The United States of America has the right to secure its perimeter and the responsibility to protect its citizens. While politicians debate border security, Americans are suffering and dying at the hands of illegal aliens. Both northern and southern borders should be secured, but the focus of this paper is on securing the southern border against future illegal immigrants. By barricading the southern border, the United States could decrease the flow of undocumented immigrants into the United States, eliminate many of the problems caused by illegal travelers, and give American citizens better protection.
Critics make numerous claims about the border. Some people declare that the border should be wide open because illegal immigrants are good people looking for a better place to rear their families. Some claim that a protective barrier cannot be built because of the rough terrain and cost. Others suggest that people living along the border do not want cross-border trade stopped by a barrier. Still others assert that undocumented travelers would find a way into the USA even with barricade. While these statements might be partially true, a secure border should be constructed to better control the movement of people into the country.
While many of the people entering the United States unlawfully are good people looking for safety and prosperity, criminals and drugs are also crossing the border. For example, Kate Steinle, 31 years old, strolled down busy Pier 14 in San Francisco with her father on a pleasant summer evening. There was a single popping sound, and Kate fell to the ground with a bullet wound in her upper body. She was the victim of a random killing by 45-year-old Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant. According to immigration officials, Sanchez was a repeat felon who had been deported to Mexico five times. He would have been deported six times, but he was being held in San Francisco on a drug-related warrant. However, the drug charge was dropped, and he was back on the street. The Steinle case is just one example of dangerous people crossing illegally into the United States numerous times.
A secure border can be built if Americans are willing to pay the price. Part of the southern border is already protected by a 20-mile long, fortified border separating San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. This section has double fencing with triple fencing in some areas. First, there stands a 10-foot high fence made of thick, welded,metal panels. Then there exists a 15-foot high fence that is constructed of steel mesh, angled inward, and topped by barbed wire. A third fence, shorter and made of chain link, is located in high-traffic areas. The 150-foot-wide space between the two main fences is considered to be “no man’s land” and is monitored “by bright lights, armored trucks, and cameras.” This barrier is successful at eliminating much of the traffic through the area, but it needs to be longer to stop travelers who might go around it.
A committed America could build a secure barrier along the southern border in a relatively short period of time. During World War II, U.S. Army engineers built the Alaska Highway in less than a year through a vast wilderness in a cold, remote, and forbidding region. This accomplishment included crossing five mountain summits and unnumbered rivers. If a road can be built in that area in eight to nine months, then a secure border can be erected through any terrain in approximately a year.
Many people living along the southern border want a barrier to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs across their property. A journalist from Esquire Magazine traveled the 800-mile-long Texas-Mexico border with “just an empty notebook.” He was assigned to speak with every person he met in an effort to learn whether or not they wanted a wall. The reporter found that everyone – “Hispanic, Anglo, Democratic, Republican, uncommitted, clueless” – all said, “We want a wall.” The people along the border are directly affected by illegal immigration, and they want it stopped.
Kate Steinle was killed by a repeat felon who entered the United States illegally at least six times. A secure border may not have stopped all of his entries into the nation, but it surely could have stopped some of them. If the felon had been stopped on his last entry, Steinle could be living today. Americans have the right to be secure within their own nation, and the government has the responsibility to keep its citizens safe by knowing who crosses the border and why they are here. Decreasing the flow of illegal immigrants across the southern border is the first step to bringing more security to Americans. The American people want the southern border to be closed, and the government should build a protective barrier as quickly as possible.
Updated on 3 July 2016: Here is proof that Kate Steinle was not the only American hurt and/or killed by an undocumented immigrant. The Mexican national in this article was deported to Mexico six times before he killed three people in Oregon.