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Pelosi's 'Immoral' Border Wall Argument

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has declared that a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border would be "immoral."

She cannot present a logical argument to support this declaration.


At her press briefing last week, she conceded that the government has a duty to secure the nation's borders.

"(W)e have a responsibility, all of us, to secure our borders, north, south, and coming in by plane on our coasts, three coasts, north, south, and west," she said. "And that's a responsibility we honor, but we do so by honoring our values as well."

In Pelosi's view, a wall built to secure our border would fail to honor our values.

"We, most of us, speaking for myself, consider the wall immoral, ineffective and expensive," she said, "and the president ... promised Mexico would pay for it. So even if they did, it's immoral still, and then they're not going to pay for it."

A wall, in itself, has no moral standing. Whether building and maintaining a wall is moral or immoral depends on the job its builders intend it to do and how it works in doing that job.

The communists who built the Berlin Wall erected it to trap people in a tyrannical regime, where they were deprived of their God-given rights and subjected to the materialistic social engineering of Marxist overlords.

The Berlin Wall was an instrument of evil. Those who built it, maintained it and enforced it used it to unjustly deprive human beings of their freedom.


But you could take the same physical structure the communists used to keep people in East Berlin and use it to build a prison where you incarcerate terrorist leaders found guilty of committing genocide against Christians in Iraq and Syria.

In that prison, perpetrators of genocide, who had been tried and duly convicted in a justly run court of law, would be fed, sheltered and cared for -- but not allowed to leave.

That wall, and the armed guards manning it, would serve a legitimate interest of the human race.

While made with the same material as the Berlin Wall, it would have precisely the opposite moral status: It would be a just means to achieve a just end.

There is also moral significance to the way a person approaches a just wall someone else has erected and maintained.

Virtually every house has walls and doors; and householders generally expect visitors to knock on a door and wait to be let in.

But what if someone breaks a window -- or knocks a hole in the wall -- and breaks in unannounced?

Who is the moral offender here? The homeowner who built the walls around his house, or the intruder who smashed through them?

This week, Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had an argument with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. He wants funding for the border wall. They do not.


In that argument, Pelosi -- joined by Schumer -- conceded that America needs to secure its borders.

"We need border security. It's very simple," Trump said at one point.

"Of course we do. We do," said Pelosi.

"We need border security. I think we all agree that we need border security," Trump said later.

"Yes, we do. We do," said Schumer.

"We do," echoed Pelosi.

"Border security is a way to effectively honor our responsibility," she eventually said. "This is about the security of our country. We take an oath to protect and defend."

If you take Pelosi and Schumer at their word, they agree with Trump on a morally justified end that must be achieved: securing the border. But Pelosi claims that a wall is an "immoral" means of achieving that morally justified end.

Ultimately, however, there are only two ways to stop people, drugs and other contraband from illegally crossing the border. You can stop them by building impenetrable structures that prevent them from crossing. Or you can stop them by sending out Border Patrol officers to confront them when they do.

Which of these means is less likely to result in harm to human beings?

When seeking the morally justified goal of securing the border, a wall that stops or deters potential illegal crossers is morally superior to a plan that relies on confrontation.


Yes, there will be stretches of the southern border where it is impractical to build a wall. But the more miles of border with an impenetrable wall, the fewer the miles where the Border Patrol must confront illegal crossers.

More wall means less confrontation.

Over the past three decades, the United States has generously granted permanent-resident status to an average of 1 million legal immigrants per year.

Building a wall will not prevent legal immigrants from coming to America in the future; it will make the system fairer for them. It will mean those committed to obeying the law will compete with fewer willing to break it.

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com.

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