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Mexican Border Less Than One-Sixth Length of Great Wall of China

by Keith Koffler on March 12, 2013, 10:30 am

Somehow, ancient China was able to do what America cannot: seal off its border, and at far greater expense and effort than it would take the United States.

The Great Wall of China has been measured at 13,173 miles, about 6.7 times the size of the fence that would be required to seal the U.S. Mexican border, which is 1,969 miles long.

Great Wall fo China

Great Wall of China

What’s more, the Great Wall was vastly superior to anything being contemplated by the United States, having been constructed not just to keep foreigners out, but to withstand attack. And some of it was built over hilly terrain far less accessible than the flat desert that separates the United States and Mexico.

Republicans, who insist on sealing the border before considering amnesty for those who have entered the country illegally, are hardly demanding something unprecedented and technologically unachievable.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration has been seeking to minimize the need for border security and inflating the facts about how much of the border has already been sealed.

U.S.-Mexican border fence

U.S.-Mexican border fence

“Too often the border security refrain simply serves as an excuse,” Department of Homeland Security Secreatary Janet Napolitano alleged during a Senate hearing last month. “Our borders have in fact never been stronger.”

Thickly layered – it can be seen from low orbit earth – the Great Wall of China was laboriously piled together with earth, stones, wood, and brick, and it includes thousands of towers, wall platforms, stone pits and houses to ensure it was well monitored.

By contrast, a mere 651 miles of fencing has so far been “completed” on the Mexican border – and that’s under a very loose definition of “fence.”

According to Politifact, this includes only 352 miles of “pedestrian fencing” that would keep out those trying to run across. Another 299 miles is “vehicle fence” which “would be more accurately described as posts placed close enough together that cars can’t be driven between them.”

What’s more, only 36.3 miles of fencing are “double-layered,” as called for under the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which required all of it to be reinforced in this manner.

Though centuries old, miles of Great Wall fortifications even today remain more imposing than what the United States is trying to construct to stem illegal immigration.

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veritaseequitas March 12, 2013 at 10:37 am

Hmmm….FDR would have made a public works project out of it; you know, in order to get people back to work.
If in fact, Little Barry Boo Boo could manage to channel FDR instead of Abe Lincoln, he could actually be somewhat of a jobs president. All those people who need to come off of unemployment and food stamps and Obamaphones? Send them to the Southwest to build The Great Wall of the USA.
I wonder how long it would take the loco leftists to claim that was racist or discriminatory somehow?

Geoff Caldwell March 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

Twin 50′s every 300 yards fully loaded and staffed with rules of engagement to stop anyone or anything crossing over.
Problem solved.

RickW March 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Love your idea, Geoff but here’s how I see Big Sis implementing it:

Twin 50′s – Yup, they can brag they listen to Conservatives
Fully loaded – Nope. Can’t afford the ammo plus all those nasty casings would have a negative environmental impact
Rules of Engagement – “Sir/Madam, would you please stop?” (in 12 languages, none of which are Spanish)

Langley Spook March 12, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Landmines… cheap, easy & fun!
(how do you say: “watch your step” in Mexican? -lol)

Wigglesworth March 12, 2013 at 10:41 am

The amnesty blitz is coming after Easter.

srdem65 March 12, 2013 at 10:47 am

Since we don’t need a fence at our Canadian border, then something other than a change of address is drawing poor Mexicans to our country.

If we promise to keep sending their welfare money and food stamps to all the illegal aliens if they would return to their homelands, we wouldn’t have to worry about a fence, or torture America with a prolonged fight over an amnesty program.
We could promise to rebuild the infrastucture of Mexico, build schools and hospitals just like we did in Iraq and every other hellhole in the world.

Everybody wins; they can return to their third world existence with cash and food, don’t have to worry about learning English or pretend to celebrate the 4th of July, and we can go back to fighting over Obamacare and what in the world are we going to do about all those old people who just won’t die early.

scottso March 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

I don’t get why they use wood or chainlinked fences. Those are simple to climb.

They should use super slick metal that gets super hot in the desert sun.
Then run water down them.

I also believe the GREAT WALL OF CHINA was used to keep invaders from ESCAPING and not entering.

Jeff1000 March 12, 2013 at 10:55 am

Without staying in power, the left won’t be able to keep imposing its statist agenda, so why would they want to impede the flow “illegal democrats”? The liberals even have nifty amnesty plans to transform the illegal democrats into legal voters.

Jeff1000 March 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

should be “flow of”

Shofar March 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

There is a 17th century proverb, one quoted by Frost in his poem, “Mending Wall,” that goes, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Look at any housing division, neighborhood, or city block, and one will see nearly every home demarcated with a fence. Are they built because we hate our neighbor? No. They are built to keep our children safe, our dogs contained, and to prevent the neighbor’s dog from doing his business in our yard, or to prevent some vicarious liability over the neighbor’s child who might wander into our yard and get hurt.

Establishing where the line of our property is, and letting it be known where that line is is a fundamental instinct of the human species. For that matter, it is a fundamental instinct of nearly all species. The canidae will leave will go around what it considers its “turf” and urinate along the border, leaving scent fence. The lion will fight another who encroaches on the area of his pride. The examples within the animal kingdom are countless.

Even in our crowded apartment lives, we put up mental fences to keep our neighbors at bay. This does not mean we hate others, it does not mean that we are anti-social, it does not mean that we are against others that do not look exactly like us. It means that we wish for our own privacy, and protection for our loved ones. It means that want others to respect our homes and property. It means we want to protect outsiders from what may hurt them on our property.

Does a border fence mean we hate immigrants? No. Does a border fence mean that we hate Mexicans? No. Does a border fence make sense? Yes. Good fences make for good neighbors.

scottso March 12, 2013 at 11:17 am


Julie Brueckheimer March 12, 2013 at 11:42 am

x 2

Susan March 12, 2013 at 11:34 am

The organizations running the illegals aren’t concerned with welfare money and food stamps, srdem. That is only the bait. The aim of radical groups like La Raza is the reconquista of America. In their opinion, the Southwest is their Aztlan and our ancestors were nothing more than evil European invaders who colonized their homeland. America needs to keep that in mind now that the La Raza twins – the Castro brothers – are ascending the ladder of Democrat politics.

srdem65 March 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm

I get that. They look at the prosperous farms, the vibrant cities and think ‘that should be ours’, but there is no difference between the Arizona landscape and the Mexican landscape except Americans are educated, free of feudal constraints, and have enjoyed the marvels of modern life since the 1900′s. When a tourist steps from Nogales, AZ into Nogales, MX, it’s like entering a time warp or movie set; the differences are that stark.

Most of the illegal immigrants come from villages without running water, sewage disposal systems, and reliable electricity. Hard to believe, but it’s true. What we consider “poverty” here in the US is a grand, lush lifestyle compared to what they left behind.
Their political leaders might envision a Hispanic-run government here in America, but the illegal aliens want American generosity.
If they were content with their lives in Mexico, had enough food to feed their families, money to buy a few luxuries, and had hope for a better future, they would have never left.

Susan March 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Agree with you, srdem. Spent a good deal of my youth in El Paso, TX which is just a few steps away from Ciudad Juarez. The grinding poverty and cardboard huts in Mexico contrasted with the modern buildings and conveniences of America is almost surreal. Not only are they escaping from poverty, but they are also trying to escape the wrath of the murderous Zeta and Sinaloa drug lords as they fight for control of the lucrative drug market.

Star March 12, 2013 at 11:38 am

Isn’t this apples and oranges? Or should I say Gen Tso and burritos? What is your point–a slave-made battlement would be the way to go?

William March 12, 2013 at 11:50 am

I always love it when my lefty friends wax nostalgic about how Big Government built the Hoover Dam and the Transcontinental Railroad. Then I ask why Big Government can’t build a fence along the border and am told that it’s just not possible. If the modern Big Government can’t build a fence, how could it ever build another dam?

Susan March 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Big government gets in the way of more than fence building, William. It took 18 months for Americans to build the Empire State building in 1930-31. The “Freedom Tower” to replace the twin towers is still a work in progress after more than 11 years.

Julie Brueckheimer March 12, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Your lefty friends should be told that Big Government did not have much of a role in building the transcontinental rail line. It was built by two competing railroads, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific (later the Southern Pacific) who provided all the labor and material. What the government did was give them land rights along side of the rail they built and that’s why there was a tremendous competition between the two to acquire as much for themselves as they could. But, really, the railroad link was built by the Robber Barons.

Tom in Texas March 12, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Sorry, but the railroad would not have been built when it was without “Big Government.” Per the History Channel, what the federal government did was give the two railroad companies land AND money to build the railroad. For each mile built by either company, the feds deeded over 6,400 acres (10 square miles) of land, later increased to 20 square miles. For each mile built, the feds paid them $8,000 in gov’t bonds (converted from 1861 money, that would be approx. $1.2 million in 2012 dollars). The price the feds paid to have the railroad built was so lucrative that, as completion neared in 1869, neither side wanted to stop building. Pres. Grant announced that he would stop paying them until the two companies could agree where to meet. (n.b. — “After June 1867, both companies headed towards Salt Lake City, cutting many corners (including building shoddy bridges or sections of track that would have to be rebuilt later) in their race to get ahead.” Corporate corner-cutting to increase profits? Whodda thunk it?

Tom in Texas March 12, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Sorry about one typo–the dollar figure on gov’t bonds paid per mile completed was $48,000, not the $8,000 I mistakenly typed in above. From History Channel, the figure is $48,000. That converts to $1,208,876.92 in 2012 dollars, per the nifty inflation calculator at

Rod March 12, 2013 at 11:56 am

Something like this is never a matter of money or technology, it’s a matter of will.

RT March 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm


AndyM March 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Yes…. too bad we don’t have slave labor to build it with.

Maybe we can use illegal immigrant labor instead.


Star March 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I know you are not calling me a name.

Terry March 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm

This pres wants them open.

Girly1 March 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Forget about a Great Wall, the Mexicans have discovered the fine art of ‘tunneling’ – everything from a gopher hole to a sophisticated 2400 foot, 9 story tunnel built by the Tijuana drug cartel.,8599,1895430,00.html

Since the Reagan Amnesty in the late sixties, we have kicked the can down the road from election to election. The Fourteen Amendment, birthright citizenship, should have been repealed decades ago. How many anchor babies have been manufactured in the US over the past 30 years? Probably more of those than GM autos!

While we have been asleep at the wheel all these years, along comes Obama who says…”Sovereignty? What Sovereignty!” We have crossed the Rubicon. A quisling dictator who gave a back-door amnesty to millions of Dreamers and released thousands of illegal criminals from jail was the green light for everyone to pack their bags and head for the good ol’ USA.

Now, the only question that remains is the ‘path to citizenship’. The minute the ink is dry on the forthcoming immmigration bill, everyone will receive instant provisional/probationary status, aka, permanent legal status, including their spouses and children who still remain in foreign countries.

After the Reagan Amnesty, only 40% of the amnetized illegals applied for citizenship; 60% remained legal residents. The same will apply next time. They do not care about becoming citizens – it’s all about the freebies!

News Nag March 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm

So this is what a ripoff of The Onion looks like. I’d say that the logical reasoning part of your brain is successfully walled off from the writing part of your brain.

News Nag March 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

The commenters here (myself excluded of course) read like characters from Marat Sade, but more misinformed and concomitantly more delusional. Congratulations. Good luck on your off-Broadway run.

srdem65 March 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Thank you. I’ll leave a ticket for you at will-call. Use my name.

Rod March 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm

yes, Nurse Ratched, we’re the inmates – you’re the sane one.

Julie Brueckheimer March 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm


Girly1 March 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Forget about a Great Wall, the Mexicans have discovered the fine art of ‘tunneling’ – everything from a gopher hole to a sophisticated 2400 foot, 9 story tunnel built by the Tijuana drug cartel.,8599,1895430,00.html

Since the Reagan amnesty in the late sixties, we have kicked the can down the road from election to election. The Fourteenth Amendment, birthright citizenship, should have been repealed decades ago. How ,many milloions of ‘anchor babies’ have been manufactured in the USA since that time? Probably more of those than GM autos!

While we have been asleep at the wheel all of these decades, along comes Obama who says: “Sovereignty? What Sovereignty!”…as he gives a backdoor amnesty to millions of ‘Dreamers’ and releases thousands of illegal criminals from jail.

We have crossed the Rubicon. Nothing will ever be done to enforce the existing immigration laws, the borders will never be secure, and there is no punishment for offenders. Once the immigration bill is signed, it means instant provisional/probatiomary status, aka, permanent residency for every illegal and their spouses and children still residing in foreign countries.

The debate now is strictly about a ‘path to citizenship’ – a red herring.
Ask any illegal immigrant if they care about becoming a citizen. It’s a joke!

Girly1 March 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Sorry about the duplicate, Keith. Please delete.

cincycinco March 12, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Let me make this easy. Here, in part, is the law we need;

“Foreigners are admitted into the country “according to their possibilities of contributing to national progress.” (Article 32)
Immigration officials must “ensure” that “immigrants will be useful elements for the country and that they have the necessary funds for their sustenance” and for their dependents. (Article 34)
Foreigners may be barred from the country if their presence upsets “the equilibrium of the national demographics,” when foreigners are deemed detrimental to “economic or national interests,” when they do not behave like good citizens in their own country, when they have broken the country’s laws, and when “they are not found to be physically or mentally healthy.” (Article 37)
The Secretary of Governance may “suspend or prohibit the admission of foreigners when he determines it to be in the national interest.” (Article 38)
the country’s authorities must keep track of every single person in the country:

Federal, local and municipal police must cooperate with federal immigration authorities upon request, i.e., to assist in the arrests of illegal immigrants. (Article 73)
A National Population Registry keeps track of “every single individual who comprises the population of the country,” and verifies each individual’s identity. (Articles 85 and 86)
A national Catalog of Foreigners tracks foreign tourists and immigrants (Article 87), and assigns each individual with a unique tracking number (Article 91).
Foreigners with fake papers, or who enter the country under false pretenses, may be imprisoned:

Foreigners with fake immigration papers may be fined or imprisoned. (Article 116)
Foreigners who sign government documents “with a signature that is false or different from that which he normally uses” are subject to fine and imprisonment. (Article 116)
Foreigners who fail to obey the rules will be fined, deported, and/or imprisoned as felons:

Foreigners who fail to obey a deportation order are to be punished. (Article 117)
Foreigners who are deported from the country and attempt to re-enter the country without authorization can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. (Article 118)
Foreigners who violate the terms of their visa may be sentenced to up to six years in prison (Articles 119, 120 and 121). Foreigners who misrepresent the terms of their visa while in the country — such as working with out a permit — can also be imprisoned.
Under the country’s law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on Population says,

“A penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of three hundred to five thousand units will be imposed on the foreigner who enters the country illegally.” (Article 123)
Foreigners with legal immigration problems may be deported from the country instead of being imprisoned. (Article 125)
Foreigners who “attempt against national sovereignty or security” will be deported. (Article 126)
Citizens who help illegal aliens enter the country are themselves considered criminals under the law:

A citizen who marries a foreigner with the sole objective of helping the foreigner live in the country is subject to up to five years in prison. (Article 127)
Shipping and airline companies that bring undocumented foreigners into the country will be fined. (Article 132) ”

Don’t like it? Talk to Enrique Peña Nieto. It’s Mexico’s policy.

It’s PERFECT! It CLEARLY isn’t racist because of its origins, it’ a foreign law like Obama and Ginsberg like, and it just needs the country names and currency units changed and it’s PERFECT for us! No boring work HERE to keep Obama distracted from picking his NCAA brackets!

You’re welcome, Mr. President.

CiscoKid March 12, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Terrific! I will give full credit to your research when I use this post when I discuss America’s so called ” racist ” immigration policies towards Mexico.
A tip-o-the-hat!

Paul Hobbs March 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm

We, technically, don’t have access to slave labor. Don’t worry, I’m sure the House is working on it.

Rod March 12, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I think you mean the administration – we’ll soon all be shackled to the government heroin.

Julie Brueckheimer March 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm

When it comes to Hobbses, I’ll take Hobbes.

cincycinco March 13, 2013 at 7:44 am

Obama’s already tried mandatory slave labor;

“Congress appears ready to pass an Obama administration plan that could create mandatory public service requirements for all American youth, fulfilling a campaign promise.

The bill, HR 1388: The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, otherwise known as the “GIVE Act,” has already passed the House by a vote of 321-105.

Tuesday, the Senate voted closure on the motion to proceed by a margin of 74-14 in a move that makes its ultimate passage likely.

The bill, promoted by the Obama administration as a means of encouraging America’s youth to participate in voluntary community service, has received little scrutiny from Congress or the public.

Yet, a version of the bill in the House proposes to establish a Congressional Commission on Civil Service tasked with determining whether a mandatory service requirement for all young people in America could be developed and implemented, though it is not clear that provision will survive a conference committee.

Moreover, an amendment to the bill introduced by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., one of the bill’s 37 co-sponsors in the House, appears to severely restrict the First Amendment by prohibiting the youth participating in the program from attempting to influence legislation, organize or engage in protests, petitions, boycotts or strikes.

Funds under the bill are designated to be distributed through AmeriCorps, even though AmeriCorps volunteers have a history of being recruited and employed by community programs with an ideological purpose supported by Democratic Party politicians, including Planned Parenthood.

Under terms of the legislation, volunteers recruited into AmeriCorps through the GIVE Act could end up counseling Planned Parenthood clients to recommend and arrange abortions.

It is uncertain whether restrictions will survive into the final legislation that would prohibit GIVE Act participants from being recruited under the program to work in ACORN, a radical community organizing group facing criminal charges in several states for voter fraud.”

Didn’t miss by much. He’ll be back…

Earth Fact - Jonathan March 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm

The Great Wall of China was never really that effective as a defense or border, and some thought it was more about demonstrating power to the Chinese themselves and keeping them under control than preventing people getting in. However, you are right that it isn’t that physically difficult, by comprison, to build a border fense. I don’t think it would change anything though, apart from making it look like you’re living inside a massive prison, and would only change the route of illegal immigrants and not the amount.

artark March 12, 2013 at 6:52 pm

For the life of me, I don’t understand why people want to sneak into this shitbucket of a country.

Susan March 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm

You’re always free to renounce your citizenship. I know many people who have been waiting in line for years to become citizens of this great country. You can free up a slot for someone who loves America.

artark March 13, 2013 at 7:40 pm

I don’t think it works that way.

Stetson Kennedy March 12, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Yes, if only President Obama thought of using slave labor to build that fence like the Chinese did! Methinks the “veteran White House reporter” has been there too long.

publius March 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Mr. Koffler – You may be a veteran White House reporter, but you need to brush up a bit on your Chinese history. The Great Wall is actually a series of walls, built in stages, spanning centuries. The death toll for the completion of the Qin Dynasty section in the Third Century B.C. is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps as much as a million, during a time when the global human population was probably only about 150 million or so. That’s a hefty portion. More deaths ensued for the completion of further sections in later centuries. Also, it failed. For the 2200+ years it has existed, China or parts of China have been conquered and reconquered many times. In the long run, it didn’t completely keep out the invaders at all. So, let’s see, centuries-long building project, incredibly costly in human life, and nowhere near a total success. Are you sure you want to use this as an example of what should be done to git the Bayrak O’Bama guv’mint to build the dang fence? (P.S. Most of this info can be obtained by scanning Wikipedia for about five minutes, never mind actual texts about China written by actual historians. This begs the question as to your thoroughness – what kind of reporter are you, anyway?)

2nz3TMC July 20, 2013 at 1:37 am

660238 858230I surely did not recognize that. Learnt 1 thing new today! Thanks for that. 928412