After months of debate on immigration policy and whether a border wall is an effective tool or a symbolic expense, Americans agree there is an immigration crisis at the US/Mexico border. What is still being argued is how to solve the situation.
Proponents of tighter security, who call for a solid barrier to stem the flow of illegal migration, want to funnel immigrants through legal ports of entry. Along the 1,933 miles of Mexico and US border, 700 miles have fencing or barriers in place and there are 136 legal ports of entry asylum seekers can use.
Opponents of the building of a border wall call it cruel and believe that our borders should be open to anyone who wants to come to America. Calling the situation a humanitarian crisis, many leaders in large US cities – San Francisco, New York, Chicago – have declared their cities to be “sanctuary cities,” which pledge to not send back any illegal aliens, and offer them health and welfare services instead.
Facts and Figures
Many argue that our own citizens – our homeless population, elderly, and veterans – should be a priority over any non-citizen. But opponents of the border wall focus their concerns and efforts on the overcrowding of detention centers and the separation of families once the immigrants are caught.
There have been numerous reports that immigrants are treated poorly. One recent case is that of an El Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned attempting to cross the Rio Grande River.
Opponents also believe the expense of a barrier is too high.
To secure the entire area of the southern border could cost up to $25 billion. However, a recent half-mile stretch completed in Dona Ana County, NM, cost $8 million and was paid for through private funding raised by citizens through a crowd share platform. It was also completed in a matter of days.
A recent report from the Heritage Foundation states that “the average unlawful immigrant household received around $24,721 in government benefits.” With a prediction of one million illegal immigrants by the end of 2019 — with an estimated cost of $69,570 over his or her total time in the US – that comes up to about $69.6 billion spent on non-citizens.
Is it un-American to build a wall to stop illegal immigration? Some believe that, as a nation of immigrants, we must open our borders to others. The people who want tougher national security are of the belief a wall or barrier will discourage others from attempting the trip, will slow smuggling and reduce the flow of illegal drugs entering America.
This is a discussion all Americans must have.