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Building a Border Wall to stop Illegal Immigration

Updated on November 12, 2015
RJ Schwartz profile image

I'm on the right side of politics and enjoy a good debate on government, the economy, and the rights of the people.

Introduction

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has been quite clear in every discussion on immigration that he intends to build a wall along the southern border of the United States to stem the flow of illegal aliens coming into the country from the south. Opponents of this plan are numerous and surprisingly come from both sides of the political spectrum. The far left leaning liberal crowd throws out terms like “racial profiling,” “a joke,” and “impossible.” The pro-immigration right spouts on about the costs being too much and the engineering nearly impossible. The collection of politicians, pundits, and their media support arms are all doing as much as they can to sway the American public to side with their cause, which is to leave our southern border as porous and unsecure as it currently stands. Illegal aliens, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and smuggling will continue to operate and most likely grow their operations without improving the border security, yet it seems that a lot of people are against it.

Vehicle Barrier - Southern Border
Vehicle Barrier - Southern Border

Existing Border Barrier

The existing border fence along the southern barrier covers about 650 miles of the 2000 miles of the total border length. What has been completed is made up of about 300 miles of vehicle barriers and the rest pedestrian fence. Up until 2006, there had been no real deterrent to anyone trying to cross the border, until Representative Peter King (R-NY) introduced the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which was subsequently passed with bi-partisan support and signed into law by then President George W. Bush. The goal of this law was to reduce illegal entry into the United States by adding fences and vehicle barriers along 700 miles of the southern border, plus provides funds for surveillance, checkpoints, additional lighting, and drones to support the border security. The overall program was funded with over $1 billion dollars, but in hindsight did little to stop the illegal invasion as the fences were easily scaled and the surveillance minimal if any along most of the fence. In 2008 the Reinstatement of the Secure Fence Act was introduced in Congress intended to add an additional 700 miles of two layer 14’ high fence, but the bill died in committee and never even came up for a vote. In 2010 a Finish the Fence bill was again unsuccessful and deemed too expensive and underfunded.

Costs and why it "can't" be built

The topic of the cost of such an undertaking has been widely debated with figures of $20 billion being thrown around by the media. Numerous citations about similar projects are being used to show the high costs, such as the Berlin Wall, a famous 96 mile long wall that separated East and West Germany for many years. That project cost about $25 million to build in 1961. The United States Government Accountability Office estimates the current cost of building just fencing at $2.8 to $3.9 million per mile. Other estimates use the recently built West Bank barrier in Israel as a close comparison with construction costs coming in at just over $3.4 billion and based on the current mixture of different types of fencing and solid walls are considered by many as inadequate. Also the opposition brings up projected maintenance costs that are in the hundreds of millions each year.

Other reasons why the project can’t be done include the long time it would take to complete such a project, the disruption of wildlife migrations in the area, and how it might “hurt our image” with the rest of the world. Some of the pro-immigration groups have had the audacity to make claims that the wall could cause harm to those trying to illegally cross the border or strain the relationship the United States has with Mexico. The Liberal left goes full emotional in their approach calling those who favor a wall, racists for wanting to keep out Mexicans. They also make claim after claim that “it just won’t work,” while offering no reasons as to why, just that it won’t work. America used to be the nation of “can,” building Empire State buildings, Golden Gate bridges, and Hoover Dams. We put a man on the moon in record time, but now it seems that it’s easier to come up with a weak laundry list of reasons why we “can’t” get big projects done.

Benefits outweigh any cost

But, there are a lot of Americans who support building this wall, no matter the cost or time it takes. With a skyrocketing national debt, massive unemployment, and a continued negative growth rate of the economy, we need to take action and do so immediately. Illegal immigration is a drain on our economy, costing over $120 billion per year and growing. We cannot continue to sustain this type of expense as there is no recovery. A proper wall would play a huge role in permanently stopping illegal border crossings. The wall construction would create tens of thousands of high paying jobs for Americans, stimulating the economy in multiple ways. A secondary benefit of the wall would be to halt much of the illegal drug trade from crossing the southern border, reducing the costs of police and the DEA. Also terrorists or those who wish to do harm to this nation would lose an easy entry point. There are many more positives, but it’s that the benefits outweigh the costs over time.

Cache of Seized Drugs from Mexico
Cache of Seized Drugs from Mexico | Source
Perimeter Check on the DMZ
Perimeter Check on the DMZ

Walls around the World and across Time

The Liberal left wants to say that the wall won’t work and that walls have never worked. The Berlin Wall only had 5,000 successful “crossings” in 25 years. Hadrian’s Wall which spanned 73 miles from coast to coast of Northern Britain was built nearly two thousand years ago to protect the Romans from the native barbarians. The Wall of Troy in Western Turkey built in the 13th Century and still partially standing today withstood a ten year siege. And of course the Great Wall of China, the largest man made barrier on earth which has protected the northern border of China for over 700 years. These and many other famous walls prove that a solid barrier is effective as a deterrent to invaders and illegals alike.

Around the world we are seeing walls being erected or recently erected to keep out unwanted migrants and illegal invaders. The Hungarians just completed a razor wire covered fence along their southern border to keep Serbian migrants from illegally entering their country. In the early part of 2011, construction was done on a wall that would separate Greece from Turkey to stop illegals from crossing the land border there. Last year construction began on a new wall between Turkey and Bulgaria to stop the flow of illegal immigrants from crossing the border. The West Bank wall in Israel is for defense and to stop illegals from crossing into the disputed territory. The DMZ or Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea is world renowned for keeping either side from crossing. Just recently Slovenia started erecting a fence to stop the flow of Croatians and other migrants from crossing. All of these barriers have a common purpose, which is to keep those who aren’t citizens of those countries from entering illegally. Since the Berlin Wall was torn down, there has been over 1 new wall on average built every year worldwide. These walls are built by both totalitarian regimes and democracies, including India, Thailand, Israel, South Africa, and members of the European Union.

If border walls “don’t work” as our Liberal left tries to continually point out, then why are there so many of them being built? There are many reasons, but several stand out. Illegal immigration or migration is by far the biggest reason why fences are going up and borders guarded. Europe, the United States, and many other countries with a high wealth factor are like magnets to migrants. They see the prosperity enjoyed by the average citizen in other places and think they are entitled to just pick up and move to one of them without any regard for the native population. The second reason for a wall is security, whether from armed combat troops or hostile neighbors, walls have been erected to “keep the peace.” Drastic cultural differences are another reason, such as with Christians and Muslims living close to one another, or Jews and Palestinians. A wall demonstrates sovereignty and authority, or exactly what Mr. Trump was saying in his campaign messages, “America is a country of laws.”

Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
Bulgaria Fence
Bulgaria Fence
Deportations
Deportations

Repeated Deportations and Crime

When deported illegals continue to cross into our territory time and time again, seemingly with ease, it validates that the current system does not work. When we deport someone, they need to stay deported and a big heavily guarded wall seems to be the best deterrent available. The US Border Patrol was started in 1924 and the agency’s primary mission is to detect and prevent the entry of illegal aliens into the United States. Yet even with over 20,000 agents the task has become overwhelming. A wall would give those agents a firm and undeniable vantage point in their daily assigned duties of stopping illegals and drug smugglers. When illegals are apprehended in the United States, they can be move to the Mexican side of the wall and released without the fear that they’ll cross back over the next day. The Liberals of course will cry racism and a host of other fabricated lines to muddy the waters about why we don’t build a wall along our Northern border too.

The Southern Border is extremely porous and a recent United Nation’s report shows that nearly 97% of all illegal immigrants who enter the United States do so by crossing the Southern Border, with about 20% of those being caught. Illegal aliens also bring problems with them mainly in the form of crime as many are career criminals who could not legally immigrate. The news is filled daily with stories or murder and rape of US Citizens at the hands of illegal immigrants. More than 4.5 million illegal immigrants are driving on our roads on a regular basis, most without insurance and many unable to even read road signs. Our jails are filling up with illegals and the number of border incidents between American citizens and illegal aliens has skyrocketed. We also cannot forget that thousands of American children are being preyed upon annually by illegal alien pedophiles.

Sacrificing America for Political Correctness

With the mainstream press seemingly hiding the truth about the volumes of crimes committed by illegal aliens and the politicians in Washington taking the high road any time it’s brought up in conversation, it’s no wonder America is fed up. The solutions presented to the epidemic usually are focused on amnesty, but the math shows that legalizing the masses already here would cost in excess of $6 Trillion dollars over the next 50 years, almost 1/3 of our current national debt under President Obama. Since most illegals can’t speak English, have no education, and are significantly below the poverty line they would consume services such as welfare and other benefits at an unsustainable rate. If anyone wants to label a “can’t” program, then amnesty would be it. Our current healthcare system is a mess due to the meddling by President Obama and the Washington elite and one of its biggest strains in the overload caused by illegals. Many of these illegals are gang members and criminals and we simply cannot account for them as they have no paper trail after entering illegally. Our only option is to deport them permanently.

America is a country of laws and the Federal Government is required by the United States Constitution to defend our national borders. The bureaucrats in Washington are mired in Political Correctness and subjected to the whims of deep pocketed lobbyists who are against closing the Southern Border. Our politicians want to reward criminals with American citizenship. Illegal Aliens are treated like a favored class of people at the expense of taxpayers. These facts contribute to the recent polling that shows 89% of Americans believe that illegal immigration is an important factor in determining the next President, with 77% of the population saying illegal immigration is a serious problem. It’s no wonder than Donald Trump is leading the national polls, as he is the only candidate who takes a hard line on both building the wall and deporting the illegals.

Summary

First of all, thanks for taking time to read this piece. I understand that many people will disagree with it, but in my opinion, it's the right thing to do for the nation. We can no longer allow American taxpayer funds to be spent on non-citizens. America is a nation of laws and granting amnesty is like giving those who break our laws a reward. It doesn't matter if someone has been here ten or even twenty years, they broke our laws to get here. We wouldn't let other criminals off so easy, so why are so many people defending these criminals?

Post your comments, I'll approve them as long as they are civil. I like an active discussion, but don't try to hijack my work for your sounding board - write your own hub with your own thoughts.

Comments

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  • RJ Schwartz profile image
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    Ralph Schwartz 10 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Looks like America is going to get the wall...amazing.

  • clivewilliams profile image

    Clive Williams 13 months ago from Nibiru

    We are all prisoners here on Earth. Our efforts are distracted by countries and race. We need to escape the dome than waste effort building a wall.

  • RJ Schwartz profile image
    Author

    Ralph Schwartz 13 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    I'm not following

  • clivewilliams profile image

    Clive Williams 13 months ago from Nibiru

    Why build a wall when we are all in a dome?

  • RJ Schwartz profile image
    Author

    Ralph Schwartz 20 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    I appreciate the kind words - thanks for sharing!

  • Column Magazine profile image

    Column Magazine 20 months ago

    RJ,

    Thank you for bringing to light a valid argument for reasonable immigration reform by illustrating the perspectives of both Democrats and Republicans on the issue. This topic has certainly been talked about for years by both political parties. Instead of ignoring the situation, someone needs to implement an actual strategy that will address the issues of immigration.

    Great piece.

    -Brian Albanese

    CEO/Founder/Writer

    Column Magazine

  • RJ Schwartz profile image
    Author

    Ralph Schwartz 2 years ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    I just published a lengthy detailed piece on the effects of mass illegal immigration in Europe - it's a lesson we should be paying attention to as the consequences could be dire.

  • MizBejabbers profile image

    MizBejabbers 2 years ago

    If a wall would solve the problem, I would be for it. However, have you seen the reports on how the DEA is losing the battle on tunneling underneath the wall that exists? I do agree that we need to enforce the laws that are already here. The first step is to do away with our policy of birthright of American citizenship to any child born of illegal alien parents. That way bleeding hearts can't complain of families being split because the children were U.S. citizens.

    Our country also needs to stop the welfare programs offering these people free housing, food, and medical care. Refugee camps exist in other countries, so why are we so magnanimous (foolish) as to grant these non-citizens services that our own citizens don't quality. If we didn't make it so glamorous, or at least sound glamorous, maybe people from other countries wouldn't be so anxious to get here. They talk of the "American Dream" as if they have a right to it. Yes, part of my ancestry is from immigrants (the rest of it is Native American) however, they came in the 1600s and 1700s and earned their right to be here with hard work and fighting in U.S. wars. The American Dream of illegal aliens has become our nightmare.

  • profile image

    Old Poolman 2 years ago

    There is a common misconception that illegal labor is cheap labor. The truth is they are "willing" labor. The growers are desperate to get their crops harvested and few if any of our unemployed are "willing" to do this work.

    Many of the illegals work under a piecework system where they get paid by the box, bag, or whatever. Entire families often work together and make some really good money during the harvest season. When the season is over they return to their home country with enough money to survive until the next harvest season.

    At one time we had a Federally sponsored system called the Bracero program. Growers in the USA were able to put in a request for a certain number of workers for a certain period of time. The workers were able to put in a request for work and the system matched the two together. The system also tracked the entry and exit dates to make sure the workers really did leave the country at the end of the season.

    But sadly, this program actually worked well so it was discontinued. The growers were happy they were getting their crops harvested and the workers were happy to be earning some good money.

    I have not heard a word about re-initiating anything similar that I am aware of. This would leave me to believe that nobody is really interested in solving the problem of illegal immigration. It has just become a vote getting issue for most of our Politicians.

  • Dana Tate profile image

    Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

    I wonder if they really care about immigration or, is this a popular running-candidate, promise.

  • RJ Schwartz profile image
    Author

    Ralph Schwartz 2 years ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Agreed on all counts but I still think the wall is the icing on the cake to keep out the drug runners

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

    I don't think we need a fence. We just need to follow the immigration laws we already have on the books. If we did that, we wouldn't have 11 million illegal immigrants in this country. We have allowed an underclass to evolve in this country so we don't have to do the unglamorous jobs such as picking grapes. Also we don't want to pay full price for landscapers, cleaning people and nannies. We have created our own immigration problem.

  • RJ Schwartz profile image
    Author

    Ralph Schwartz 2 years ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Frank - thanks for commenting

    I am not against immigration and I too have immigrant roots, but I do believe that being an American citizen means something and to earn that right, people need to follow the rules.

  • Frank Atanacio profile image

    Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

    RJ we all have immigrant roots, I understand the hard work you put into this piece and for that I applaud you.. and every opinion stands out, nonetheless, I still back that old Liberty saying.. Give us your weak and your poor.. Great political my friend :)

  • RJ Schwartz profile image
    Author

    Ralph Schwartz 2 years ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Agreed - if our government would simply turn off the spigot of benefits and make it well known that anyone hiring illegals is subject to severe penalties, it would certainly help drive them out (except the criminals)

    Thanks for reading !!!

  • profile image

    Old Poolman 2 years ago

    When left alone long enough, some problems really do fix themselves. That is not the case with illegal immigration into our country. Even though Obama assured us the fence is completed, those of us who live near the border know better.

    The liberals fight this issue because illegals mean votes for their party. Why else do they fight the need for voter ID? They could care less about the impact of illegal immigration on our economy and welfare systems.

    The way I see it we can either have a real fence, wall, or other type barrier to slow down the numbers of illegals entering our country, or we could use armed Military personnel. If we were to put troops on the border that would get the entire world fired up and hating us even more.

    Most of us are aware the our Immigration System is almost impossible to navigate for those wanting to enter the country legally. I'm sure that some who are trying to enter legally die of old age before their paperwork is processed. I would question why it is we completely ignore this issue? We have been aware of the problems with legal immigration for 50 or more years yet never seem to even address this issue.

    Great job of writing by the way.