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OPINION EDITORIAL: The Immigration Crisis

Lexington SC (Joshua Strickland) - It seems to me that immigration seems only to be an important issue to progressives and conservatives alike when there is a caravan on its way or when the yearly budget is proposed including funding for a border wall with Mexico. Otherwise, this fundamental issue of politics is simply overlooked in favor of whatever topic the Twitter world decides to argue with each other about that day. It is truly unfortunate that this is the case since immigrants are coming into the country all of the time, not just when you see it on the news. There are currently over 12 million illegal immigrants living in the country, which makes up over 3 percent of the total population. From 2000 to 2007, the illegal immigrant population increased by an average of 470,000 per year. If you still think that this is no problem, it might help to know that illegal immigrants cost our economy between $54 billion and $200 billion every year. This number is so hard to estimate because of the ambiguity of both the true population number as well as the unknown amount in taxes that illegals pay into the system. With all of these facts being presented, it is tough to argue that immigration is a sensationalized and dramatized problem. It is a real problem that affects Americans in real ways.

The main problem is that the Mexican border is largely unsecured, which allows immigrants to easily cross the border into America without being apprehended and taken to an ICE facility to be processed by government officials. Only one third of the border with Mexico has any type of wall or fence, which makes up about 654 miles. However, 354 of those miles are made up of pedestrian fencing, while the rest is simply anti-vehicle fencing, which is simply designed to stop vehicles from passing. This anti-vehicle fencing is very easy for any person to get through on foot. The Government Accountability Office even stated that the vehicle fencing is not designed to prevent illegal immigrants or illegal contraband from crossing the border. This is a blatant admission that government officials do not truly care about the security of the border. The largest stretch of completely unrestricted border in Texas alone is over 600 miles. With such a great portion of our border being unsecured, we essentially have no idea who is coming into the country and what they are bringing with them. The most effective way to fix this problem of not knowing what enters the country would be constructing a wall, which would subsequently funnel traffic into the ports of entry. The reason that this would be so effective is because over 90 percent of drug seizures in 2016 happened at ports of entry.

Many people when presented with the idea of building a wall along the southern border simply claim that instead we should just increase the personnel and technology that defends the border. This notion ignores the fact that we could simply do both of these things at the same time. We could construct a border wall in order to funnel more people to ports of entry, and also increase the monitoring technology and manpower at the border. Doing this would greatly reduce the number of illegal border crossings, and this would also lead to the apprehension of more drug and human traffickers that, as it is today, can easily cross the border undetected.

Opponents may say that a border wall would be a waste of money since people would simply find other ways, but in Israel, after construction of a wall, terrorists attacks almost immediately dropped by over 90 percent. This clearly shows a case where a wall did quite a good job of protecting the citizens within it.

The United States should certainly construct a wall along the southern border with a very large (theoretical) door on it to allow legal immigrants to come into our country and contribute just as they do now.


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