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Is There a Crisis at the Southern Border?

It seems the government doesn’t know what to do on the border.

By:  |  September 24, 2021  |    757 Words
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(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Immigration is a controversial topic in the United States, which means a lot of people disagree on how it should be handled. On the other hand, one thing many can agree on these days is that the government doesn’t seem to know what to do on the southern border.

Recently, a camp of illegal immigrants was discovered in Texas, near the border with Mexico. It’s thought that at one time there were 14,000 people in the camp waiting to be processed by immigration officials – now there are around 5,000.

While illegal immigrants who cross the southern U.S. border are often from Mexico or Central America, it was found that many of this group were from Haiti – an island to the south of the U.S. Haiti is a poor country that has struggled to deal with issues like gangs and damage from natural disasters. Many of the Haitians had been living in South American countries like Chile for the last few years.

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Migrants cross the Rio Grande River near Del Rio, Texas. (Photo by Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images)

“I love Chile, it’s 1,000 times better than Haiti,” one of the migrants reportedly told Todd Bensman of the Center for Immigration Studies. “But I want to come to the United States, that’s a million times better.”

The large number of migrants has posed challenges to Border Patrol, which does not have enough resources to deal with so many people coming at once. The government has deported some back to Haiti, while others have been taken to other areas of the United States and set free.

The Background

Many people arrive in the U.S. legally, by getting visas and following immigration laws. Others cross the border without going through the legal processes – these are illegal immigrants.

Illegal immigration is common on the southern border, which the U.S. shares with Mexico. Many of these illegal immigrants have been Mexicans and people from Central American countries like Honduras and Guatemala, who come into the U.S. hoping for a better life. Many problems have been created on the border, with gangs using the situation to make money by smuggling drugs and humans into the country.

Presidents have had different approaches to illegal immigration. In 2006, Congress passed a law to build fences along some parts of the border; President George W. Bush said the law would “help protect the American people” and “make our borders more secure.”

The next president, Barack Obama, had a mixed approach. He deported more illegal immigrants, but also let lots go free in the U.S. and didn’t pay much attention to the border itself.

President Donald Trump had a harsher policy, trying to put a stop to illegal immigration with a “zero tolerance” approach and by building a wall along the southern border.

President Biden’s Approach

Now that Joe Biden is president, a lot has changed. Biden put a stop to many of Trump’s policies, and overall has a more welcoming attitude to illegal immigrants. Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris, have said they want to stop the “root causes” of illegal immigration by fixing the problems in other countries.

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(Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Due to this situation, there has been a big increase in people trying to come into the U.S. illegally across the southern border.

According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the number of people trying to enter the U.S. illegally has increased by a lot – in August 2020, around 50,000 were detained by Border Patrol, while in August 2021, that number had grown to over 200,000. The CBP says it has detained 1.3 million illegal immigrants in the last year, but there may be many more that have entered the country without being noticed.

Some concerns with the high levels of illegal immigration are:

  • COVID-19 spreading in the U.S. since illegal immigrants are often not tested for the virus.
  • Abuse of migrants, especially migrant children.
  • Migrant children going missing in the U.S. since officials have lost touch with many of them.
  • The poor living conditions for the migrants. Many are known to be living in unsanitary and unsafe conditions.
  • The spread of crime, as human traffickers and other criminals can take advantage of the situation.
  • Not enough resources to deal with so many people.
  • People not respecting U.S. laws.

What is the answer to the situation on the southern border?

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