Border Enforcement Essay, Research Paper
There have been many recent debates about the costs of illegal immigration and the effects on American life. Illegal immigration, to the United States creates a large burden on our economic society, but no one knows how to eliminate this problem. President Clinton, in his presidential campaign, was asked what he was going to do about illegal immigration, Clinton replied by saying If you have an answer you can be my foreign policy adviser (Long 61). Even politicians, known for their false promises, do not know how to handle this complex problem. The border between the United States and Mexico seems to be the most troublesome spot of illegal entry, seeing that the border stretches approximately 2,000 miles, touching several states. It is understandable that the border in its entirety cannot be patrolled twenty four hours a day, but the United States along with Mexico should try to slow the flow of migration. The Mexican government has refused time and time again, to strengthen its borders, the government basically pushes for immigration to the United States, seeing it then alleviates the dead weight. President Salinas states I am for the free movement of labor (Long 51). If Mexico s president is in favor of his citizens crossing the border for better jobs, how can there be an effective border patrol? In 1994 ten percent of Mexico s population lived in the United States and has been increasing ever since (Long 52). Is it the individual states job to support citizens of another country that are living here illegally? Every year 100,000 to 600,000 Mexican citizens evade capture and reside in the United States and 1.2 million immigrants are captured each year. Even though many are captured, the problem with this is that these would be immigrants are simply dropped off at the border, and they try again. The chances of them trying to enter and being successful are fairly high. The border patrol cannot incarcerate all of the Mexicans, but there should be more of an effort to deport them back to their home origins. The United States must look at the conditions that many are living in Mexico. Many families, if they can afford this, construct their own home out of old cinder blocks, scrap metal, and wood. To install basic utilities they must promise the PRI (Industrial Revolution Party) to vote in favor of them in the next election. Next, they must pay off protection money to the caciques (meaning bosses) to ensure that these basic utilities arrive. In the months of May to October the aguas negras, or black waters, of Lake Texcoco begin to flow into the city of Neza. This lake serves as Mexico s sewage facility, and when it overflows it contaminates the supply of water, and in the dry months winds churn fecal dust storms. These cities, with streets filled with mud and trash, are like that of third world countries. Jobs are scare in the country of Mexico. The government claims that the unemployed rate is between four and five percent, but according to their standard, a street beggar has a job(Long 52). Analysts estimate that forty percent of the population is unemployed. Those that are employed make less in a day, than the minimum wage for an hours worth of work in the United States. Due to the horrid conditions that plague Mexico, people are willing to take life threatening risks in order to cross the border, which they refer to as el otro lado or the other side (Long 60). Last August, seven decomposed bodies were found in the California desert. Five men, one woman and a teenage boy were found lying partially dressed, face down, in the hot desert sand. The aliens were left by smugglers in the Southern California desert, where temperatures can reach 120 degrees. (Hammer 29). At least one hundred and ninety aliens have died this year along the border of Mexico, one of the causes of the deaths is the Border Patrols Operation Gatekeeper. This operation has tripled the number of border agents along the most popular spots of entry and forcing illegals to enter through less patrolled areas, such as the desert. Drowning is the main cause of death, between 110 and 150 lives are taken each year. The United States should consider the costs of human lives when setting up the border patrols. Border enforcement in the popular areas cause aliens to take additional risks to avoid being caught by traveling to less protected areas that are more dangerous. The INS has acknowledged the problem with a TV ad campaign. They show pictures of aliens who did not complete the journey along with the message No pase! No muera! (Don t cross; don t die). Unlike the United States, many Mexicans do not watch as much TV as the average American citizen does, the ad does not do much to deter crossing. (Clarke 34) Also, efforts are being made to replace old visas with high tech visas using digital fingerprint called laser visas. Many of the older cards were issued at a very young age, and allow illegal aliens to cross with the visa by borrowing someone else s. The new visas charge a forty five dollar processing fee, which may deter many Mexicans from obtaining one, simply because they do not have the money. (Dillon 6)
A debate has stirred in California over who is responsible for the burden of illegal immigrants, the state or the federal government. In 1994, Governor Pete Wilson, of California, announced his plans to file suit against the government for its failure to patrol our nation s borders (Long 95). Governor Wilson believes that it is not the fault of the alien coming across, it is that of the United States government. We accept 1.8 million immigrants each year, and thousands come here illegally everyday. In Los Angeles there are approximately one million illegal immigrants residing there alone. The United States is worried about overflowing of prisons, when in fact fourteen percent of California s illegal immigrant population resides in jail. California residents also spend 1.7 billion dollars each year to educate illegal aliens. In total, taxpayers are to pay 3 billion dollars overall to maintain the lives of illegal immigrants, which is almost ten percent of the states budget. (Long 97) The United States basically rewards illegal immigrants. They are giving emergency medical care, their children are educated, and some eventually receive welfare. If the United States continues to allow this, no immigrant, illegal or not, would pass up the chance to relocate to America. Governor Wilson believes that it is the burden of the federal government to pay for the expenses drained by illegal immigrants. The federal mandates should be repealed that require states to pay for the services of illegal immigrants. President Clinton acknowledged the burden placed on the states: the states of California, Texas, and Florida have had to bear a huge portion of the costs for the failure of federal policy (Long 99). If the federal government where to realize what it took to maintain the services for illegal aliens, then maybe they would find a better way to deter illegal immigration. Due to Governor Pete Wilson s attack on the federal policy Congress will provide the states with 3.5 billion dollars over a five year period to help with the medical care of illegal immigrants. Total border control is a dream that will never be filled. We cannot patrol every square inch of the border at all times, but we can try working with Mexico to alleviate some of the illegal entry. First, Mexico cannot support the illegal immigration to the United States, if this were to occur, maybe there would be a tighter border control on the Mexican part. It is hard for me to say what the United States should do in order to fix this problem. Due to this complex problem, it might take years to figure out a solution, but what the federal government should do is take the burden off of the states. The government should pay for all of the expenses that come with the wave of illegal immigration. If the United States were to do this, illegal immigration would not be such a burden to the states, allowing them to focus solely on the legal residents of their state. The problem of immigration will be around for many years, but the Unites States should concentrate more on keeping the aliens in Mexico with better jobs than stepping up border enforcement. That is not to say we should mainly focus on the problems within Mexico, but they are our neighbors and we have to see that the country is stable. If we could do this, then maybe we will eliminate some of the problems associated with illegal immigration. Work CitedClarke, Kevin. People are Dying Coming to America. U.S. Catholic Mar. 1998: 34.Dillon, Sam. In Mexico and the U.S., New Visas Produce tress. The New York Times 5 Apr. 1998: 6Eschbach, Karl et al. Death at the Border. The Center for Immigration Research. downloaded from Netscape. http://www.firenza.uh.edu/Centers.htmld/CIR.htmld/usmex .HTM 9 November 1998.Hammer, Joshua. Death in the Desert Heat. Newsweek 24 August 1998: 29+Langewiesche, William. Invisible Men. The New Yorker 23 Feb. 1998: 138-146.Long, Robert Emmet. ed. The Reference Shelf: Immigration Volume 68 Number 1. New York 1996United States. United States General Accounting Office. Illegal Immigration, Southwest Border Strategy Resluts Inconclusive; Moer Evalutation Needed. December 1997.United States. United States General Accounting Office. Immigration Control, Immigration Policies Affect INS Detention Efforts. June 1992.United States. United States General Accounting Office. Border Patrol: Staffing and Enforcement Activities. March 1996.