Immigration Reform 2013: Does the U.S. Actually Have a Border Security Problem?


Michael Hogan
Policy Mic
March 7, 2013

Current dialogue around border security assumes there is a problem to be solved. It is true that America has 11 million illegal immigrants (or is it illegal aliens?), there is drug related violence along American border cities and neighborhoods, and drugs and people are being trafficked into the country across our border with Mexico. However, there is no significant evidence associating increased violence with proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, crime rates in border states has been consistently falling in recent years, and in the past three years, border patrols have seized “74% more money, 41% more drugs, and 159% more weapons.” So do we have a border security problem? Currently, advocates in favor of increased border controls have failed to demonstrate current security is insufficient.

Is there a problem because there is border violence at all, because drugs are still finding their way across our border, because people are still managing to stay in this country illegally? Or should we be satisfied with the progress that has been made, with having reduced any impact of the border to no statistical significance? Neither alternative is unreasonable, but both need clarification. Border security, as currently discussed, is rather amorphous.

The United States has proven very capable in handling border security. “The net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped and may have reversed,” according to a Pew study. On top of that, the grave concern over border violence seems largely unfounded considering how low border city crime rates are in comparison to the rest of their states. Furthermore, the rise of Mexican drug cartels has been attributed to the successful frustration and destruction of Colombian drug cartels, along with the Coast Guard’s success in preventing cross-Gulf smuggling.

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