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Voice: Lifelines would compromise U.S. borders that preserve nation's interests

February 22, 2001

Should local officials nurture John Hunter's "brainchild" or instead, should they commit to reason and, in defense of principle, tie a heavy, bureaucratic stone to its neck and drown it?

What would deployment of "lifesaving ropes" across the All-American Canal actually accomplish? For certain they would aid and abet illegal activities but would they prevent drowning? Perversely, might they become killer ropes, inflating the death rate as human traffic is increasingly routed across them?

Remember the prophecy in the movie "Field of Dreams," "If you build it, they will come." Most assured that would happen in this case. Human nature, being what it is and the ropes' mere presence, would invite hordes of non-swimmers, who would otherwise take a drier and safer route, into the water. Imagine making the crossing in darkness, under physical and mental stress and being forced to hurry. It is wholly predictable that some would lose their grip and drown. The only question is how many?

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The people now dying, while violating our border, are pursuing what they perceive to be their self-interest. They are exercising free will and are motivated to take risks. In these circumstances, the random, accidental deaths, caused by the impersonal forces of nature, neither obligates nor justifies the intervention being proposed.

The loss of life that occurs in the canal and desert is sad, unfortunate and self-inflicted. Contrary to the plaintive bleating of a few misguided activists, who themselves are in need of a lifeline back to reality, no moral stigma attaches to refusing to make illegal entry safer or more convenient. In fact, the opposite is true.

By definition a nation has a border and if that border were to cease to exist so would the nation. When this simple fact is grasped, it becomes perfectly clear that our self-interest is only served by upholding — not compromising — our border's integrity against all incursions small as well as large, regardless of intent or motive. To not do so is a betrayal of the sacred trust and duty, assumed by each generation, to defend and preserve the liberty and freedoms we enjoy, which exist only within this nation's boundary and no where else on earth.

WALTER TYLENDA

Calexico

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