In the US, a fierce debate has been going for years concerning the issue of illegal migrants, whose number in the country has already reached according to various estimates from 10 to 20 million people. Immigrants are associated not with clean streets and mowed lawns, but with much less pleasant things: drug trafficking, arms trafficking, rapes, theft and murder. The US-Mexican border, in essence, is left unprotected. In this perspective, we believe that the building of a fence on the US-Mexico border may be effective in providing national security.
The decision to build a 700 Mile fence on the border was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005 after the 9/11 attacks. At that time the U.S. intelligence agencies explained the need for construction of the fence by the desire to close all the possibilities for a hypothetical terrorist infiltration across the southwest border.
The construction of the fence and guarded hundred-meter zone along the border certainly causes protests and opposition from various sides. Thus, the Mexican Government is not interested in restricting immigration, as their remittances home make billions of dollars a year; besides, emigration reduces unemployment in the country. Various Hispanic and human rights organizations in the United States speak about discrimination and tension forcing. Vatican called the U.S. plan to construct the fence along the border with Mexico “inhuman”¯. It should also be noted that the campaign on blocking the border generally contradicts the NAFTA agreement.
On the other side of the border, U.S. agricultural companies also show stiff opposition: according to the University of California experts, about 45% of agricultural workers in the country are illegally working foreigners. Other branches of the U.S. economy also benefit from the use of illegal labor force.
One of the weighty arguments against the fence is that it reduces the amount of migrants returning to Mexico. Many Mexican immigrants used to cross the border, work for four to six months in the U.S., and return home. Now, with all those guards, cameras, and fences it became impossible, and migrants are forced to stay in the U.S. In addition, some experts believe that the fence does not prevent people from crossing the border and does not reduce the flow of illegal migrants, but forces them to use more complex ways. As a result, each year about 160-200 people die in a hot arid desert in attempts to illegally cross the U.S. border.
The U.S. Border Patrol also complains about the constant underfunding and lack of equipment. In average there are four employees per a mile of the border, but most of them work in areas of large settlements, while the vast desert and mountain areas are poorly protected.
Environmental organizations also object believing that the fence will cause irreparable damage to cross-border ecosystems, and offer more environmentally friendly options for strengthening the border like, for example, a wall of cactus. Environmentalists claim that the fence equipped with high-tech tracking systems and powerful searchlights can divide the populations of the animals living on the border (especially jaguars and pronghorn antelope), which, in turn, will entail a genetic change. In addition, the spotlights may have a negative effect on some nocturnal species and disrupt the natural balance in general.