Building Bridges Instead of Walls: The U.S. - Mexico Border Wall
Why is it ineffective, divisive, and unnecessary for the United States?
Implementing a border wall on the U.S-Mexico border would be ineffective for stopping illegal immigrants and drugs from entering the country. There are many other ways to cross into America besides the southern border, such as:
Other legal ports of entry
By sea or airfare
Hiding in trucks passing into America
Digging tunnels underneath
If a person truly wanted to cross into America illegally, a wall would not inhibit them drastically.
Putting in a wall is extremely expensive; the Department of Homeland Security estimates the building of a border wall would cost over $21 billion dollars. The excessive spending towards a border wall would be much better utilized elsewhere, and spending this much money on a divisive wall would be economically irresponsible. Another effect of the construction is that it disrupts native land, and also native animal species that live there. Risking the extinction of animals because of damaging building habits, or ripping native people from their land is unethical, and completely unnecessary.
The Importance of Immigration
Oftentimes when looking at illegal immigrant statistics in America it may seem like a lot, but a majority of illegal immigrants are from overstaying visas that were originally obtained legally. There is a huge controversy of whether or not to let a lot of immigrants into the country for economic, safety, and political reasons, but when it comes down to it, immigration is a large backbone of society. Immigrants are often much more willing to take jobs native-born Americans will not, and make up a very large part of the workforce. Making attempts to keep immigrants out of our country further enforces the prejudiced ideas that immigrants are “less-worthy” than those born in the United States. Welcoming new people into the country, and embracing other cultures and those who wish to enter America is what we should be working towards instead of attempting to completely keep people out of the country.
Building Bridges Instead of Walls
For moral reasons, completing the border wall would be furthering racism in the United States and discrimination towards those not born in America. There is always going to be a discourse on immigration, but creating a border wall for the specific purpose of keeping people out of the country means society continues to perpetuate close-minded views about immigrants; whether legally or illegally. Building relationships, asking opinions from immigrants and native people at the border, taking polls of American citizens, and continuing to educate.
Instead of building a border wall, the United States could implement other practices that will help with border security to prevent drug trafficking or illegal immigration. The United States could implement:
Increasing funds towards Border Control Agents so they can properly function with the proper materials for the job, and employ more people to help with the task force
Provide more comprehensive training so those at the border are better equipped to handle any and all situations that may arise Extensive security systems that can be used to better monitor activity at the border
Ensure any new practices at the border are the best for America’s financial stability and overall wellness
Listen to the people in the area, Indigenous and Native voices, and Immigrant voices to learn and take their opinions into consideration.
What Can We Do?
Educating ourselves and others on issues such as these is extremely important for the progression of not only America but the world as a whole. Another thing to do would be to support organizations actively fighting against a border wall, such as the Center for Biological Diversity. Their mission states, “the Center has worked to preserve and protect the remote beauty and amazing biodiversity of our borderlands for decades.”
We've been fighting against border militarization — including the border wall — since the late 1990s, using litigation to block unlawful border policy; grassroots lobbying to stop legislation that would worsen environmental damage; and creative media and public-education campaigns to get out the truth about the real impacts of the hugely expensive, ineffective and environmentally devastating border wall.” By publicizing, donating, and just speaking about organizations like these, we are calling more attention and support towards this issue.
Research Coordinator - Kelsey
Editor - Vaishnavi Bhojane
Graphic Designer - Angeline Saleh