No, not more modern Pinkertons, repeating bad policy from the 1880s. This time we're repeating ancient Rome's mistakes, a parallel Atlantic writers Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane draw out:
Before their empire fell, the Romans built walls.
They began by erecting barriers along the border following the death of the Emperor Trajan in 117 A.D., notably Hadrian's Wall, which belted Britain. Later emperors erected internal walls, even around the great city itself, to ward off barbarians. After 300 A.D., the Emperor Diocletian effectively converted the entire Roman populace into feudal serfs, walling them off from internal movement in a vain effort to stabilize the chaotic economy.
Sadly, many Americans are all too eager to repeat history.
Witness the immigration bill slowly making its way through Congress, and the feverish reactions it has inspired. In exchange for granting undocumented workers a path to citizenship, Republicans have demanded a so-called "border surge" that would double the number of patrol agents in the Southwest and build an extra 700 miles of fencing.
They make a succinct argument with a good hypothesis about why, exactly, Republicans want a useless wall on our southern frontier.