Is. Gov. Abbott right to pursue building TX border wall and making criminal arrests?


Fact Box

  • Under President Trump’s administration, more than “450 miles” were added to the 2,000 mile border, and amounted to $6 billion of the $11 billion originally assigned to the project. 
  • On January 20, 2021, President Biden terminated wall construction at the Southern Border. He also revoked Trump’s “Remain-in-Mexico” policy to reinstate “catch-and-release.” According to US Customs and Border Protection, the number of migrant apprehensions have been increasing for the last 10 years, and reached a high of 178,622 in April 2021. 
  • On Thursday, June 11, 2021, Gov. Gregg Abbott said he would build a Mexican border wall in the state of Texas to combat the migrant crisis at the border. 
  • The number of illegal immigrants in the US dropped to 10.3 million in 2019, a 12% decrease since 2010.

Stephanie (Yes)

President Biden halted funding for the US-Mexico border wall on his first day in office, inhibiting the Trump administration's progress in combatting illegal immigration. This, along with other lax immigration policies, has encouraged what has now become a humanitarian crisis at the border. Since the current administration has failed to solve the problem, Texas Gov. Abbott has taken the matter into his own hands upon announcing he will continue construction of the Texas-Mexico border wall.

Abbott has the right to be concerned about the Texas border, given that the state has the longest stretch along the Mexican border. A border wall is not only effective in keeping illegal immigrants and associated criminal behavior out of the Lone Star State, but the entire nation as well. This protects Americans from threats such as 'dangerous gangs and cartels, human traffickers, and deadly drugs like fentanyl.'

Despite Biden failing to address the immigration crisis properly, Abbott's recent announcement sends potential border crossers a clear message that they will be arrested if caught. It also demonstrates that there are still leaders in the US willing to fight against the issue, even if it requires constructing a costly, physical barrier. Regarding humanitarian concerns, Abbott later explained that 'only single adults would be arrested' as not to affect children.

While many politicians either do not take immigration issues seriously or argue that it is necessary for some to take refuge in the US, it is still a federal crime to bypass the citizenship process. This is simply unfair for those taking the lengthy, legal route. However, a wall helps limit this from occurring without interfering in the legal path.

Heather (No)

Governor Abbott is not right to pursue building the Texas border wall and making criminal arrests because it is illegal, financially wasteful, and unjustly inhumane to do so. It is illegal to arrest migrants who are seeking asylum at the US border because they have the legal right to do so. It is also most likely to be determined illegal under the Supremacy Clause to pursue building a border wall because it usurps the decision of the federal government to stop border wall construction. This federal legal challenge to Texas building a border wall is further complicated because there is no consensus on the local level to build it either.

In addition, it is a terrible waste of tax-payer money to continue to pursue building a border wall that has clearly already proven to be completely ineffective in keeping migrants out when there are many other points of entry along the border for migrants to come in anyway still. It is also unjust and inhumane to choose to build a border wall. It is a cruel and vain attempt to keep desperate migrants out of the US who are mostly children and families and treat them as dangerous criminals instead of using that money to immediately offer real hope and help that can and will make a positive difference for them. Building a wall and arresting desperate migrants is not and will never be the correct American response to this humanitarian crisis; only truly caring is the right solution.

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