With more than 12 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States and more than a million more coming each year, our country must act to curb the continuing flow of undocumented immigrants, especially across our southern border. Many pay no taxes yet reap the benefits of taxpayer dollars. In California alone, the estimated annual burden for providing education, health care, and incarceration for undocumented immigrants is over $10 billion. Illegal immigrants comprise more than half of the members of the notorious gangs of Los Angeles, and constitute over 20% of the inmates of California jails. Similar statistics are found in other states in the Southwest. Furthermore, illegal immigrants pose a national security threat. Each year, over 100,000 undocumented immigrants come from countries other than Mexico, and 450 of these are from countries of “special interest,” such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen. While it is clear that the vast majority of illegal immigrants, even those from countries of “special interest,” are not terrorists, it would only take a few perpetrators to cause a cataclysmic terrorist attack. Three of the September 11th hijackers were in the United States illegally. Two had previous immigration violations. Our nation simply cannot take risks with illegal immigration.
Now that we understand both the burden and the threat that illegal immigrants pose to our nation, we must tackle the difficult problem of how to cope with the vast illegal immigration problem. The nineteen hundred miles of our border with Mexico are very hard to control, especially when people are willing to risk their lives to reach this land of freedom and opportunity. Although the United States employs 11,000 border patrol agents, these agents cannot possibly control such an extreme border. To use manpower alone, we would need more than 100,000 agents, but such a force would be extremely expensive and completely impractical. Fortunately, however, we have a cheaper and more rational alternative: a border fence.
Such a fence would not solve the problem of the illegal immigration by itself, but it would surely help the situation greatly. We need only to look at Israel. After building its own border fence in the West Bank, Israel experienced a 95% reduction in terrorist attacks and a drastic reduction in the number of illegal intruders within its borders. Surely there will be illegal aliens who will successfully penetrate our fence, as they do in Israel, but the number of successful illegal border crossings would be much smaller than it is now. The cost of a state-of-the-art fence is less than $10 billion, and once it is built, the maintenance cost will be nominal. If the government tried to improve border security by hiring more agents, it would be forced to pay them year after year, and the costs of these men would greatly exceed the cost of building a fence. Furthermore, a wall can provide as many legal border-crossing points as desired, so that it would not hinder legitimate commerce, tourism, or commuting.
Support for a border fence to inhibit illegal immigration is by no means equivalent to opposing legal immigration. Since its inception, our nation has been built and developed by legal immigrants. Legal immigration is beneficial to our economy, and we should welcome the lawful ingress of people from diverse cultures, but we simply cannot allow illegal immigration. Such law-breaking does not only cause an extra burden on taxpayers, but it also insults the millions of Americans who immigrated legally to the United States. Why did they struggle to gain legal entrance to the United States? Why did they not try to smuggle themselves into our country? Unlike the illegal immigrants, they abided by the laws and regulations of the nation into which they entered so that they could rightfully reside there.
As American citizens, we face a major dilemma today. Should we continue to allow the incursion of millions of illegal aliens across our southern border, or should we take the necessary action to strain this flow? As a nation built by immigrants, we cannot and should not shut the door on lawful immigration, but we must enforce our laws and insist that those who enter our nation initiate their American experience by respecting the law of the land. Building a border fence is absolutely essential to preserve justice and promote public safety in our nation.