This is the fourth and last post on the question of whether or not the southern border should be secured. The first post dealt with the history and background of the southern border. The second post dealt with the results of fencing already in place along the southern border. The third post dealt with the cost of closing the U.S.-Mexico border with a barrier. This post presents this author’s position on securing the southern border.
The United States of America has the right to secure its perimeter and the responsibility to protect its citizens from foreign and domestic enemies. This obligation is applicable in various areas, one of which is illegal immigration. The solution to controlling unlawful entries to the U.S. has several prongs, such as building a barrier along the southern border, assisting Mexico to lessen the need for its citizens to emigrate by improving its economy, and making life in the U.S. less attractive to unlawful aliens. By securing its border the United States could decrease the flow of undocumented immigrants into the United States, eliminate many of the problems caused by the presence of illegal residents, and give American citizens better protection from enemies within its borders.
While people debate border security and politicians promise to build a barrier along the southern border, Americans are suffering and dying at the hands of illegal aliens. Kate Steinle, 31 years old, strolled down busy Pier 14 in San Francisco with her father on a pleasant summer evening in July 2015. There was a single popping sound. Kate fell to the ground with a bullet hole in her upper body and died a short time later. She was the victim of a random killing by 45-year-old Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant. According to immigration officials, he was a repeat felon who had been deported five times to Mexico. 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 illegally crossing the border into the United States.
Another instance is the case of Jamiel Shaw Jr., a 17-year-old star high school football player in Los Angeles. He died in 2008 near his Arlington Heights home at the hands of Pedro Espinoza. Espinoza was a gang member and had been released from jail the previous day. He was also an undocumented immigrant, brought to the U.S. as a child by his mother. Espinoza saw Shaw wearing a red Spider-Man backpack and mistook him for a member of a rival gang. Espinoza was given a death sentence in 2012 for jumping out of a car, shooting Shaw in the stomach, and firing “a second execution-style shot in his head.” As Jamiel Shaw Sr. mourns the death of his son, he fully supports President Donald Trump’s plan to secure the border. He was a guest of the President when he addressed a joint-session of Congress on February 28, 2017.
Other Americans besides Steinle and Shaw have been killed by people who were in the U.S. illegally, and many other Americans have been assaulted or raped by illegal aliens. One way to decrease this type of violence is to reduce the flow of unlawful immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border. Since fences have proven to be effective deterrents, it seems evident that the first step to controlling illegal crossings of the border would be to build a barrier.
Even though Peter Schrag believes that a barrier will not stop all illegal crossings, this author accepts Border Agent Ronald D. Vitiello claims that fences reduce illegal crossings at the border. With Daniel Horowitz supporting Vitiello’s claim with statistics from a few barriers already in place, this writer can see no reason to further delay building a barricade on the border. Although a fence or a wall cannot be built in every location along the border, this is no reason why one should not be built wherever possible. It seems simple to understand that smaller openings in the barricade would be easier to patrol than a wide open border.
Schrag also argues that the cost of building a wall or a fence is too high. Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer says that “A nation without borders is like a house without walls.” This writer agrees with Brewer. Arguing that there should be no barrier on the border because of cost is like arguing that people cannot afford to build walls in their homes. Yet, every house has walls and even doors that lock in order to stop unwanted entries. Obviously, no one argues about the price for walls and doors because every house has them at whatever the cost.
The same should be true about securing the perimeters of the nation. The argument of cost should be dropped, and a search made to find ways to recoup some or all of the expenses.
Several sources claim that the costs of a secure border could come from money saved with fewer illegal immigrants. Robert Rector and Jason Richwine give statistics of the costs of allowing illegal aliens to live in the U.S. and they are supported by figures provided by Horowitz and Steven A. Camarota. It seems clear to this author that the money saved on illegal immigration could more than pay for the cost of building a barrier and maintaining it.
Horowitz claims that “the root of the immigration problem” is politics. He says that an “impervious, fixed, plain, dumb, ugly fence solves the core problem” because a fence “is not smart enough to be manipulated by those who support illegal immigration. It cannot be turned off and regulated. It does not discriminate. It works.” This author agrees with Horowitz’s statement that taking politics out of the equation is a large part of the solution. Once a barricade is in place along the border, a full discussion could take place on immigration without any political agendas.
Kate Steinle was killed by a felon who entered the U.S. without proper documentation. Her killer crossed the border illegally at least six times. A secure border may not have stopped all of his entries into the nation, but it surely would have stopped some of them and possibly the last one. Americans have the right to feel secure within their own nation, and the government has the responsibility to keep them safe by knowing who enters the nation, why they are here, and how long the visit will last. Politicians should cease their debates about the border and fund a secure barrier. A wall or fence along the U.S.-Mexico border should be built as quickly and as securely as possible. Other problems of legal and illegal immigration can be addressed after the border is secured and safety is provided.