Pecularities of the Border Wall

Category: Politics
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In June 2015, after launching a long, angry speech about Mexicans being rapists, drug dealers, and killers, Donald Trump made the declaration, “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border” (Graham and Midgley, 2017). He promised Americans that a border wall would be built between the U.S.-Mexico border to obliterate illegal immigration and the exportation of illegal drugs from the neighboring country.

This declaration from Donald Trump was not the first time building a border wall was presented in attempts to increase border enforcement. In 1994, a barrier was built along the border. The barrier built, which still stands today, was not one barricade but a compilation of relatively short physical walls, secured in between with a “virtual fence” which includes a system of sensors and cameras monitored by the United States Border Patrol (, 2018).

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Unfortunately, the current border barrier has proven to not completely put an end to America’s immigration and drug smuggling issues. Unauthorized immigrants and drugs continue to make their way across the United States border; drug smugglers and immigrants simply find ways to work around the border barrier security no matter how tall or wide the barrier stretches. Just as the security and patrolling of the borders have increased and advanced, so have the methods in smuggling both drugs and people into the United States.

Plans to build upon the already established barrier, making it a stronger, less penetrable wall was one of the driving forces during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Donald Trump has not been entirely clear and firm with his description of the wall and its costs. His suggestions have ranged from a barrier with a “big, very beautiful door” in which he would make Mexico pay for to a solar wall that would pay for itself (Nixon and Qui, 2018). The amount of money it would take to build this elaborate wall has also been a cause of misconception as well. Obtaining complete control of any country’s border is not an easy task.  Every country has an obligation to protect and regulate its borders from illegal activity in every aspect and any outsiders who pose a threat to the safety of that country’s citizens. But at what cost?

When it comes to tracking how many cross the Mexico-U.S. border illegally every year, it is difficult. Due to the fact the estimates can only be counted upon apprehension of the illegal immigrants. According to statistics gathered in 2016, 192,969 Mexicans were caught on the border for attempting to illegally cross into the United States (Reference, 2018).  Today the border runs 1,989 miles and is not an easy terrain for a wall to be built upon. The Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico comprise a majority of the area, as well as two major rivers, plenty of farmland, canals and mountainous territories (Dean, 2016). The border fence between Mexico and the United States runs through four American states: Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico.

As of August 29, 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had built 190 miles of pedestrian border fence and 154.3 miles of vehicle border fence, for a total of 344.3 miles of fence (U.S. Customs, 2005). It is located on both urban and unpopulated areas where the highest levels of illegal crossings and drug trafficking has occurred in the past. In order for immigrants to cross over into the U.S. legitimately, there are 35 border cities in place, 45 crossing points and 330 ports of entry (Dean, 2016).  No less than 350 million people cross it legally every year, and in some cases, daily. The flow of undocumented immigrants has long declined before Trump proposed this extended border wall. President Trump’s plan for building a wall is impractical, ineffective, and would not be worth the great expenses that funding it would incur.

To eradicate the transportation of drugs, illegal immigration, and other forms of criminal activity, building a border wall is simply not the solution. The efficacy of the border barrier is called into question because of the loopholes that it presents; the border is easy to get around. A few strategies incorporated by lucrative Mexican drug cartels include burrowing under it, occasionally utilizing complex tunnels, climbing the fence and using wire cutters to remove barbed-wire or finding and digging holes in vulnerable sections of the border (McFadyen, 2018). Numerous individuals have additionally gone by watercraft through the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Coast or fly in and never return to their country even as their visas expire.

For centuries, those seeking asylum from war-torn countries and immigrants looking for the “land flowing with milk and honey”, have always been welcomed in the United States. The motive behind Trump’s plan to build this wall is to allegedly “keep the bad guys” from crossing the border but, the message he portrayed universally during his campaign was one that promoted division and bias. Building a border wall based on those reasons are nonsensical. America should push the agenda of freedom and hope to foreigners who want to migrate here seeking a better way of life.

A wall, no matter the size, will not keep people from wanting a better life. Some are willing to do whatever it takes to cross the border no matter how huge the risk. People smugglers, called “coyotes,” charge astronomical fees for passage (McFadyen, 2018). The Trump Administration claims to target “the bad guys” from getting into the U.S. by building this border wall but yet and still, children, infants and the elderly attempt to cross. The conditions are extreme and some people will go for days without food or water. These tough conditions do not deter people from coming over illegally. According to the Human Rights National Commission of Mexico and American Civil Liberties Union, almost 5,000 people have died attempting to cross the border between 1994 and 2007 (McFadyen, 2018).

The border wall accompanies numerous costs. Some can be seen but not accurately estimated, others are unanticipated. The most evident is how much money it will cost in the long run to fabricate it in whatever capacity it is finalized. During his presidential campaign, Trump asserted that the wall would cost just $12 billion to construct. However, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report in February put the expense at $21.6 billion (Felbab-Brown, 2017). Even then, that estimate may be undervalued. The specifications of what this wall will look like has varied so much over the years, it is impossible to get a clear consensus on the cost it would take to build such a barrier.

Furthermore, a lot of the land in which the border wall would be built upon is privately owned, thus creating legal fees that must be paid in order to seize this land. President Trump and his administration have the ability to initiate eminent domain, which is power over the private property by compensating the owners after a negotiated payment but legal proceedings would not just stop there. In addition, a border wall affects wildlife on both sides, fragmenting the habitat and disrupting essential animal migration patterns (Nowakowski, 2017). Agencies designed to protect endangered wildlife would legally fight to keep the preservation of these species who call the southern border home.

Opposing Views

Securing a country’s border is very important. It has been proven over time and all around the globe that policing borders is an essential component of the preservation of a nation. Most, if not all American citizens considered this to be in the best interest of the country. One who believes a wall should be built at the U.S.-Mexico border would share in the idea that the walls presence would show outsiders the strength of our nation against terrorism and the importance of safety at our borders. Illegal immigration is estimated to cost the United States millions of dollars, and according to Trump, $113 billion a year in lost income tax revenue (McFadyen, 2018).

Illegal immigration is considered a strain on government spending by overburdening social welfare, health, and education programs (McFadyen, 2017). Due to the use of current border fences and barriers, and high-tech surveillance cameras, the amount of immigrants attempting to cross the border illegally and drug trafficking operations have been successfully apprehended. Arizona has been the focal point of illegal crossings by immigrants for quite some time.

In one year, authorities captured 8,600 people trying to enter the U.S. illegally in the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range used for air-to-ground bombing practice by Air Force pilots (McFadyen, 2018). San Diego’s amount of people caught crossing the border illegally declined significantly as well. In the early 1990s, about 600,000 people attempted to cross the border illegally. After the construction of a fence and increased border patrols, that number dropped to 39,000 in 2015 (Longley, 2017).


In conclusion, there is indeed an illegal immigration and drug trafficking problem at the nation’s borders but barricades will not stop illegitimate passage and crime; instead, the answer may lie in a thorough examination of immigration reform.

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Pecularities Of The Border Wall. (2019, Apr 23). Retrieved from

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