Tag Archives: Berlin Wall

The East German Immigration Model


A U.S. Senate candidate in Alaska thinks that the U.S. should follow East Germany’s example when it comes to immigration. GOP nominee Joe Miller told a town hall audience, “The first thing that has to be done is secure the border. . .  East Germany was very, very able to reduce the flow.  Now, obviously, other things were involved.  We have the capacity to, as a great nation, secure the border.  If East Germany could, we could.”

He’s darn right “other things were involved.” See CEI’s video on the Berlin Wall for details. What a terrible choice of example.

Miller also forgets that East Germany’s 858 miles of fence weren’t meant to keep people out. That fence was meant to keep people in. Against their will. On pain of death.

It’s almost certain that Miller doesn’t really want the full-on East German border enforcement model. It was probably just a tasteless slip of the tongue. But he clearly favors a border fence. Which, of course, he should oppose if his goal is actually to reduce illegal immigration.

Many undocumented immigrants only stay in the U.S. for a few months. Get a job, make some money, go back home and share it with family. A border fence will keep a lot of people like that out, yes. But it also keeps current undocumented immigrants in. Unwillingly, in many cases.

If Miller wins his election, there is a lot he can do to reduce illegal immigration. Building an American version of the Berlin Wall is not one of them. As Alex Nowrasteh and I wrote, “The immigration black market only exists is because the government has made the legal market as cumbersome as it can.”

Miller should make legal immigration less cumbersome. People will come to America, no matter what. That’s what happens when you have one of the freest, richest, most dynamic nations on earth. That’s a fact of life that our broken immigration system does not take into account.

Neither, apparently, does Joe Miller.

 

20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall fell twenty years ago today. CEI released a video to mark the occasion.

See also Fred Smith’s writeup, re-posted here in its entirety:

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came crashing down. Today marks the twentieth anniversary of that great day – one of the greatest in the history of human freedom. Communism in Germany finally collapsed, setting off a domino effect that would reach Moscow within two years. Families torn apart for nearly three decades came together in tearful, happy reunions as the world watched. The Cold War was finally, mercifully, ending.

Many historians cite World War I as the twentieth century’s opening act. Sixteen million souls died in that war over nothing. Two of the nations it toppled became the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Communist and fascist governments would combine to kill more than one hundred million people over the next seven decades. Those needless deaths are the twentieth century’s legacy, every bit as much as the transistor or rock ‘n roll.

The fall of the Berlin Wall was that short, bloody century’s coda.

November 9, 1989 was also the start of something better. It was a nation’s way of saying that it was ready to move on to better times. To a new world defined not by oppression, ideology, and servitude, but by freedom. Sweet, precious, fragile freedom. Seeing the footage on the news was like witnessing something being born. The hope and potential that surround every birth were glimmering in people’s eyes. It was beautiful.

What Berlin’s people did on that day also inspired half a continent to send the same message to their leaders. What a noble achievement. How worthy of commemoration, now that twenty years have passed.

What a shame, then, that this milestone has been treated more like a millstone by the media. Reporters more concerned with today’s news cycle are giving at best perfunctory attention to a day that showed us all that is good about humanity.

To partially right that wrong, CEI has produced a short video commemorating what the Berlin Wall’s fall symbolizes. I hope you will watch it and enjoy it. Of course, it is hard to convey in a few short minutes what the people living in that Wall’s shadow went through for 29 long years.

So put yourself in their shoes. Think what they thought. Look right in the eyes of those separated families as they try to catch glimpses of each other over that wall. And the people who risked their lives escaping. And the soldier carrying back the body of someone who didn’t make it. What was going through his mind as he carried out his grisly task? That might give you an idea of what the Berlin Wall meant.

We all need to remember the Berlin Wall. We need to say to each other, “Never again.” And we have to mean it.