GOP Senate hopeful advocates East German-style border security
Alaskan GOP Senate candidate and tea party favorite Joe Miller thinks the United States should emulate the border security of the German Democratic Republic, better known as East Germany.
At a town hall meeting in Anchorage on Sunday, Miller said in response to a question about illegal immigration that “the first thing that has to be done is secure the border… East Germany was very, very able to reduce the flow.”
His comments were recorded by an Anchorage-based blogger Steve Aufrecht and posted online Sunday evening.
“Now, obviously, other things were involved,” Miller continued. “We have the capacity to, as a great nation, secure the border. If East Germany could, we could.”
The German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) was established by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin shortly after the end of World War II.
A massive number of fortifications were built along the 858 mile border between West and East Germany by the German Democratic Republic to prevent emigration to the West, the most notable of these fortifications being the Berlin wall.
“At first the East Germans concentrated on the 27-mile stretch of border that zigzagged through the heart of the city, to stop the flow of East Germans to the West,” as TIME magazine reported in 1973. “More than 3,000,000 had deserted East Germany from the end of World War II until Ulbricht ordered the Wall built. Now there is an elaborate network of installations along the entire 100-mile demarcation line that separates West Berlin from East Germany. At last count, it included 242 watchtowers, 137 bunkers, 249 dog patrols, some 65 miles of concrete wall and 35 miles of chain-link fencing, as well as assorted electronic-surveillance devices, 10-ft.-deep trenches and triple-pronged concrete pylons similar to the tank traps of World War II.”
Guards were ordered to shoot anyone trying to cross the border and at least 125 people were killed attempting to flee to West Berlin.
“Miller may not realize this, but East Germany ‘was very, very able to reduce the flow’ because there was a heavily-fortified wall intended to keep people from fleeing the country, not enter it,” notes Steve Benen. “Reducing the ‘flow’ is easy when no one wants to go in, and no one’s allowed to leave.”
Tony Hopfinger, editor of the online Alaska Dispatch, tells KTUU-TV that security pushed him as he tried to question Miller. He says he pushed back and that guards then detained him, accusing him of trespassing at the public event.