Most immigration bills that come through Congress amount to the equivalent of trying to end depression by punishing suffering. And while there's a lot to discuss in the current and perhaps moribund, one it is, like all the other ones, just a way to foment a discussion that is utterly moot. At best it provides only temporary relief for the undocumented already here. At worst it fines the poor and discriminates against the uneducated, making the experience for the undocumented something of a microcosm of what they experience in their home countries anyway.
That is, of course, the problem to begin with. It's the economic inequalities in Latin America that drive illegal immigration, not the border policies of the U.S. government. Recent attempts to "crack down" on illegal immigration with fences and National Guard units and xenophobic "Minutemen" have only pushed border crossers further into the desert, killing hundreds every year as they die of thirst, exposure, and automobile accidents while fleeing border patrol agents. This speaks of both the immigrants' desperation and of their genuineness: they are not coming here out of malice or greed or to get back at us for stealing Texas by taking all the jobs none of us would do anyway. They're coming here because they have two options: live poor in the United States or starve at home. That they risk death means the bargain is worth it, and nothing short of a border fence made entirely of the bones of dead immigrants and adorned with their heads on pikes is going to deter them, if that. We should simply start thinking even halfway empathetically: if we were in the same position, most of us would do exactly the same thing.
The U.S., of course, has helped fuel Mexico's woes through NAFTA and through protective farm subsidies at home—policies we from the plains states are loathe to give up. Our lack of interference with Mexican oligarchy and the oil it rides on doesn't help either, but then, our own oligarchs have done much in the past 25 years through the tax code and deregulation and corporate welfare programs and the dismantling of the unions to make the U.S. steadily less income-equitable. The irony is that as Mexicans and other Latin Americans are fleeing here in search of opportunity, our own economy is more and more closely resembling the ones they've fled.
Fences and walls have historically failed: from China's Great one to Hadrian's lesser one, from the one in Berlin to the new one in Israel/Palestine, fences and walls are symbols that the policies haven't worked and that the policy makers have stopped trying. This fence will be no different, and this proposed policy is proof of that.