NPR Accidentally Admits Border Fences Are Effective

National Public Radio (NPR), a news outlet that has run countless reports pooh-poohing the idea of border security fences, aired a piece on the February 28 edition of “All Things Considered,” conceding the fact that they are. The admission was made in a deceptively titled report, “’No More Deaths’ Volunteers Face Possible Jail Time for Aiding Migrants,” in which it attributed the increasingly perilous routes being used by illegal migrants to stepped up border enforcement. “Over the past several decades, migrants have turned to more rugged parts of the border to cross, driven there by a larger border patrol, and more miles of border fencing,” stated reporter Joel Rose.

The “eleven-foot ladder industry” that critics have been assuring us would flourish in response to the construction of ten-foot high border fences hasn’t exactly materialized. What it has done, is redirected migrants to more remote and more dangerous areas of the border – and that needs to stop, by construction of more ten-foot fences and other deterrents.

If there is one thing all sides in the immigration debate can agree on, is that no one should be dying in the desert attempting to enter the United States. For the open borders advocates, that means, well…open borders. For others, that means making it clear to would-be illegal border-crossers that there is no point in trekking across hostile terrain because it will just lead to more Border Patrol agents, more technology, more secure border fencing, and effective interior enforcement against those who do enter illegally.

As for the report’s sensational headline that people are being jailed for “aiding migrants” in peril by placing water and food along remote trails favored by smugglers, that too turns out to be less than advertised. As Rose’s report notes, there is a thin line between aiding migrants, and enticing migrants to risk their lives by making the dangerous journey. As one of the No More Deaths volunteers, a man described as “an experienced climber and backpacker,” said, “I would not be able to do this journey. It is impossible in the summertime to carry enough water,” adding that if dehydration doesn’t get you, hypothermia and any number of poisonous snakes and lizards might.

Also, getting beyond the suggestion that people are being persecuted for attempting to help desperate migrants, the NPR report makes it clear that they, and the Border Patrol, both have the same goal: saving lives. “I think they mean well,” said Art Del Cueto, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents Border Patrol agents, and an frequent guest at FAIR’s Hold Their Feet to the Fire radio row. “We respond to a lot of calls of illegal aliens in stressful situations, tough medical situations. And we’re the ones that are properly equipped to go out there and save them.”

Unfortunately, as we have all been taught, there is an important difference between meaning well and doing good. Besides giving people false hope that they can make the dangerous journey, “some of the supplies they leave wind up in the hands of drug smugglers and human traffickers,” Del Cueto explains.

So, perhaps the best answer to a situation that has arisen from secure fencing in easily traversed sections of the border is “more miles of fencing” (and other measures) in areas of the border that everyone agrees people should not go.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    The most important thing needed to stop this insanity is to change the USA message to the world. Currently, that message is, and has been for many years, ” Just get yourselves here by hook or crook. You will be let in, but if you claim asylum or gave a child with you, you just about have a guarantee. You might be given a future date to appear in court to plead your case to stay, but you don’t have to show up for that. We will let you in, let you go wherever you wish, maybe even give you free transportation to the location of your choice. We will give you everything for free and treat you better than our own citizens. We will never make you leave, but if we do, you can come right back. We will take really good care of you. We are working hard to give you drivers licenses, special identification cards so you can file income tax and get big refunds and to fix things so you can vote. We’ll let you own businesses, have jobs in government, help you get college tuition free . So, if you want lots and lots of freebies, come on in. Our doors are open.” Until that message changes and our laws and policies change to reflect the new message of America’s interests first, foremost and always, nothing will stop the invasion of foreigners taking over our country. And if Americans who truly love and support this nation as meant to be by its original foundations do not find a way to stop today’s insanity and save the USA, then maybe neither we nor our descendants deserve America.

  2. avatar

    That’s what anyone with half a brain already knew. It’s why when the fence was built along the San Diego/Tijuana border during the Clinton administration what had been a flood of illegals crossing there subsequently moved to the more inaccessible areas in Arizona. Sort of like how this reporter described it: “migrants have turned to more rugged parts of the border to cross, driven there by a larger border patrol, and more miles of border fencing”. So illegals are actually smarter than a lot of our politicians? Apparently so because they are the ones doing the actual crossings and they avoid the fencing. Will this reporter be sent to a reeducation camp? Can’t have him deviating from the party line.

  3. avatar
    Aaron Arnold on

    Volunteers? … Enablers, is what I say. As far as the wall, NPR “knows walls work!” But, the way things are going (with more and more Republicans voicing opposition to a National Emergency), we may not get a wall after all.