Illegal Immigration is Way Down--Do We Still Need a Border Wall?

The fact that illegal entry into the U.S. is now at its lowest level in 17 years, due to stepped up border security and other factors, has a lot of people, especially in south Texas, asking do we really need that expansive border wall, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The Border Patrol this year has made about 310,000 apprehensions, and many of them immediately seek out the border patrol and surrender, claiming asylum.  The bulk are being brought into the country by smugglers, generally affiliated with the Mexican drug cartels, meaning the days of a group of people simply swimming across the Rio Grande to find work in the U.S., the type of illegal immigrant who would be most likely to be deterred by a border wall, is nearly non-existent.

But Deputy Border Patrol Commissioner Ron Vitiello says now is not the time to stop what we're doing, because it's working.

"It is good that the numbers are down," he said.  "The border is more under control that it has been in some time, but now is the time to accelerate those gains."

Opponents of the border wall, which was one of President Trump's key campaign pledges, say it would cost more than $20 billion dollars, and it is a '14th Century solution to 21st Century problems.'  They say the existence of the wall would mainly help line the pockets of the human smuggling gangs.

In fact, the Rio Grande Valley is the first place where there are plans to build the wall, and prototypes are being stress tested now in the California desert east of San Diego.

Vitiello says its interesting that the same people who frequently argue against a wall to keep illegal immigrants out of the country, and claim it is 'ineffective,' are people who live in gated subdivisions, erect fences around their own homes, and support the construction of walls for security at places where they and their families live and work.

"In this society and all of our lives, we use walls and fences to protect things," he said.  "It shouldn't be any different along the border."

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