separation between France and Italy.
Argentina and Brazil are two very different countries. One speaks Portuguese, one speaks Spanish. One is facing financial insolvency, and one is facing mounting protests over government corruption. But despite their issues, the border between the two countries is simply a “friendship bridge” that allows people like this woman to have one foot in each country without any hassle from the military.
Even our own border policy is incredibly inconsistent. The US spends more on border security than on any other law enforcement agency, yet militarization at the Canada border is virtually nonexistent. This man’s feet are in the US, his shadow is in Canada, and yet there aren’t any border patrol officers trying to detain him.
The rhetoric over “securing the border” needs to simmer down. If politicians really want to reduce the number of immigrants attempting to make a better life for themselves and their families in the US, they need only amend disastrous free trade policies that stifle the economic activity of Mexico and Central America.
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