Politics

Should the US build a wall along the southern border?

Should the US build a wall along the southern border?
WRITTEN BY
03/11/20
vs

Hasset (Yes)

This year, about 926,769 migrants [1] have either been arrested or deemed inadmissible at the border. The Trump Administration’s 2019 budget [2] includes almost $4 billion to fund expansion of ICE and detention facilities. 

This isn’t as high as the estimated cost of a border wall, but $3-4 billion per year will surely add up over time. This will also fund the dehumanizing conditions in which many immigrants are detained. Facilities have passed each safety inspection [3] conducted since 2012, including facilities where detainees have died. 

A report from the Office of Inspector General within the Department of Homeland Security [4] revealed unsafe conditions in detention centers due to violations of federal standards. Through the years, there have been several allegations of medical neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and exploitation of labor within these facilities. In 2015, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations’ Detention and Reporting Line received more than 48,000 grievances [5] about restricting access to legal representation on behalf of detainees. 

Horrific treatment within overcrowded detention centers is endless and costly for taxpayers. Building a wall is the first step in transitioning to a much more humane method of reducing illegal immigration through the border. A wall would allow more patrol staff to be specifically designated ports of entry, rather than being spread out across the entire border. This would allow a more efficient method of letting in those seeking freedom and safety, while also ceasing drug cartels and human smugglers. 


Eddy (No)

Building a wall along the entire Southern U.S. border would be an economic and humanitarian disaster. Not only would it cost over $50 billion to create, over $20 million per mile, but it simply wouldn’t work: most illegal immigrants do not travel through the Southern border, they overstay visas or travel through the Northern border. Most drug trafficking happens through ports of entry, which a wall wouldn’t stop. Human smuggling is becoming rampant as resources once devoted to high-level informants have been shifted towards low-level enforcement, and the vast majority of human trafficking - which is distinct from human smuggling - is mostly a domestic issue, with U.S. citizens being moved elsewhere in the U.S.. 

Critics of the wall have often pointed to the fact that it would utterly fail in its stated purpose: it won’t reduce migration, it won’t reduce smuggling, it won’t reduce trafficking, it won’t save money. Ironically, the thing it does best is augment illegal immigration: as resources are shifted away from immigration courts and viable paths to citizenship or asylum are closed off, migrants often are left with no options other than to resort to coyotes (people smugglers). This all utterly betrays the fact that immigrants are not something

to reduce: they have lower violent crime rates than natural-born citizens, receive fewer social services, and create more jobs. The majority of immigrants arriving from Central and South America are “blowback” from the interventionist policies of the U.S., and should be treated as such rather than as pests to manage.

Fact Box

  • A wall along the border with Mexico will likely cost about $59.8 billion to construct [1].
  • Only 1/3rd of undocumented migrants arrived through the southern border, the majority overstay legitimate visas [2].
  • According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2018 Trafficking in Persons report, around 80% of human trafficking victims in the U.S. were domestic (trafficked from the U.S. to elsewhere in the U.S.) [3].
  • Human smuggling cases in the U.S. have declined - this is not becaU.S.e fewer people are being smuggled, but becaU.S.e resources have shifted away from smuggling rings and towards low-level enforcement [4].
  • Most drug trafficking happens through existing ports of entry [5].
  • Illegal migration through the Northern border with Canada has been doubling every year [6].
  • The U.S. accepts fewer and fewer legal asylum seekers every year [7]. 
  • Immigrants have lower crime rates than natural-born citizens, U.S.e fewer social services, and create more jobs [8].
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