WSJ: “The Wall” In Maps & Pictures

Stephanie Stamm, Renée Rigdon, and Dudley Althaus put together this outstanding illustrated article about the border wall, giving you a real life picture of what’s there now and where the most entries occur:

“President Donald Trump has promised to build a wall along the 2,000-mile U.S. border with Mexico, a project that would total $21 billion, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security estimate. Only about 650 miles of the border have some sort of fencing today, and adding to that is complicated by geography, politics, land-ownership issues and funding.
Here’s a breakdown of which Southwest border-patrol sectors have the most apprehensions—defined as an arrest of removable aliens—versus the most or least amount of fencing. It is important to note that border security is defined by more than fencing. According to Homeland Security, manpower, communication, lights and technology all aid physical barriers.

. . . .

This stretch of the border is where most migrants—including large numbers of Central Americans and other non-Mexicans—have been crossing. In many cases, people are turning themselves over to Border Patrol agents.”


The last sentence of the above quote is worthy of some consideration. Contrary to popular notions that folks are trying to evade detection and “lose” themselves in the U.S. many, perhaps the majority, of the individuals fleeing the “Northern Triangle” of Central America turn themselves in to the Border Portal or at ports of entry and seek asylum.

I think that it is unlikely that increased detention, summary proceedings, and sophomoric warnings about the dangers of the journey (anyone seriously think that folks south of the border don’t understand the danger — come on man!) will in the long run deter those fleeing to save their lives.

However, it is possible that we eventually could convince refugees that we will mistreat them or not fairly hear their claims. In that case, they are likely to stop turning themselves in and simply invoke “self help refuge” by evading apprehension and losing themselves in the vastness of America — similar to what those crossing the border illegally have been doing for the most of the four decades that I have been involved with immigration enforcement, policy, and adjudication.

Human migration, border control. law enforcement, and refugee/asylum policy are extremely complex subjects. So far, the Trump Administration has chosen to address them in simplistic, one-dimensional ways that, to various degrees, have failed in the past and are likely to continue to do so.