How the Border Wall Helps Control Illegal Immigration

How the Border Wall Helps Control Illegal Immigration

( – The debate over building a wall along the country’s southern border with Mexico reached a feverish pitch in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in the November 2016 presidential election. Just how effective would this barrier be?

Supporters of the wall promote its construction as a kind of end-all magic pill solving America’s ongoing illegal immigration issues. Critics claim that walls do little to prevent or discourage unlawful border crossings.

Recent studies tend to support the premise that border walls do little to prevent or deter undocumented immigration. However, they readily admit that evidentiary support regarding the success or failure of border walls is scant.

By its very nature, illegal immigration is next to impossible to track, making it next to impossible to ascertain accurate information regarding the frequency and volume of border crossings by land, air, or ocean.

Other studies do indicate some reduction in the flow of annual migration attributable to border walls. Likewise, researchers can estimate, with confidence, that walls increase the wages of low-skill US workers, albeit at nominal levels.

For that reason, it’s essential to look beyond the use of physical walls or barriers when discussing illegal immigration.

Border Security Requires Multidimensional Solutions

Empirical, or observable, data and studies suggest physical barriers alone cannot solve problems associated with undocumented immigration. For example, border walls can’t address issues related to undocumented immigrants who already crossed the border.

Recent data compiled by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reveals that most illegal immigrants entered the country legally and overstayed their visas. They didn’t hop across unsecured borders.

Likewise, border security doesn’t resolve problems resulting from backlogged immigration courts. President Trump increased the number of immigration judges and directed their attention to significant cases. However, the crushing caseloads continue to plague the courts, and wait times for court hearings have spiked due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For these reasons, a border wall is just one part of the equation when solving illegal immigration issues. Proper border security requires both physical and non-physical barriers, like policy reform (i.e., executive orders) and legislative action.

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