Democrats and some Republicans have been critical of President Trump’s plan to build the wall bordering our country and Mexico.
But city officials in Yuma, Arizona, say the wall that has gone up in their area has had an immense effect on border crossings in the area, according to The Washington Examiner. Because of the border fence, illegal crossings plummeted by 94 percent.
When speaking to Congress about the need for a wall, Committee Chairman Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), stated: “The purpose of these additional border barriers is to gain control over the southwest border.”
He then quoted from Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly testimony in January, “The number one threat to the nation is that we do not have control of our borders. Without control, every other kind of threat – drugs, illegal migrants, counterfeit manufactured goods, and pharmaceuticals, diseases, terrorists, and the list goes on – can enter at will, and does.”
Ronald S Colburn, former deputy chief of the Border Patrol pointed to Yuma, Arizona as proof of concept for the wall. “By 2008, Yuma Sector arrests of illicit border crossers and traffickers had dwindled from over 138,000 down to 8,363,” Colburn said. “The known attempts to enter and the got-aways dwindled to an equally minimal number compared to the hundreds of thousands that entered and evaded arrest in previous years.”
The got-aways Colburn referred to are when drug dealers and smugglers load up a variety of vehicles with people and contraband, such as drugs, and drive across the border wherever they can. Once across, they hide in urban cities amongst other cars or in prearranged safe houses.
Yuma Border Patrol agents recorded at least 2,706 so called “drive-throughs” in a single year that they’re aware of and were only able to capture 13. Once the wall went up, however, that number dropped to a mere six with every one of them caught.
David Aguilar, former Border Patrol Chief and acting commissioner of US Customs & Border Protection, acknowledges there are some obstacles that must be dealt with before the wall can be fully built. Among the issues are a number of endangered and threatened plant and animals species along the border. Arizona has 85 percent of its land on the border set aside as federal wilderness protection areas. The Texas border is largely privately owned, requiring heavy financial compensation to build there. And the Tohono O’odham Native American tribe lives on 75 miles worth of border land in Arizona and Mexico.
Despite the obstacles, Aguilar maintains that a wall would actually go a long way to solving many of these issues. Because of the heavy flow of illegal crossings either on foot or by vehicles, it’s very destructive to the environment. Areas that have halted the flow have been able to thrive and grow since. Private land owners have seen a number of issues from illegal crossings and the Tohono O’odham nation opposes the inflow of drugs on their lands.
Border Patrol and customs authorities have consistently extolled the virtues of a physical border wall in thwarting illegal entry into our country. Do the new data numbers support their claims?
Though there are political obstacles both locally in the Southwest and on the hill in Washington, Trump’s proposed border wall would be effective at protecting our country from the influx of illegal criminals and drugs.
Yuma alone is proof that it works and has prevented what is likely hundreds of pounds of drugs and hundreds of potentially dangerous individuals from entering the country on an annual basis. If the wall is constructed across the entire border, the sheer amounts of drugs and criminals hindered from entering America would be more than worth the cost.