President Bush signed a Bill to authorise a 700 mile border fence last week, thus enshrining into federal law a key part of the Republicans’ mid-term election strategy. The party of the Iraq war and family values desperately needs you to forget about dead soldiers and randy congressmen, and to think instead about the bad things immigrants will do to us if we don’t wall them out. Hence the fence, and the ad campaigns around it.

Across the country, candidates are trying to stir up a voter frenzy using immigrants for bait. But the ads are built on a foundation of lies. Lie No. 1: We’re building a 700 mile fence. The Bill signed by Bush includes no money for fence building. Congress has authorised $1.2 billion as a down payment for sealing the border, but that money is also meant for roads, electronic sensors and other security tactics preferred by the Department of Homeland Security, which doesn’t want a 700 mile fence.

Lie No. 2: A fence will help. A 700 mile fence, if it works, will only drive immigrants to other parts of the 2,000 mile border. Lie No. 3: The Senate’s alternative Bill was weak, and its supporters favoured amnesty. Now is the time for stirring up voters, and the pliant Bush has decided to go along, adding his signature to the short-sighted politics of fear. — The New York Times