I recently completed a long essay for my writing class. Since I put a lot of time and research into my essay, I thought that I would share it on my blog. I based my essay on a question: How secure should the border be? The first part of the essay provides history and background about the U.S.-Mexico border. This essay will cover some of the arguments about building a border. I found some interesting information that I wanted to share and will include the links in case you want to learn more details than I have included.
Americans have numerous opinions about securing the U.S.-Mexico border. Some folks think that the border should be wide open to anyone who desires to live in the United States. Other individuals believe that the boundary should be sealed tightly in order to totally stop illegal immigration. Still other people reason that the solution lies somewhere in the middle of the two extreme positions. This part of the essay will discuss a few moderate but opposing viewpoints about the problems and importance of building a fence or wall.
A barrier of some kind, whether it is a fence or a wall, is at the center of the debate because there is disagreement as to how much good a barricade would do. Peter Schrag, a columnist and the author of Not Fit for Our Society: Immigration and Nativism in America, claims that it is impossible to stop all illegal immigration because approximately one-third to one-half of illegal aliens in the United States came legally but “overstayed their visas” (3). He also states that “millions” cross the border “every day to work, study and shop” and that “about 60 percent of U.S. farm workers are believed to be undocumented.” (Schrag, Peter. “Strengthening the US-Mexico Border Will Not Stop Illegal Immigration.” Opposing Viewpoints in Context: Illegal Immigration, 2011.) Schrag shows by his numbers that crossing the border is not the only way for people to live in the U.S. illegally.
While Schrag says that a fence will not stop all illegal immigration, Robert D. Vitiello, chief patrol agent for the U.S. Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, claims that fences reduce illegal crossings at the border. Vitiello says that fences are especially critical in urban environments because aliens “can be across the border and into the community in a matter of minutes, sometimes seconds” He admits that there is no “single solution” to securing the border, even though he sees fencing as an important part of the overall answer. He says that each mile of the border is “unique” and requires its own “balance of personnel, technology, and tactical infrastructure (such as roads, pedestrian and vehicle fencing and lights).” He also asserts that “fencing has proven to be an effective tool to slow, redirect, and deter illegal entries, especially in certain areas where personnel and technology alone cannot sufficiently secure the border.” Since Vitiello is in the business of patrolling the border, his opinion in the debate is important. (Vitiello, Ronald D. “A Border Fence Will Reduce Illegal Crossings of the U.S-Mexico Border.” Opposing Viewpoints in Context: Should the U.S. Close its Borders?, 2010. )
Another view comes from Daniel Horowitz, an author of numerous books and articles as well as a defense attorney who comments frequently on criminal cases in the news. He supports Vitiello in his claim that fences are a deterrent to illegal entry into the United States. Horowitz uses the barriers presently in place along the U.S.-Mexico boundary and the wall along the southern border of Israel as examples of the effectiveness of barricades in decreasing illegal crossings. He claims that in the first decade after the 14-mile-long, “double-layered fence (triple-layer in some places)” was built in the San Diego area, “apprehensions fell by 95% as illegals moved eastward” to open border areas. He states that apprehensions fell 96% in the Yuma area in the first decade after a fence was erected there. He says that “suicide attacks perpetrated by Arab terrorists declined by well over 90%” after Israel built “a double-layer barrier with a security zone in the middle.” The Israeli wall is a great example to consider as terrorists are usually quite determined to reach their goal, maybe even more so than immigrants looking for a new home. (Horowitz, Daniel. “Border Fences Work.” Conservative Review, January 25, 2017, originally published in August 2015.
Part Two of my essay discusses three solutions to reducing illegal immigration. The three ideas include constructing a barrier to decrease illegal crossings along the southern border, helping Mexico and its neighbors to improve the economies in their nations in order to decrease the need for their citizens to emigrate, and eliminating some of the magnets that draw undocumented immigrants to the United States. This half of Part Two discusses only the possibility and importance of a fence. The second half of Part Two will discuss ways to pay for a barrier as well as helping Mexico and eliminating magnets for illegal immigration.