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July 07, 2007

Iraq's Illegal Immigration Problem

Iraqflag2 Title02 On top of busted sewers, unpaved streets, faulty electricity, the city of Fallujah, in the Al Anbar province, had a problem with illegal immigration. Foreigners were filtering into the city, taking up whole neighborhoods and driving the locals out. The populace felt intimidated and didn’t protest much. Besides, there were plenty of Fallujans who felt they needed to support the new arrivals in a show of solidarity. But when city security butted heads with the ideology of violence, most Fallujans decided they just wanted peace of mind and the extreme measures they took were meant to provide just that.

With illegal immigration allowing literally millions of unidentified people into the United States, Americans too would like peace of mind. Fallujah, and Iraq are complex situations, but one thing is true, walls go up, when life and security are at stake.

I’m always surprised by the discussion of how difficult it is to put up a wall along the American-Mexican border, since the military has put up hundreds of miles of barriers throughout Iraq, and often under small arms fire. Almost any place you go in Iraq, you will find thousands of Alaska and Texas barriers. Like their namesakes, these massive twelve-feet by five feet concrete slabs weigh up to14, 000 lbs, and though hey may not be as “smart” or “sophisticated” as the high-tech “fence” currently proposed by Congress, they sure are effective. In fact, 1-4 Cavalry whose battles space includes one of the toughest neighborhoods in Baghdad, the Dorah neighborhood, rely on these concrete monoliths to provide security. If these concrete walls in Baghdad can prevent armed terrorists from entering, it should have some sway against illegal immigrants.

Throughout Iraq, and especially in Fallujah, the system of ID cards has been crucial in weeding out who belongs and who does not. These biometric cards are far beyond any identification currently permitted in the United States.

After several car bombs, or the all too common on foot bomber, the local Fallujan government became a huge advocate for border security. The message was that anything worth protecting deserved stronger security. In the US, we’re just concerned with language, culture, identity and security. I’m not entirely convinced how precious we as Americans consider these things to be, but Washington foot-dragging on this issue sure sends a mixed message.

With the help of the Marines, Alaska barriers criss-crossed the city creating a giant labyrinth that required anyone, from almost every direction to pass through a checkpoint and acquire or present an ID. In order to get into the city, visitors and even Fallujans themselves needed proper ID. No civil rights group has criticized the implementation of identity cards, perhaps because the will to protest is a luxury the lack of security could not afford.

Enforce the borders. The simple barriers keep unwanted intruders out and can even withstand a bursting shell to boot. If it’s good enough for the War on Terror, surely it’s good enough for the War on Illegal Immigration. What’s that??? You say there is no war on illegal immigration?

Of course, there’s a difference between the Al Anbar province and the state of Texas, but when the heat turns up, the will to emphasize border security is never lacking. One out of four terrorists agree. Terrorists attack the contractors who erect the barriers because the barriers work. Unfortunately, Congress has been a lot more successful in preventing in preventing a wall from going up. If we did declare war on illegal immigration, whose side would these guys be on, anyway?

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