After reading yet another “harrowing” story of migrants killed trying to cross the border from Mexico, I’ve come to a “reluctant conclusion”, says Bret Stephens in The New York Times. President Biden needs to finish Trump’s wall. Let’s be clear: walls are “ugly things”, symbolic of defensive, suspicious, closed-minded civilisations. And they’re always permeable. Half of America’s undocumented workers arrive legally and overstay their visas. A wall won’t fix that. And it won’t fix the dysfunction in the failing states of Central America that pushes so many people out, or dampen the allure of American life that pulls so many in. But a well-built wall would be an effective deterrent against the most reckless forms of border crossing, and the US needs that right now.
Border patrols arrested 170,000 would-be migrants in March, a 70% jump on February and the “highest level in 15 years”. Whatever Biden says, his promise of a more humane policy has led to a “surge in child migration”, frequently with tragic consequences. There are political consequences too. Europe’s migration surge in 2015 contributed heavily to a wave of right-wing populism. The current border crisis hands Trumpists a “political bomb”. Democrats can still defuse it – and create jobs in the process. “Nothing accomplishes that more visibly than a wall.”