As years go by from one political cycle to the next, immigrants seems to be that easy target for any attention/thrill seeking policy maker to place all blame on. Foreigners seem to be now blamed from everything under the sun. Things are so bad that even local terrorists groups now place fault on foreign terror groups as the root of all the troubles. Some say that walls and fences work and give its populace a strong sense of security but many academics and people on the ground suggest otherwise. Nevertheless there are always two or more sides to every story.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, 40 countries around the world have built fences against 64 of their neighbor. The majority have cited security concerns and the prevention of illegal migration as justifications. In the Middle East, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria as well as the associated wave of refugees have prompted most countries to close borders. By the end of this year, when it completes its border-wall with Jordan, Israel will have surrounded itself entirely. In Asia, too, walls and fences have proliferated, generally designed to prevent illicit movement of people and goods rather than to seal disputed borders, though Kashmir remains a highly-militarised example. Soon the EU will have more physical barriers on its national borders than it did during the Cold War. However some proposals for border fences are less plausible than others. In 2013 Brazil announced a “virtual” wall, monitored by drones and satellites, around its entire, nearly 15,000 km- (9,000 mile-) long border. It began work on the Paraguayan and Bolivian sections this year, which are hot-spots for smuggling. But sceptics point out that much of Brazil’s border runs through rain forest that is impassable and hard to monitor. Even given easier terrain, high-tech border security often fails. The United States, which has several times fortified its border with Mexico, and Saudi Arabia, which has shuttered five of its borders since 2003, have struggled with proposals that were either too expensive or didn’t work (or both). For most countries, barbed-wire or electric fences, combined with ditches and buffer zones, are the reality. Thankfully, in contrast with the Cold War, transgressors of Europe’s new borders are no longer shot.
But history has proven time and again that when a society is governed with good rules, even diverse groups of individuals can come together and create amazing things, case in example the San Diego, Boston and Silicon Valley’s ability to make significant technological advances for the benefit of the world, while homogeneous societies such as Burundi and Somalia remain far behind. Imagine if America was never discovered and settled by immigrants. What the world would look like now?
This opinion is contributed by Celso Pacheco & Naved Jafry