What does geology say about a border wall? An article from Smithsonian Magazine explores some of the complexity
Numbers USA is a group whose statement of values is focused on limiting the level of immigration, particularly illegal immigration.
If you go to their website, you’ll find a list of “Ten Steps to Fix the Broken Immigration Enforcement System”. Somewhat interesting that not one of these steps is a border wall
Politicians who push for increasing legal immigration levels will often make reference to the "Broken Immigration System". By fixing the "broken system" what they really want is to dismantle enforcement and make it easier for employers to access cheap, foreign labor. But they often ignore the real broken pieces within our immigration system that drive…
While a wall certainly gets bandied about Trump’s camp and even presented at *the* solution to fixing immigration, it isn’t quite important enough to register for this group focused on the same topic. That to some extent underscores how much the wall has become more of a symbolic than practical approach.
Moderates, conservatives & liberals working for immigration numbers that serve America's finest goals The key factor in immigration policy is choosing the right number of authorized immigrants for future years. To choose a lower number does not imply anything negative about the immigrants who already are legally in this country. We're talking about the future…
There is a battle being prepared in for the Texas Legislature about eminent domain.
If you want to cook up a battle over private property rights in Texas, here’s the recipe: Take a handful of sprawling cities and growing populations that
The issue is property owners aren’t happy about land seizures for pipelines, power lines and other infrastructure as Texas population grows. This particularly affects rural landowners.
The same issue exists at the border – and particularly if the Federal government needs to seize land for a proposed wall.
“You could give me a trillion dollars and I wouldn’t take it,” said Eloisa Cavazos, whose land sits along the Rio Grande, the river separating the U.S. and Mexico in Texas. “…
These fights can take a long time. Some 300 cases were filed in Federal courts from the border fence and a decade later, sixty or seventy are still pending in court.
We’ve seen a lot of pictures from photo ops taken when politicians visit the border, such as recent visit from Trump to McAllen.
This story gives a local perspective
The city has found itself thrust into the spotlight, especially after President Trump stopped in the city to talk about what he calls the crisis at the border.
Here is a report about a group of county sheriffs in Arizona
The sheriffs from 31 counties along the U.S.-Mexico border say the discussion over border security needed to move beyond the idea of a "wall."
they describe a wall as “a soundbite, not a cogent public policy position” and point out America needs to move past this lightning rod to actual discussion of border security. They say walls make sense in some places but a wall is not a universal solution.
Borders walls are only as good as the people who staff them. In the following story, it is unclear exactly why the gates were open on the Guatemala side of the Guatemala/Mexico border.
Around 1,000 Central American migrants marched freely through the Guatemala-Mexico border on Friday after the gates were left wide open, with Mexican authorities standing down from confronting the caravan.
However, not to hard to see given the vast expanse of the border and existing examples of corruption and the money involved that those sparsely populated stretches of border might provide new corruption opportunities.
Another recent story of a pattern that seems to be emerging. A large group of asylum seekers crossing a relatively open part of border, spotted via other means (camera) and then turning themselves into border agents.
A group of 84 men, women and children were dropped off by a tour bus on a Mexican highway before they crossed.
Some might argue that this is an example of why such remote areas might also need more walls. However, it isn’t quite so simple. As the article explains, the dynamic has changed – these aren’t individual mostly Mexican males crossing for seasonal work.
Instead this group is Central American, mostly family groups seeking to enter the asylum process. While they are crossing the border illegally, they aren’t trying too hard to evade border patrol – and instead giving themselves up for processing. Add more border wall in this particular section and other places will be used for similar efforts.
Also as the article points out, the total number of apprehensions has dramatically declined in the last decade.
Another recent story tells us since October, some 25 groups of more than 100 migrants have crossed at the remote entry point of Antelope Wells
For the second day in a row, Border Patrol agents apprehended a large number of migrants entering the country illegally at a remote port of entry.
Antelope Wells is remote enough that the small staff lives onsite for a week at a time and the crossing is only open from 10am to 4pm. Meanwhile, at the border staff is overwhelmed drug mules can also make crossings.
The President recently cited an example of San Antonio as support for a border wall.
“Everybody knows that walls work. You look at different places they put up a wall, no problem. You look at San Antonio,” Trump said. “You look at so many different places. They go from one of the most unsafe cities in the country to one of the safest cities, immediately, immediately.”
President Donald Trump referenced San Antonio and a wall Saturday morning ahead of his scheduled speech later in the afternoon to address immigration and the ongoing government shutdown.
There are a few problems here, including:
- San Antonio has no wall
- San Antonio is 150 miles from the border
- No clear even that can describe San Antonio as safest or unsafest city (even if that were true there would still be a correlation is not causation issue).
Where were the unsafest cities in Texas last year?
- Bellmead (near Waco, not border)
- South Padre Island (Spring Break destination)
- Donna (Rio Grande Valley)
- Oyster Creek (south of Houston, not border)
- Cuero (rural TX between Houston/San Antonio/Corpus Christi, not border)
- Texarkana (East Texas, not border)
- Mathis (rural near Corpus Christi, not border)
- Elsa (Rio Grande Valley)
- Lone Star (rural East Texas, not border)
- Balcones Heights (San Antonio metro, not border)
There is really no correlation with border areas and crime and McAllen, Laredo, Brownsville and El Paso all generally tout their relatively low crime rates.
When FBI data was analyzed in 2017 for the nationwide list in 2017, there were five Texas cities that made the list (Odessa, Balch Springs, Houston, Lubbock, Beamont) none of which is along the border.
Five Texas towns have been named as some of the most dangerous in the country by Neighborhood Scout, a data company, in its latest ranking.
I have seen it suggested that perhaps Trump intended to refer to El Paso as a city that went from a higher crime rate to lower – as the same example has been used in other occasions. One difficulty with that is in 2005 (a year before the Secure Fence act of 2006), El Paso was ranked as 2nd safest city over 500,000.
An article from the Washington Post tells us
- Most hard drugs the come to the US from Mexico enter via ports of entry, not open sections of the border
- The Guzman (El Chapo) trial detailed methods used including inside railroad tanker cars, trucks and even a submarine.
Also here was a story from the El Paso Times
Build a wall in sandy soil and people with shovels can burrow underneath. In this case they gave themselves up for asylum shortly after crossing.
What good is a wall if it is only temporary or for show?
Remember those images of troops stringing up razor wire just before the election? Apparently it has been taken down again in Laredo and Hildago.
As one recalls, it was a visible message of having troops at the border. These troops were deployed just a week or two before the 2018 midterms.
The towering metal fence that divides the United States and Mexico at the edge of the Pacific Ocean has an imposing new feature: row upon row of razor wire.
While it may have served public relations purposes, locals pretty quickly branded it as ineffective and dangerous in other ways.
U.S. military troops left Laredo on Monday, leaving behind a trail of concertina razor wire along the border in the event of a future migrant surge.
Not long after they had the chance, the brought it down and their congressman also sent out the note above.