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  • Brian Lonergan

Without a Wall, Border Security Cannot Be Achieved


After President Trump and Democrats in Congress fought over a border wall in the longest government shutdown in history, the result was a deal that gave little satisfaction to the supporters of either side. In the view of Trump’s base, the $1.375 billion allotted for wall construction is woefully inadequate. The anti-borders movement views Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the border, so he can build the wall himself, as nothing short of yet another allegedly impeachable offense.

Amid the furor, both sides claim to be in favor of border security. But that doesn’t stop the anti-borders movement from insisting that “walls don’t work” and that a wall is nothing more than a “vanity project” for Trump. So who is right? Is it possible to be for border security and against a border wall?

In a word, no.

Simply put, there is no effective security at the border without a robust physical barrier in place. There’s a simple reason for that: a wall would keep illegal aliens seeking to enter the United States in Mexico, where their quest to break our immigration laws would end before it began.

To insist that drones and sensors can achieve the same result is laughable. Even the most sophisticated monitoring technology allows illegal aliens to cross the border. If they successfully evade law enforcement, they can melt into American society and will likely head for the nearest sanctuary community to avoid accountability. If they are apprehended by immigration enforcement agents, they have most likely been coached by human traffickers and anti-borders groups to say the “magic words” that trigger an asylum claim.

If they have young children in tow, border jumpers’ prospects for staying in the United States grow significantly. Thanks to our loophole-riddled immigration laws, those who manage to get across the border can then benefit from a series of protocols that make a quick deportation highly unlikely. In light of all this, it is pure common sense that the preferred option would be to keep these aliens on the other side of the border and avoid the legal quagmire that results from unauthorized entry. A wall is a vital component of this option.

One of the lamest components of the “walls don’t work” argument is that an uninterrupted wall from San Diego to Brownsville is impractical. But Trump has never said that his goal is an uninterrupted wall across the roughly 2,000 miles of border. Thanks to the presence of natural geographic barriers and existing fencing, the gaps are roughly half the length of the total border. With those gaps filled, our Border Patrol professionals can concentrate their manpower and equipment on the ports of entry and other key points.

In short, the wall is not a vanity project or an act of pandering to Trump’s political base. It is common sense border enforcement. Without physical barriers in the equation, the border will remain vulnerable to illegal passage and America’s sovereignty will remain compromised.

The real takeaway from the recent border wall fight is how it exposed the duplicity of those who so vigorously oppose the wall. Claims by Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and their allies that “I support border security but oppose the wall” are nonsensical. If politicians oppose a physical barrier at the border, then their claims to support border security are only thin cover for their real agenda: a virtually never-ending flow into the United States of low-skilled foreign nationals who can be manipulated for electoral advantage and used to drive down U.S. wages.

That agenda cannot be allowed to win. Amid a tsunami of anti-borders propaganda in the media, the fact remains that a real physical barrier is an indispensable component of any border security plan. Those who truly support it deserve your support.

Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.

Also published at: Brian Lonergan, Without a Wall, Border Security Cannot Be Achieved, American Border, March 25, 2019.


IRLI is a supporting organization of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

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