It’s hard to find silver linings during a pandemic, but one has been the lesson that the United States has always been able to put an end to illegal immigration – we just hadn’t tried hard enough.
Following a lockdown on the U.S.-Mexico border in response to the pandemic, by April illegal border crossings had practically fallen to zero, with Border Patrol only encountering 79 people attempting to enter the country between ports of entry. Obviously the damage done to the job market (reducing employment prospects for illegals) also played a role, but that can’t explain all of it, as it’s not like Mexico’s economy is doing much better.
Meanwhile, while the nation was on lockdown, more progress was being made on the U.S.-Mexico border itself than any other period during the past three years of Trump’s presidency.
As the Washington Examiner’s Anna Giaritelli reports:
Since March 16, the Monday after President Trump declared a national emergency, the federal government has completed 77 more miles of border fence at various parts of the U.S.-Mexico border. It is an increase of more than 50% from the 139 miles of fence that builders installed as of mid-March, according to Customs and Border Protection.
As of Tuesday, 216 miles of fence has gone up in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California as a result of projects undertaken by the Trump administration.
As of last August, 60 miles of wall was built. Through the fall and early winter months, an average of 10 miles per installed each month. That figure skyrocketed to 25 miles per month between March and June.
CBP and the Army Corps of Engineers oversee the projects and the construction process. The two federal agencies are working 339 miles of construction projects at present and planning how to spend funding for 183 miles of fencing. In total, more than 660 miles of fencing has been funded to date.
Anyone who doubts that walls work can just look at what happened when Hungary built their own (which was a barbed wire fence) on their border with Croatia to stop illegal crossings resulting from the migrant crisis. In the chart below, you probably didn’t need to be told October was the month construction was completed:
Israel also began constructing a fence along its border with Egypt in 2010 to thwart illegal entrants from Africa. Illegal entries from Egypt to Israel fell from 10,000+ per year to near-zero. There was an uptik in 2015 as entrants began using ladders at certain border sections to get across, but the border was quickly approved to prevent that from continuing.
Perhaps the reason Democrats are so vehemently opposed to the wall isn’t because it “won’t work” like they claim – but because they know it will.