New liberal talking point: The border wall will prevent illegal aliens... from leaving

The promotion of conservative policies by the new administration clearly seems to be sending some liberal thought patterns spiraling on a downward path toward what is either delusion or parody. Only yesterday we observed one author explaining why discussions of or investigations into voter fraud leads to voter suppression. That one was curious enough, but today’s example really ups their game to a whole new level. Ana Raquel Minian, writing at Government Executive, explains to all the unwashed masses that the border wall is clearly counterproductive in terms of dealing with the problem of illegal aliens entering and residing in this country. Why? Because a big nasty wall would obviously prevent them from leaving if they wished to clear out of the country of their own accord.

Since the Great Recession, more Mexicans have left the United States than migrated there. Constructing a barrier along the southern border may discourage more from going.

In their popular song “Jaula de Oro,” which translates to “Cage of Gold,” the famous Mexican band Los Tigres del Norte tells the story of a migrant who finds himself unable to move across the U.S.-Mexico border. His lack of mobility does not keep him in Mexico, as one would expect, but in the United States.

Donald Trump’s executive order to build a wall between Mexico and the United States overlooks how the fences, walls, and border-control measures that already exist between the two countries have come to act as a barrier—or a “cage of gold”—that discourages migrants from leaving the United States, rather than preventing their entrance in the first place.

The number of things wrong with this argument limits my ability to fit everything into a single short form essay. But let’s just start with the idea that there are vast lines of illegal immigrants hanging around the southern border wishing fervently that there were only some way that they could escape the United States of America. First of all, that sounds suspiciously like the idea of “self deportation.” Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I thought liberals generally held the consensus view that this concept was nonsense. (And for once we can probably find some agreement across the aisle on that subject, at least until we get the E-Verify system fully functional and there are no more jobs attracting unwelcome, illegal visitors.)

But just for the moment, let’s assume that there is an underserved population of trapped illegal aliens hoping to make it home to Mexico. No matter how unfamiliar you may be with various aspects of American society and our legal system, the one thing I would imagine that most illegals are quite conversant in is the routine of dodging and occasionally dealing with the border patrol and other immigration enforcement officials. If you are here in the country illegally and you wish to leave there’s really not much more required than to simply walk up to your closest law enforcement officer, proclaim your status and say that you regret the error of coming here in the first place and now wish to go home. Even under the most lax guidelines imposed by the previous administration I have no doubt that you could find someone to put you on a bus and send you South at no charge. You don’t even need to worry about being arrested, or at least not for more than a few hours.

Is this honestly the best argument you can come up with against building the wall? There’s obviously a heaping helping of hypocrisy in Democrats complaining about the cost of the wall after years of ignoring spiraling deficits and the debt, but at least blaming federal spending is something we could have a conversation about. Heck, for that matter you could even bring up rare birds flying into the wall and killing themselves. (Though that never seems to bother you when we’re talking about windmills.) But claiming that a border wall is a barrier to egress rather than entry is taking the conversation several steps beyond silly.