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It's always helpful to get a perspective from the people closest to a problem. Traveling to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas last week, I heard a lot about the proposed wall on their border. Surprisingly, I learned that preparations for building the wall are already under way.

According to the locals, even the most ardent supporters of border security, this wall is a waste of time and money.

• The traffic crossing the border illegally has slowed dramatically.

• Attempts to cross illegally are not occurring where the wall would be built, but at airports and on interstates.

• The wall would do nothing about those who arrive legally with temporary visas and over-stay their welcome.

• The areas where the wall would be built are already protected by technology that detects human movement.

• Ranchers and farmers don't want the wall taking some of their land out of production.

• Naturalists are concerned about the wildlife preserves that will be destroyed by the wall.

• Businesses stand to lose much of the $350 million eco-tourism industry in the Valley.

To the locals, the wall is a threat to their way of life. From my perspective, it seems like more of a symbol than any real protection. It might give some people a false sense of security.

Dan R. Ebener