The building of a wall between Mexico and the United States was meant primarily to prevent illegal immigration. Over the years, the government of the United States has grappled with problems arising from the porous southern border. Eventually, the government resolved to build a wall and entrench this development into the country’s laws through the Secure Fence Act of 2006. The debate has been rife concerning the building of the Great Wall of America.
There are those people who feel that the wall is necessary for the war against illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Others consider the wall a mere hoodwink against the serious issues surrounding illegal immigration.
The effects of the wall on the environment and the ecosystem are also referenced in the argument against the Great Wall of America. The debate on the border wall also attracts a lot of uninformed claims and arguments. This essay provides an informed argument against the erection of the wall between Mexico and the United States.
First, the resources that were employed in building the border fence could have been redirected towards other security measures. Records indicate that the cost of complying with the Secure Border Act was in excess of four billion dollars. Previously, the entire budget of the United States Border Patrol was under three and a half billion dollars (Ganster and Lorey 32). It is hinted that the government halted the expansion of the wall in 2010 due to cost concerns.
Instead of enacting the expensive wall, the government should have invested in other border security additions such as hiring more personnel and buying high-tech sensor systems. While walls might be appropriate in stopping illegal crossings in some areas, they are not the ultimate solution to illegal immigration.
If the four billion dollars used to erect the wall were invested in border personnel and upgrade of technology, it would have achieved good results. However, this strategy would also have alleviated the social and environmental concerns arising from the wall.
Prior to the wall, there were already other functional measures against drug trafficking and illegal immigration. The National Guard could have easily defended the southern border as it is already well equipped to perform this task.
Furthermore, the costs that would be incurred by the National Guard are significantly lower than the cost of building and maintaining the wall. The National Guard is well trained to defend the American borders against all forms of intrusion. In addition, this unit required no improvements before having been deployed to the southern border.
The effects of the wall on human welfare are appalling. After the wall was enacted, would-be illegal immigrants were forced to turn their attention to other inhospitable crossing points. Therefore, the institution of the wall ends up being a threat to human welfare, just like drug or human trafficking.
The residents and landowners of the border region have expressed their dissatisfaction with the erection of the fence. For instance, landowners along the Hidalgo border point in Texas refused to give up their land voluntarily for fence-building purposes in 2007 (Fox 15). Their actions were a protest against the inhumane nature of the fence. The residents also noted that the government ignored other pertinent human-related problems when erecting the fence.
The Great Wall of America largely ignores the mutual dependency between America and Mexico. Building the wall gives the impression that the two countries have no need for each other. In addition, the cultural connections between Americans and Mexicans are ignored largely by the world. The southern border point is a hub of cultural and political exchange. For instance, some cultural experts have argued that “to know Los Angeles one has to have an understanding of Mexico first” (Andreas and Snyder 59).
Furthermore, it is important to note that most of the border residents consider parts of both countries their home as they have personal connections with both sides of the border. Sociologists have fronted the argument that borders act more as membranes as opposed to being demarcation lines. Therefore, the wall has severed this membrane and stopped the cultural flow that had existed before. The only thing the foundation of the wall has achieved is to disfranchise lives and scar landscapes within the border.
The wall has negative impacts on the environment and the ecosystems of both Mexico and the United States. The strongest evidence against the wall’s environmental destruction is the fact that the Department of Homeland Security evidently overlooked more than thirty environmental-laws when building the wall.
The authorities cited the various environmental restrictions as some of the factors that were delaying the completion of the wall (Dear 79). However, all these environmental and cultural laws had been put in place to prevent degradation. The wall has also received a lot of criticism for upsetting the ecosystem of Rio Grande as well as contributing towards the extinction of endangered species.
There are very few justifications for building the wall as compared to the various detrimental effects of its erection. The wall has negatively affected the cultural exchange between the two countries. Furthermore, the economic and environmental costs of building the wall cannot be recouped.
Andreas, P., and Timothy S. The Wall Around The West: State Borders And Immigration Controls in North America and Europe, New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. Print.
Dear, M. Why Walls Won’t Work: Repairing the US-Mexico Divide, Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.
Fox, C. F. The fence and the river: Culture and politics at the US-Mexico border, New York, NY: Routlege, 2009. Print.
Ganster, P., and David L. Borders And Border Politics In A Globalizing World, New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006. Print.