Opinion November 26, 2018 | 10:12 am

Good fences make good neighbors

Artibonito, river basin deforestation on Haiti side. Photo UN

By USA Editor Miguel Terc

There is no question that illegal immigration stresses the Dominican economy and health systems, and has the undesired byproduct of keeping the salaries of our most needy classes low.

The Dominican Republic is being depressed by “escapees” from misery entering our territory in unreasonable numbers, lowering our nation’s standard of living, and putting a strain in our resources. The illegal immigration of other country’s poor, sick and unemployed must be confronted, as the DR cannot be the solution to Haiti’s or Venezuela’s problems.

It is a fact that some countries are publicly encouraging and promoting their disadvantaged classes to migrate, or others encourage and turn their heads to the exodus of their citizens as they benefit twofold:

  1. They solve an unemployment or health problem.
  2. The relative working in the DR becomes a generator and provides remittance of funds to his relatives at home, contributing to the scarcity and upward rise in foreign currency reserves.

Some illegals trespass the easiest way through the border, but a great many travel by air and overstay their visas, or pay and arrange to obtain citizenship by marriage, or other more ingenious ways like posing as students coming for a seminar, or pretending to be business men or investors for a business meeting and other schemes.

Revising our immigration laws must not be postponed anymore by our lawmakers, since its prompt resolution is critical to the well being of our nation.

Building a wall is by itself an expensive proposal, recently eight border wall prototypes were commissioned by the U.S. government and constructed in late 2017 in California. Tactical teams tested them and discovered, according to a recent government report, that nearly all of them could be breached.

Also consider the high costs of maintenance of a wall that have to be budgeted but all this could gain public acceptance by legislating to invest in more modern fencing in crucial areas and the hiring of specialized border enforcement by the creation of a professional “Border Corps”, along with all terrain vehicles and electronic surveillance, but most importantly it will lead the Dominican government to revisit the immigration rules and enforcement of labor laws that draw illegal immigrants to the DR.

A sore point that breeds xenophobia are the millions of ‘escapees’ displacing needy Dominicans from the workplace, some exploited by their patrons and forced to accept less payment for the same work.

Continued but skilled immigration accompanied with investment, replenishes and reinvigorates the workforce, raises the standard of living and the benefits are many, but regardless better border enforcement is a national security matter, and should be an act of legitimate defense, more so in turbulent times.

Fact: In the recent past thirty four countries worldwide built or are completing 18,000 miles of fences, across 67 borders.

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