When far-right politicians endorse the construction of a massive border wall, they rarely specify which border, because it’s simply assumed they’re not overly concerned about Canadians.
When it comes to border security, it’s only natural to wonder why Republicans seem vastly more energized about our neighbors to the south than those to the north. I was delighted to see NBC’s Chuck Todd ask Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) about this yesterday.
One issue he plans to fix if elected is the terrorist threat posed by the nation’s porous borders, and he said while he’s most concerned about the southern U.S. border, he’d be open to building a wall to secure the northern border as well.“Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire. They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at,” he said.
And I’ll be eager to hear what the far-right candidate comes up with after he “looks at” building a northern border wall – because the idea is a little nutty, even by the standards of GOP presidential candidates.
For now, let’s put aside the issues – the costs, the needs, etc. – related to a building a giant wall along the U.S/Mexico border. Let’s instead consider Walker’s apparent concerns about Canada.
As the Republican governor may know – his home state is roughly along the northern border – the United States and Canada don’t simply share a lengthy land mass. There are these things known as the “Great Lakes,” which the two countries share. Even trying to build a giant wall through them would be … how do I put this gently … impractical.
The alternative, of course, is building a water-front wall along U.S. states that border the lakes. Some folks might not like the view, but we’re either going to take border security seriously or we’re not, right?
There’s also the not-so-small matter of Alaska. Even if a Walker administration takes up a plan to build a wall from Seattle to Maine, let’s not forget that the United States actually has two borders with Canada: one along Canada’s southern border, and then another along Canada’s northwestern border. Indeed, the border Alaska shares with British Columbia and Yukon Territory (about 1,500 miles) is almost as long as the border the continental United States shares with Mexico (about 1,900 miles).
Depending on how serious the Wisconsinite is about this, we’ll probably have to talk about some maritime borders, too, since we run the risks of terrorists and undocumented immigrants showing up along American shorelines in boats.
Given the Republican Party’s general hostility towards investing in American infrastructure, it’s important to note that these border walls would likely carry an enormous price tag. Nevertheless, Scott Walker considers this “a legitimate issue for us to look at,” so let the debate begin.