The Arizona Desert Lamp

Mall Fence Reaction

Posted in Uncategorized by Evan Lisull on 24 September 2008

The now-infamous “Mall Fence” has supposedly opened dialogue, and this is true insofar as it has opened up dialogue about the wall simulation itself. Very few who previously ignored border issues are suddenly wrapped up in debates about the benefits of a guest-worker system. Mostly, it’s a publicity stunt without results, a still-born advocacy campaign.

Also, the “social justice approach” to the wall results in a very skewed version of the debate. This has nothing to do with a “Left-wing” bias (although you could certainly make the case), but instead a bias in the debate. Or, as observer Brian McMorran said in the Wildcat article, “I think it forces people to remember that it’s still an issue, and I think they did a really good job at trying to show both sides of the issue.”

Based on the featured materials, “both sides” refers to:

1) Poor, impoverished, unprivileged (more on that trope later) Mexicans are dying of dehydration, struggling with inhumane conditions. The law does not matter, people matter! Si se puede!

2) Mexicans are threatening to destroy the fabric of American society.

The debate is even more effectively pigeonholed by a letter in today’s paper, which states that, “Perspectives are presented from U.S. governmental organization, humanitarian organizations and volunteer projects like the Minutemen.” The DHS, La Raza, and Tom Tancredo — diversity at its finest.

Noticeably missing are any sorts of arguments that can lead to policy i.e. actual changes. Moaning and groaning about inhumane conditions do not make public policy (unless, of course, you mean providing water spigots in the desert, which actually exacerbates the problem by making illegal immigration to America more of a possibility, and increases the difficulty of the Border Patrol’s job). Absent are any economic considerations, statistical analyses, or actual, you know, research. “But that’s boring!” Well, public policy tends to be.

Absurdly, the Wildcat article is entitled: “Mock Border sparks campus dialogue,” without any examples of this ‘sparked dialogue’ outside of interviews with Wildcat staff. If the Social Justice program were serious about ‘sparking dialogue’, the best way to accomplish this would be an actual debate on the issue. This was best exhibited in the debate on the (ultimately failed) Civil Rights Initiative, where two scholars from opposite sides on affirmative action provided a packed Gallagher Hall with a genuine dialogue. It would not be hard for a similar debate to be held on immigration issues.


As a side note, I’m baffled by the complaint that the fence “takes up space” and causes “a longer commute.” This is more than a bit specious; the fence isn’t actually covering any paths; in fact,  I have trouble imagining even a short-cut that is significantly altered by the fence.


One Response

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  1. Gail Grancsay said, on 25 September 2008 at 8:41 pm

    It’s about time the safety of AMERICANS and our country comes first. I’m sick of the moaning and groaning about how bad the Mexicans have it! As a taxpayer, I don’t have a house in the US, but many of these people do because they live 20 people to a 2 bedroom house! Not the condition I want to live under, or have neighbors of mine that do! As they have encroached on us, I have seen the prices of houses and Apartments skyrocket because they have created a huge demand! If the Mexicans want life the way it is in America, they’re going to have to make a stance with their own government, get rid of the corruption and the corrupt government from their president on down! This may take a few Mexican lives, but it took thousands of American lives when we stood up to the British for the sake of our country and during the battle for our independence during the Revolutionary War. We DO NOT owe the Mexicans a Damn thing in this life, and it’s about time they take care of themselves!

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