By Dennis Wagner
Amid a growing national angst about illegal immigration, Americans keep hearing a chorus: Secure the border first. Then talk about immigration reform.
The idea appeals to public sentiment, and it seems like a simple demand.
But what do pundits and politicians mean?
Is a border secure only when no one crosses illegally and when no contraband slips through?
If some permeability is acceptable, what is the tolerable amount?
Political leaders mostly dodge those questions, and for good reason: Anyone with a minimal knowledge or understanding about the nearly 2,000-mile swath of land between Mexico and the United States realizes that requiring a secure border establishes an impossible standard.