With the continued rhetoric from the Trump administration on a border wall and the “flowing” amount of illegal immigrants crossing the border, it requires some of analysis of the current situation at the border. According to Vox News Podcast The Weeds, there are areas on the border where a wall/fence is needed, such as San Diego and El Paso. In these areas, they argue, there is a possibility of someone slipping into a house or building. However, much of what Trump and others call the border is either a river, mountain range, or desert, where it can be difficult to reach even as a border patrol agent.
In general, the reality of immigration in the United States is that people are not flowing over the border; in fact, the net unauthorized immigration across the border is at or near zero, with the only real “movers” being families and children arriving from Central America. In conjunction, Mexicans may no longer be the majority of U.S. unauthorized immigrants. There have been increases in the number of unauthorized immigrants from Asia and Central America, yet one should recognize that the net is actually a decrease in unauthorized immigration. However, no wall would impede these individuals, since unauthorized Asian immigrants often overstay their visas, and families and children from Central America almost always enter through ports of entry seeking asylum. Therefore, the wall would be fir the extremely small population that is trying to walk across the border.
The last time the United States increased border security was in the 1980s, when there was in fact a refugee crises stemming from guerilla wars in Central America and Mexico. There was in fact a large amount of people walking across the border, gaining an income in the United States, and returning back to his or her home country. However, once the border became more protected and more dangerous with traffickers, most families would send one person and make one trip to the United States. That individual would then send back money to his or her family. For this reason, most of the illegal immigrants are already in the United States (66% in fact have been here for a decade), so building a border wall would do absolutely nothing.
Even though the border wall would spend billions on minimal policy benefit, many lawmakers still question the means in which drugs and human trafficking cross the border. The problem with this viewpoint is the vast majority of illegal drugs crossing the border go through ports of entry. For many, this can seem unfathomable. However, the U.S. still wants legal cross border trade with Mexico, but the waiting lines to enter the U.S. are currently quite long. For that reason, there is an enormous policy question waiting: how do you as a border patrol agent effectively inspect a truck but not reduce trade? This is the issue that many of members of Congress representing areas close to the border have questioned, but no true answer is in sight.
OUR VERDICT: A border wall would be extremely ineffective in impeding unauthorized immigrants from entering U.S. However, Trump’s rhetoric has reduced by 40% the amount of children and families from Central American seeking asylum in the United States. Although this might be in conflict of international refugee law, building a wall would be completely unnecessary. In fact, people within 350 miles of the border, with bipartisan support, see no need for a border wall. Border patrol as well, who are enormously supportive of Donald Trump, are not in favor of a wall. They believe employing more people at the ports of entry is a much more effective measure than a border wall. Overall, support to develop a comprehensive immigration plan in the United States is rising, yet a border wall, with basic understanding, is wholly ineffective and losing support.