This border conflict dates back to the Mexican-American War between 1846-1848 when U.S. President James K. Polk said he believed that the U.S. had a “Manifest Destiny” to stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. According to Klein the result of the war was the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo where Mexico formally recognized “the American annexation of Texas” and sold more than one-third of its territory. More than one half million square miles was bought by the U.S, which in the future with become states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah, as well as Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Kansas. The construction of the current border began following the Mexican-American War. Nowadays the border consists of around 2,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, and connect states such as California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
The major pros in building the border wall between U.S and Mexico is reinforcing the nation’s security, avoid illegal activities, the cost of lost tax revenue and strain on government resources and the past successes of border enforcement (McFadyen 2019). Illegal immigration is costing the United States $113 billion a year in lost tax revenue according to President Trump. Also, it is causing the overburdening of social welfare, health, and education program so it is considered a strain on the government. Another pro is the success on border enforcement, Arizona is the epicenter of illegal crossings by immigrants for several years, however, in one year, authorities apprehended 8,600 people trying to enter the country in the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range. Physical barriers seem to be a good way to keep undocumented immigrants from entering the country because border patrol and DHS will have control over who and what enters the country. According to Jennifer McFadyen (2019), the number of people caught crossing San Diego’s border has dropped dramatically from 600,000 in the early 1990s to 39,000 in 2015 with the construction of a fence and increasing border patrols.
In another hand, among the cons are the environmental impact that would entail building the wall, the message that would be given to the world and the immigrants who will not measure the danger and will try to cross. The majority of environmentalists are against the construction of the wall and claim that many species would be endangered. Consequently, they plan to demonstrate that the wall would be dividing the refuge of the wildlife. Another con would be the message that is been transmitted to the world, According to McFadyen (January 2019) “A segment of the American population feels that the United States should send a message of freedom and hope to those seeking a better way of life instead of sending a ‘keep out’ message at our border”. Also, it is alleged that the border would be separating three indigenous groups. The last con would be the many immigrants that would be still risking their lives no matter what, for those, a physical barrier would not stop them from seeking a better life. Circumstances have changed as time has passed, and now the whole family has to cross the border, that includes children, infant and elderly who have to face the conditions of weather and other hazards to get to their destination. Sometimes they don’t eat or have water for days. McFadyen states that according to the Human Rights National Commission of Mexico and the American Civil Liberties Union, “almost 5,000 people have died attempting to crossing the border between 1994 and 2007.”
According to the National Immigration Forum article, there is no statute or regulation that mandates the separation of families, indicating that what President Trump is doing is wrong. However, there are existing legal limitations on holding a child in custody, such as the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement and other legal prohibitions. It is not ethical either to separate any child from their parents. I generally don’t agree with these types of actions, but I also understand that every action has a reaction and because of the flow of illegal immigrants that are getting into the country the country has to spend million dollars on immigrants since they do not contribute to the country. I do not consider that legally the United States has a total responsibility of those who want to emigrate to the country. It is totally understandable that people who are going through a difficult time in their countries want to look for a new opportunity and a better future in the U.S. But living in this country also brings responsibilities, and it is not right for people to cross borders and contribute nothing to the country.
Even though the current administration has asserted in many opportunities that illegal immigrants are more likely to commit crimes or be involved in drugs, there are academic studies that demonstrate the opposite. Michael Light, a criminologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, studied the increase of illegal immigrant over the decades and said: “Increased undocumented immigration since 1990 has not increased violent crime over that same time period.” Another study done by the libertarian Cato Institute looked for criminality among illegal immigrants just in Texas. In 2015 they concluded that illegal immigrant criminality was fewer than those of native-born Americans. Every person has the right to apply for citizenship, but that will depend on the background of the immigrant. I consider that the ones that have a criminal background and committed a major felony should not have the right to apply for citizenship. Those who are contributing to the country and are not being a burden for the country. However, a recent poll showed that the majority of voters in Texas support that ‘every undocumented immigrant should be deported immediately regardless of whether they have committed a crime here.’
Concluding, I generally agree with President Trump’s proposal about building the wall on the border with Mexico. However, it seems to me that a barrier of $ 5.7 billion is not enough to maintain control over immigrants at the country’s borders. It must be a combination of a physical barrier and stricter immigration laws that prevent people from entering the country with a visa from extending their status, or illegal immigrants crossing the borders. Together with the police corps guarding the borders, it should be enough to maintain the migratory security of the nation. If it were my decision, I would try to build a wall with a lower budget and reinforce the migratory policies. To reach an agreement with Mexico would also be contemplated, where both countries assume certain responsibilities and contribute economically to the construction of the wall. However, as mentioned above, not only do immigrants enter the border, many arrive in the country legally with a visa and surpass their stay. There should be some way to know or detect if these people have left the country or not. That would affect those who come with the intention to do tourism and return to their country, but it is necessary to preserve the safety of our citizens.