Should the US build a wall on the Southern Border?


Fact Box

  • The Trump administration completed its goal of constructing 450 miles of new border wall along the Southern border by December 2020. 
  • The Border Wall System displayed by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as of July 24, 2023, indicates which parts of the Southern border are open, as well as which regions have recently constructed, and pre-existing border walls. 
  • CPB reports there have been nearly 9.2 million encounters with migrants illegally entering the US through the southern border since 2021. CPB has also seized 7,000 lbs of fentanyl since January 2024.
  • The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimates that the net cost of illegal immigration to the US is around $150.7 billion as of the beginning of 2023.
  • During President Trump's term, $15 billion from the Defense Department's budget was reallocated to construct the border wall. Conversely, the Biden administration announced in June 2021 that there would be “no new funding for border wall construction, and calls on Congress to cancel any border barrier funds that remain at the end of the year.”

Chad (No)

Building a wall along America's southern border is more about posturing and theater than fundamental policy changes or protecting our borders. Studies show that many issues at the Southern Border are self-created or over-hyped for political capital. Most of the undocumented migrants in this country came originally on legal visas and then never left. Many also come by sea in boats or by other means. And despite popular perceptions, most new migrants are Asian, not Hispanic

There is no statistical difference in crossings in areas where the wall has been built, just like in other areas around the globe where walls exist. People can go over, under, or even through the wall. Furthermore, funding for wall construction takes money away from more effective deterrents or enforcement mechanisms like border agents and technology. A wall is costly and ineffective, causing many issues for landowners and impacting wildlife and waterways. Likewise, the wall promised as 'not costing the US a dime' has already cost more than $11 billion, at a rate of $46 million per mile—money that could have been used more effectively on immigration issues just about anywhere else. 

A continual wall or wall-like barriers would be an unsightly, outdated thing to behold along the southern border. Plus, the 'preventative' technology has little place in today's advanced society. Sophisticated monitoring methods and trained personnel perform more effectively than walls. But if we want to solve this issue, we must also turn our attention to the economic trouble of these countries and the political instability the US itself created there. Everything else is just photo-ops for politicians.

Luke (Yes)

Every sovereign country has the right and obligation to enforce its borders. A country that cannot enforce its borders is, by definition, a failed state. When considering the US-Mexico border, notorious for illegal crossings and drug trafficking, the US government can no longer sit idly by. The issues ranging at the southern border include known terrorists secretly crossing into the country to a massive influx of deadly fentanyl that has turned into a nationwide overdosing epidemic. These serious issues, along with well-documented cases of human and gun trafficking, make one thing clear: all that can be done to mitigate these issues should be done immediately.

An unsecured southern border is not only an issue for Americans but is also detrimental for illegal migrants who may attempt the dangerous trek across the wilderness. This is without mention of the numerous reports of rapes and murders from those who have survived the journey. While a proper border wall may not stop illicit activity completely, it certainly would make it more difficult. Currently, many countries are employing some form of border wall, such as Israel and Turkey, or are in the process of doing so, as are Poland and Belarus. 

Finally, it's unfair to those who legally migrate to the US and for valid asylum reasons. An unchecked open border facilitates the cutting in line of those migrants who are lawfully seeking entrance. Likewise, it is American citizens who pay taxes for social welfare programs like food stamps, rental assistance, and now health care benefits, which are likely to be enjoyed by illegal immigrants. Open borders increase the incentives for foreign nationals— including suspected terrorists—to enter unlawfully for any reason. A solid immigration system being encouraged by a wall would immediately quell the high surge of migrants overwhelming the border and is the right course of action.

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