..Because of tightening restrictions at the border, the role of the coyote has gotten much more complicated, and for immigrants, the process has become fraught with danger. Numerous immigrants die trying to cross the desert each year, and while some are found, providing closure for their families, others are simply never heard from again. Immigrants have also died while trapped in trucks and shipping containers, and some have drowned while trying to swim the Rio Grande, while others have been shot by border patrol or vigilante groups. (Smith).
While it may be an undeniable that illegal immigrants are creating a major drain on U.S. resources, it seems equally undeniable that someone should not die trying to pursue the American dream.
Building a border wall is also prohibitively expensive. The cost for the border wall is estimated at $3 million per mile, which is $568.18 per foot. (Meyers). Not only is this a ridiculous amount of money to spend on an ineffective border device, but it may actually be a low estimate. For example, in Israel, the border along the West Bank has cost about $3.67 million per mile, and their labor costs are much lower than U.S. labor costs. (Meyers). Therefore, the total proposed border fence could cost upwards of $49 billion dollars; money that is desperately needed elsewhere in today's troubled economy.
Furthermore, the expensive proposed fence is destined to be ineffective. Even the proposed construction does not suggest a wall completely barricading the United States from Mexico. Instead, the wall is being built in areas that are considered a high risk for illegal immigration. "Along the border, preliminary plans for fencing seem to target landowners of modest means and cities and public institutions such as the University of Texas at Brownsville, which rely on the federal government to pay their bills." (Del Bosque). This literally leaves gaps between the wall, where illegal immigrants...
While border patrol agents may be able to watch the small gaps in the wall, where the privileged retain their property rights and unobstructed views, the fact is that border patrol agents will not be able to monitor all of the gaps. Instead of curbing illegal immigration, the wall will just encourage illegal immigrants to resort to more dangerous methods of border crossing.
In 1987, Ronald Reagan made a famous speech in which he extorted Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall separating East Germany from West Germany. (Reagan). In his speech, he spoke of the people of the West, with the voice of an American. Reagan said that Westerners wanted to "promote true openness, to break down barriers that separate people, to create a safe, freer world." (Reagan, 1987). It is heartbreaking to imagine that in 20 years America has been transformed from a country that convinces other countries to break down their walls to a country that erects walls. The human cost and economic costs of building the border wall are prohibitive and the wall is likely to be ineffective. However, the most salient reason to cease all construction on the border wall is that the idea of a border wall is, quite frankly, astoundingly un-American.
Del Bosque, Melissa. "Holes in the Wall." The Texas Observer. 2008. The Texas Observer. 2
Nov. 2008 http://www.texasobserver.org/article.php?aid=2688.
Meyers, Jim. "Border Wall to Cost at Least $3 Million Per Mile." FreeRepublic.com. 2006.
FreeRepublic, LLC. 2 Nov. 2008 http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1635795/posts.
Orrenius, Pia. "Illegal Immigration and Enforcement Along the U.S.-Mexico Border: An Overview." DallasFed.org. 2001. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. 2 Nov. 2008 http://www.dallasfed.org/research/efr/2001/efr0101a.pdf.
Reagan, Ronald. "Tear Down This Wall." Reaganlibrary.com. 1987. Ronald Reagan
Presidential Library Foundation. 2 Nov. 2008 http://www.reaganlibrary.com/reagan/speeches/wall.asp.
Smith, S.E. "Regarding Immigration, What is a Coyote?" WiseGeek. 2008. Conjecture
Corporation. 2 Nov. 2008 http://www.wisegeek.com/regarding-immigration-what-is-a-coyote.htm.
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