Illegal immigration into the United States of America is a rampant problem that the government spends millions of dollars to stamp out.
This paper discusses the issue about illegal immigration into the United States of America along the Mexican-USA border, the issue affecting the security at the border, what the governments of both the USA and Mexico are doing about the problem, the emerging issues, legal challenges, humanitarian crisis, the attitude of the residents from both countries as well as the cost of maintaining the border security compared to the indirect costs associated with insecurity and the implications for the security and economy of both countries.
Specifically, illegal immigration from Mexico has currently formed the basis of debate to proponents of tougher illegal immigration laws to prevent illegal immigrants from Mexico and opponents of such plans. Mexico and the United States of America share a common border stretching for over 700 miles. Until the 9/11 terrorists attack the United States of America was not as committed to sealing the border as it is in the post 9/11 era.
Proponents of tougher illegal immigration laws especially targeting the porous United States of America-Mexico border argue that the border posses a significant threat to the United States of America's homeland security. Proponents of tougher immigration laws also argue that Mexico does not have in place proper security measures to deal with border control something, which makes the United States of America vulnerable to terrorist, attacks on American soil.
They argue that the fact that the police in Mexico have been blamed for corruption, inefficiency, and involvement in sabotage and criminal-like offences is a clear indication that keeping the borders open and relying on the Mexican police to vet immigrants into the United States of America is equivalent to courting disaster.
Proponents of tough immigration laws targeting Mexico cite rampant official corruption as responsible for the problem that illegal immigrants from Mexico have become to the United States of America. Opponents also argue that there is lack of clear intention from the Mexican government to deal with issues of illegal immigration especially in regard to issues raised by the United States of America government.
This lack of commitment by the Mexican government to deal decisively with the problem of illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States of America has caused proponents of tougher immigration laws to argue that since the Mexican governing authorities are not willing to address once and for all the problem of illegal immigration, the back rests with the Untied States of America congress to pass tough laws to deal with the problem of illegal immigration. This has led to the Bush administration to authorize comprehensive immigration reforms to deal with border security.
Apart from legislations, the Bush administration has significantly increased funding for border security to the tune of 10 million dollars in 2007 a significant improvement from the 2001 border security funding of about 4 million dollars . The Bush administration has since 9/11 terrorist attack viewed border security as a priority in tackling the immigration problem. For instance, there has been an emphasis on border patrol by increasing officers serving in border patrol to about 12,000 a clear indication that the Bush policy on illegal immigration is keen on responding to the threat of having a porous border .
In response to Bush’s policy on immigration, reforms have also targeted strengthening of border patrol through the use of National Guard officers to supplement the efforts of border patrol officers. As a result, enormous human resources and capital has been redirected to curbing illegal immigration . The reforms have also been aimed at improving border surveillance through the use of technology, installing systems which can detect illegal immigrants such as satellites, aerial vehicles, as well as cameras.
This has yielded into a sharp increase on the number of illegal immigrants arrested at the border . The Secure Fence Act is an important indicator of President Bush’s policy on border insecurity and particularly concerning the United States of America-Mexican border. Signed into law in 2006, the Secure Fence Act made it possible for the border fence to be erected in additional areas as well as the increased deployment of personnel to man the border .
Another key reform associated with the Bush administration is the enforcement of tough visa application rules for all immigrants entering into the United States of America not only from Mexico but also from all over the world. The Bush administration policies on immigration had sought to address the problem of documentation fraud which was found to be ineffective in controlling illegal immigration to the United States of America as well as illegal stay and working in the United States of America.
The Bush administration advocated for creation of friendly work programs so as to deal with the problem of illegal immigration specifically for Mexico, especially on realization that the amount of taxpayer’s money being spent to prevent illegal immigration through installation of security infrastructure, border checks, increase of border patrol agents as well as the creation of physical barriers is quite expensive .
The Bush administration has come to the realization that there are alternatives to the problem of illegal immigration other than using homeland security intervention measures such as the ones mentioned above. In that line, President Bush has on numerous occasions visited Mexico or even invited the Mexican president to Washington to discuss the United States of America-Mexican border illegal immigration issue.
Other measures by the Bush administration aimed at solving the problem of illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States have included media campaigns, diplomatic efforts, community initiatives involving the communities living along the border as long as the United States of America sponsoring or funding social programs aimed at improving the livelihoods of Mexicans so as to make them comfortable at home, access basic needs and if possible acquire dignified employment back at home.
While one can be quick to judge harshly the proponents of construction of a border fence aimed at keeping at bay illegal immigrants from Mexico, a close look clearly demonstrates that not all issues raised in support of the tight and tough laws on illegal immigration and the border security specifically are baseless indeed there is a real thereat from . There is a need for a more balanced presentation of facts on basis of the following facts.
The senate is not clearly united on the issue of border insecurity as demonstrated by divergent views witnessed whenever the debate about the Mexican border is raised in the senate. For example, there are legislators in the government side have been opposed to the tightening of border security between United States of America and Mexico. The debate has also attracted mayors especially in regard to the opinions of Mayor of Calexico, Mr. Alex Perrone who is clearly opposed to the construction of fences along the border.
Mr. Alex Perrone’s opinion is, “We should be in the construction of bridges of a good relationship with Mexico” Opponents argue that, fencing the border may not actually hold the key to improving homeland security in the United States of America “the number of unauthorized immigrants to the united states remained more or less steady from 1996 to 2005… As many as one-third of those million people did not walk across the border illegally…”
- Brent Ashabranner. Our Beckoning Borders: Illegal Immigration to America. New York: Cobblehill Books, 1996.
- George J. Borjas. Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy.
- Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999. Hendricks’s, T. Border Security or bondage? : A plan for 700 miles of Mexican-USA border wall heads for senate. Its future is not assured. San Francisco chronicle; Sunday February 26, 2006: