Veteran Journalist Likens U.S. Border Fence to Berlin Wall

Appearing on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal this morning, longtime CNN correspondent Charles Bierbauer, who’s now the senior contributing editor to SCHotline.com, a South Carolina political news site, equated a proposed fence to deter illegal immigration from Mexico with the Berlin Wall that prevented Germans from fleeing East Germany’s communist dictatorship during the Cold War.

Oddly, Bierbauer claimed that the Berlin Wall “didn’t work,” even though tens of thousands raced past the checkpoints to West Berlin the moment the East German dictatorship opened the gates. Referring to proposals to build a U.S.-Mexico fence, Bierbauer argued: “I’ve seen walls around other countries, most notably East Germany and East Berlin, and they didn’t work. In fact, they became symbols of oppression rather than anything positive.”

Obviously, the fence along the southern U.S. border would not be a “symbol of oppression” to imprison Americans, but the sort of border control employed by every other nation on the planet.

Bierbauer also argued that “fences are only so good — there are ways to get around fences, over, under and in other directions.” So it’s not 100% effective — big deal. Welfare checks aren’t 100% effective at lifting people out of poverty, government schools haven’t achieved a 100% literacy rate, etc. But liberals aren’t clamoring to shut down those programs because they can’t possibly achieve a 100% success rate.

Here’s the full exchange from Friday’s Washington Journal, which took place at about 8:07EST:
CALLER FROM DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA: I was wondering, you know, since John McCain has sort of got a re-birth on this illegal immigration thing and now he’s all for the fence, border fence, and he’s sort of heading up the illegal immigration thing now, I was wondering why he hasn’t made a move to get that $3.2 billion reinstated for the fence? And it seems like that would really help his cause. I’ll just wait for your comments. Thanks.

CHARLES BIERBAUER: Well, we heard most, if not all of the candidates, if they all got a chance to weigh in on it last night, on the immigration question, substantially saying that the first job is to secure the borders with whatever means available. In some cases the suggestion is it’s building that fence from one end of the country to the other across the southern border. Fences are only so good — there are ways to get around fences, over, under and in other directions.

But the question then goes beyond that as to what you do about the illegal immigrants who are already in the country, an estimated 12 million. I think we made this point earlier, that that’s where the differences seem to be stronger. Whether it’s McCain, whether it’s Giuliani, whether it’s Huckabee, they all seem to be saying we need to secure the border in some fashion. It could be a fence, but it could be a virtual fence as well — Giuliani talks about other ways to secure it than simply building a fence, although he favors that as well.

It’s a substantial cost. It’s a mammoth project. I’ve seen walls around other countries, most notably East Germany and East Berlin, and they didn’t work. In fact, they became symbols of oppression rather than anything positive.
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes is the Senior Editor for Newsbusters