The Great Wall of America
The building of the border fence between the United States and Mexico was followed by fierce disputes that either supported or blamed this decision. Physical barrier seemed to be the best way to stop the stream of illegal immigrants and drugs from Mexico. At the same time, it is impossible to neglect other ways to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the border and Mexican drug dealers from selling drugs to Americans who are addicted to them. Karaim (745) states that supporters of the border wall consider it to be the first step in “securing the border”, while its opponents believe that the wall is a real waste of money. Taking into account different aspects as well as the length of the US-Mexican border, the effectiveness of the border wall is too low to adequately resist illegal immigrants and drug dealers.
Nevertheless, the border wall has had some benefits that provoked American government to continue this project. Moreover, building the Great Wall of America was not a voluntary decision; instead, it was provoked by serious problems caused by illegal immigration. Actually, illegal immigrants do not require high wages that makes them more preferable for employees who want to save money. At the same time, it is more difficult for legal immigrants to find a job on this ground. Additionally, an intense flow of cocaine and other drugs from Mexico cannot be ignored. Staudt (33) claims that “90 percent of the cocaine consumed in the United States passes through Mexico”. Border control agents are not able to cover such a large frontier territory (Schlyer 137). Thus, the border wall seems to be the only way to cease this flow or at least to decrease it. However, within several years, the Great Wall of America looks more like a symbol of the border security rather than an effective measure of prevention illegal immigration and drug smuggling.
The border wall is viewed like an illustration of American officials’ attempts to do something with Mexican illegal immigrants; however, this method is not only expensive, but also ineffective and harmful. Staudt (10) claims that the border wall “is a fortress through which unauthorized goods and people continue to pass regardless of the fence/wall”. A fence that was considered as a barrier from illegal immigrants looking for a better life in the United States only urges them to walk round the fence through more dangerous territories or climb it. As a result, it leads to numerous deaths among illegal immigrants near the border wall. For instance, the number of deaths rose to 472 in 2005, while usually there were 200 per year deaths in the early 1990s (Karaim 753). Finally, the Great Wall is also harmful for the environment and animals. Schlyer (142) argues that the border wall cuts off animal migration paths and destroys thousands of sensitive habitat areas along the borderlands. Animals are not able to cross the border and reach the places of drinking water and other needed areas. Because of ineffectiveness of the border wall and damage it causes, there is an urgent need to find new ways to resolve the problem.
Actually, nowadays, a physical barrier cannot really prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the border, and of course, it cannot stop drug smugglers and terrorists instead encouraging them to seek other measures. It could be effective in the Middle Ages, but not in the twenty first century. Karaim (749) argues that government can build a 14-foot fence, but there would be always a smuggler or immigrant with a 15-foot ladder. Obviously, in order to solve the problem of the uncontrolled flow of illegal immigrants, the government should analyze the reason why they go to the USA. Certainly, the US government cannot solve unemployment problems in Mexico. However, government should rather make it harder to find a job illegally and prosecute employees who hire illegal immigrants. One should realize that neglecting the immigration and labor laws in favor of illegal Mexican immigrants would be harmful for those immigrants from Mexico and other countries who want to work and live legally in the United States. The US Drug Enforcement Administration should struggle fiercely against Mexican drug cartels rather than rely on a fence hoping that it will do their job instead of them.
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All in all, the Great Wall of America has too many disadvantages both Mexico and the United States, and its advantages are minimal for such a global problem. Obviously, this problem cannot be solved solely by the American government; Mexican officials also should be concerned with addressing the issue as soon as possible, because Mexico became a transitional area for smugglers and illegal immigrants from Latin America. No fences could stop the stream of immigrants and drugs from Mexico; it is possible to do it only through the cooperation between American and Mexican governments. Additionally, people should be encouraged to find a job legally, and it is impossible with the current migration policies. Also, taking into account the damages to nature and environment, the border wall cannot be viewed as a proper solution. At the same time, its advantages cannot illustrate the effectiveness of the fence as the number of possible immigrants from Mexico does not decrease.