The Wall Along the Southern Border
Building the 1,900 mile long wall on the United States-Mexico border is a highly debated issue in America. During President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016, he promised to build a wall along the southern border to keep people from crossing illegally into the United States. Both sides of the debate firmly believe in their ideas for building the wall between Mexico and the United States.
Supporters of the wall believe that building it will help to stop some of the illegal immigration into the United States. “The Balance” says that as of 2016, there were 10.1 out of 43.7 million immigrants undocumented. Background checks are done on all legal immigrants. It is a safety hazard to not have background checks on those who are undocumented. There is no way for the government to know if they are criminals or not. Many illegal immigrants have come into America and killed citizens of the US. For example, in July of 2018, Mollie Tibbetts, a 20 year old college student in Iowa, went missing and was later found dead. The killer, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, was 24 years old and was an undocumented immigrant (NBC News). In the United States, there are many cases similar to this one brought to trial.
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However, many people would say that it is more likely for an American to get killed by an American than it is for an American to get killed by an undocumented immigrant. On February 14, 2018, a citizen of the United States, Nikolas Cruz, shot 17 people in a school in Florida. School shootings are becoming more and more common to this day. Many people believe that we need to worry about more important things in our country, like school shootings, than building a wall.
Although there are many other issues for people to worry about, having almost one million people enter your country illegally is a big problem. According to “The Balance”, “Between 700,000 to 850,000 new immigrants arrive without documentation each year. More than half slipped across the U.S. border.” Having a wall would make it harder for people to cross the border. This allows for more regulation of who can enter the United States. It creates a safer society for everyone.
Others say that many of the undocumented immigrants are people who come to the United States under a work visa but overstay their time. It would be hard to deport such a vast majority of people. Building the wall would not stop people under a work visa from overstaying their welcome. In addition, it would not stop immigrants from going to the United States illegally. They would find other ways around the wall.
President Donald Trump believes that the 7.8 million undocumented immigrants in the workforce are stealing jobs from Americans. In October of 2018, the unemployment rate of Americans was 3.7%, which is approximately 6.1 million Americans (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Using the jobs given to undocumented immigrants, many unemployed citizens of America could have jobs. Building the wall would help to control the number of undocumented immigrants and in return help many unemployed US citizens.
On the other hand, people who are against building the wall believe that even though the undocumented immigrants have these jobs, they are still helping the economy out. According to “The Balance”, “They and their employers contributed $13 billion as of 2010.” They also went on to say that almost half of them pay Social Security Payroll taxes “even though they are not eligible for Social Security benefits upon retirement.” Many people who are for the building of the wall believe that undocumented immigrants do not pay taxes. This refutes that idea; undocumented immigrants do indeed pay taxes.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, DHS, illegal crossing of the border is something Border Patrol has to deal with everyday. They have to apprehend over 1,100 people a day from crossing the border illegally. In addition to that, in 2017, “Border Patrol saw a 73% increase in assaults on officers along the Southwest border” (Homeland Security). If these people do not have respect for the law enforcement officers, how could they have respect for people in general? Stopping people like that from coming into the country makes it a safer place. Also, DHS “refuses entry to seven known or suspected terrorists every day, 50 every week, and 2,500 every year” (Homeland Security). Building the wall would allow for more thorough background checks to be done. It would also help to try to stop those who intend to do harm in America.
In contrast, some people would agree that it may help to stop some from entering, but there are other costs/ consequences of building the wall. First of all, President Donald Trump claimed that the cost would only be 12 million. However, according to a report done by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, HSGAC, it would cost $150 million a year for maintenance along the border on top of the initial cost. (HSGAC).
The United States is already in over 21 trillion dollars of debt. It would be hard to get that money to pay for the wall. Majority of taxpayers would be upset if taxes were raised so that the United States could afford to pay to have the wall built. President Donald Trump claims that Mexico will pay for the wall. Additionally, it will take a few years to have the wall built. In the meantime, what would happen to the United States in terms of immigration? More people would probably spill into the United States and see that as their last opportunity to get it. If that happened, it would be harder to get rid of the undocumented immigrants in the United States. On the other hand, supporters of the wall believe that it will help majorly in the future.
One of the ways it could help is to decrease drug delivery. Since 2008, about $300 million has been seized along the border heading into Mexico (New York Times). Mexico is selling the drugs to America. If the wall was there, it would be harder for the money to be brought into Mexico. In return, Mexico would no longer send the drugs because they are not getting any money for them. Although a large amount of drugs are flown in, it will help to stop the drugs coming in the southern border. This allows for more time to figure out a way to stop drugs being shipped through Florida and the east coast.
However, there are also many environmental impacts to building the wall. Many species will have to find new homes. Some species may even go endangered. Building the wall will cause many animals’ homes to be destroyed. They would then have to go to new habitats. Upon arriving, competition would immediately begin. Many animals would be fighting for food. This would cause some animals to not make it and die. According to Vox, “There are 25 million acres of protected US public lands within 100 miles of the line. That includes six wildlife refuges, six national parks, tribal lands, wilderness areas, and conservation areas.” All of that would have to be relocated to a new spot.
Additionally, it makes some people feel discriminated against. For those who have families in Mexico, it can make them feel as if their people are looked upon as a nation of drug dealers and sex traffickers. Building the wall will basically be like cutting off all connection with Mexico and its people.
Lastly, building the wall can help with sex trafficking. “According to the U.S. Department of State, the United States is a destination country for thousands of men, women, and children trafficked from all areas of the world” (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Building the wall would help sex trafficking coming from Mexico because it would be harder for traffickers to bring these victims to the United States from Mexico and to Mexico from the United States. It would not be as easy to cross the border. They would have to go through Border Patrol and have their cars and bags searched once they reached the border. Border Patrol could then apprehend the sex traffickers and make them face time in jail for such a heinous crime.
Currently, the issue of building a wall is much divided. The majority of the Republicans are in favor of building the wall, while the majority of the Democrats are against building the wall. In essence, people in favor of the wall, believe it can help to decrease crime and drug rates, and people not in favor of the wall, believe that building the wall is costly, not effective, and negatively impactful.
As a citizen of the United States, immediate attention needs to be drawn to the decision of securing the southern border of the United States, and something needs to change in the near future. The wall should be built along the southern border to stop the larger amounts of people flowing in illegally. More background checks need to be completed to insure the safety of citizens of the United States and some citizens of Mexico.