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Is There a ‘Security Crisis’ at the U.S.-Mexico Border? Here Are the Facts

Should more be done to secure the border?

by Countable | Updated on 1.8.19

What’s the story?

  • President Donald Trump will address the nation tonight, where he's expected to "explain to the American people that we have a humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border," according to Vice President Mike Pence.
  • Pence's comments come as the partial government shutdown reaches the 18-day mark. Trump is demanding $5.7 billion in federal funding to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have rejected providing any money for a barrier.
  • Is there a "security crisis" at the U.S.-Mexico border? We take a look at the facts.

What about recent claims of terrorists coming through the southern border?

  • White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on "Fox News Sunday" that in 2017, "nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally, and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border."
  • However, a State Department report found "no credible evidence of any terrorist coming across the border from Mexico.”
  • And on Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway confirmed that most of the nearly 4,000 "known or suspected terrorists" were found at airports.
  • Todd Bensman, an analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies - which favors less immigration and stronger defenses against terrorist infiltration - wrote on the center's website Monday:
"I can say definitively that the number of terrorist suspects arriving at the southern border or en route never came anywhere close to 3,000, let alone 4,000 in any single year of my state government intelligence service."

Facts about the border

  • The U.S.-Mexico border stretches for nearly 2,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean and touches the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. 
  • There is currently a barrier that blocks pedestrians and vehicles along 653 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s made of barbed wire, chain link, post-and-rail, and wire mesh.
  • Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) also utilizes thousands of cameras and underground sensors, boats, aircraft, drones, and agents to monitor the boundary.
  • With 19,887 agents in FY2017, CBP is one of the largest law-enforcement agencies in the U.S.
  • 1,317 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border lacks fencing—however, the Rio Grande river forms a natural border along 1,254 of those miles.

  • According to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) internal report, building 1,250 miles more miles of fencing would cost $21.6 billion.
  • The majority of drugs trafficked into the U.S. are smuggled through legal ports of entry, not snuck through the desert.

What has been built since Trump took office? What does he want?

  • Since Trump took office, some additional “steel bollard wall" has been erected on the border.
  • CBP referred to bollard barriers as "fencing" during the Obama administration, according to a memo. They are now being considered “wall.”
  • Construction has begun for 40 miles of “steel bollard wall” in California and Texas, at a cost of $292 million. 22 miles are complete and an additional 18 miles should be finished in May 2019, according to CBP.

Facts about unauthorized immigrants

  • The unauthorized immigrant population in the U.S. is at a 10-year low.
  • The total number of unauthorized immigrants nabbed at the border last year held steady at around 521,000—a slight decline from 2017, and far less than the high-water mark of the 1990s and 2000s when a million apprehensions a year was common.
  • Statistics provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) show that sectors where fencing and walls have been built have seen a decrease in unauthorized immigration:

  • Overall, apprehensions of unauthorized immigrants at the southwest border dropped about 80 percent from 2000 to 2015.
  • However, CBP cites a number of factors for the decline. For the Tucson sector, for instance - where apprehensions are down nearly 90 percent - CBP credits an "increase in manpower," technological upgrades, and changes in "infrastructure" (which include fencing and vehicle barriers).

Have there been terrorists coming across the border?

  • 41 people on the Terrorist Screening Database were encountered at the Mexican border from Oct. 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018. 35 of them were U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. (At the Canadian border, CBP stopped 91 people listed in the database, including 41 who were not U.S. citizens or residents.)
  • A study by the libertarian CATO Institute found that from 1975 through 2017, seven people who entered the U.S. illegally from "special interest" countries (states at least loosely tied to terrorism) were convicted of planning attacks on U.S. soil. None of the seven crossed from Mexico.

What do you think?

Trump is demanding funding for his U.S.-Mexico border wall, increasing the chances for a partial government shutdown.

Are you concerned about border security? Should Democrats agree to more funding? Should Congress fund Trump’s “big beautiful wall”? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman


(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / chapin31)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(522)
  • Robert
    Voted No
    01/08/2019
    ···

    DJT made this situation worse than it was by acting like a 4th grader and creating a non crisis and lying about it

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  • Sandra
    Voted Maybe
    01/08/2019
    ···

    It depends on what is being "floated"...NO on a "big, beautiful wall"/monument to Trump....This "Administration" continues its fear instilling rhetoric...the number one ploy of an autocrat in the making.....create a bogyman and persuade the people that YOU are their only hope for defeating it....tonight, I'll be totally surprised if Trump does not declare a National Emergency...frightening thought, if he succeeds...the powers that it would give him would destroy us. Nothing is more frightening that an amoral, sociopath with almost unl.imited power.

    Like (70)
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  • Mark
    Voted Yes
    01/08/2019
    ···

    This is not about bs politics. This is about reality versus fantasy. It is time both Democrats and Republicans put the safety & security of the American people above drug king pins, international cartels, cheap labor lobbyists and human traffickers. Stop the games. Time to upgrade our barriers / walls / fences and incorporate other technologies as well.

    Like (52)
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  • Dicr
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Why would anyone object to a racist wall? Because it’s a racist wall, not to mention a big waste of money that will hurt the environment.

    Like (48)
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  • phil
    Voted No
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Another of Trump’s lies!!

    Like (49)
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  • David
    Voted Yes
    01/08/2019
    ···

    People who cheat to get ahead of others are cheaters by definition. People who enter our country illegally are cheating their way ahead of those who enter legally. Stopping illegal entry into our country is just common sense. Immigrating to the United States is not a right, it is a privilege that must be earned. Build the wall!

    Like (45)
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  • hjaguila
    Voted Maybe
    01/08/2019
    ···

    There should be more being done for our border, possibly modernizing it and secure it with the technology we currently have, however, it is ridiculous to call this a crisis, there is no crisis and we have the data to answer that.

    Like (32)
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  • RogerLHooker
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Yes more should be done, but NOT a wall as #45 is throwing a temper tantrum about. A barrier where the border patrol says it’s needed, more technology as specified by the border patrol, more manpower as specified by the border patrol.

    Like (23)
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  • Dorothy
    Voted No
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Stop this fake crisis!

    Like (35)
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  • Gary
    Voted No
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Putting people out of work over this supposed crisis is terrible.

    Like (26)
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  • David
    Voted No
    01/08/2019
    ···

    This shutdown is a political stunt for DJTs base

    Like (25)
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  • RjGoodman
    Voted No
    01/08/2019
    ···

    The statistics I see in this article are similar to statistics I have found from source documents. The talk about a border crisis is a fabrication! Yes, we need to be concerned about border security. Properly designed border security has very little to do with a wall. Let the experts put what is needed where it is needed. This fabrication must stop and the government should stop holding itself hostage!

    Like (24)
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  • Riley
    Voted Yes
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Build the wall! It is 100% necessary. Thank you President Trump

    Like (23)
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  • Heather
    Voted No
    01/08/2019
    ···

    There needs to be immigration reform for sure but a physical wall is not the way to go! People need to realize that crossing at the southern border is only one of MANY ways to enter the country and we need to look at a way to help at ALL entry points, as well as protecting our citizens here from being treated so badly just for looking like an immigrant

    Like (20)
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  • Pat
    Voted No
    01/09/2019
    ···

    There is a humanitarian crisis at the border, one of the Trump administration‘s own making. There is no national security emergency. However, there is a different emergency: a complete lack of ethics, honesty, morality, intelligence & sense of service in the White House!

    Like (19)
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  • SneakyPete
    Voted No
    01/09/2019
    ···

    FUND THE SOUTHERN BORDER WALL / BARRIER NOW Of course we will see Democrats, who consider the benefits to the migrants coming across the porous Southern border as a benefit, will repay the Democratic Party, by voting in their favor. As such the Democratic Senate and House, will fight to the bitter end, to hinder the funds for building the wall. 1). FREE Housing. 2). FREE Healthcare. 1). FREE Housing. 2). FREE Healthcare. 3). FREE Legal service. 4). FREE Sanctuary City Support. 5). FREE Social Benefits. 6). Questionable Voting Rights. And the list goes on and on particularly with the arrival of the MASSIVE Caravan at the Southern border. SneakyPete..... ????? 1*8*19....//

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  • Carolyn
    Voted Yes
    01/08/2019
    ···

    YES‼️There’s a security crises at the Mexican Border‼️ If Dems and others Do nothing about it just to spite our President, there will continue to be illegal immigrants killing our American Policeman and civilians. It will continue to get worse and worse‼️ There will come a time that the USA will no longer have control of our own country in every way possible‼️

    Like (17)
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  • Langho
    Voted Yes
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Obviously the people that disagree against the wall Don’t live in the southern states we are overrun down here they don’t pay taxes I don’t know how many times I have to say this free housing free insurance free food and our tax dollars pays for it build the wall

    Like (16)
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  • CharleneK
    Voted No
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Please stop lying to the people, there is no crisis at the border. The only crisis we have is in the White House, with the infantile person occupying the Office of the President. Undocumented immigrants have been coming through our airports far more than the southern border for years. There is no crisis that cannot be handled with normal means. This is just an unconstitutional power grab. Republicans need to stop abetting this unconstitutional behavior.

    Like (15)
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  • Jimmy
    Voted Yes
    01/09/2019
    ···

    Dear Legislators, Border security is common sense. A physical barrier is at the very least a deterrent to those wishing to enter illegally. Coupled with boots on the ground and existing framework we can heavily stem the flow of illegal immigrants who run free over our country. We already have systems in place which we dont use. E-verify would severely push back on one of the very reasons they cone here, jobs. We need to hold the employers accountable for this illegal practice. This would also help catch the ones who overstay their VISAs when they seek employment. Since 1994 over 10,000 non citizens have died making the dangerous journey to cross our border illegally. And as we all, know 2 noncitizen children lost their lives very recently due to their parents putting them in harm's way, because our non existent physical barrier makes it so easy for several thousands a year to take the chance. After approximately 12 million illegal immigrants roam free and are sheltered illegally in lawless cities across the US, we the citizens of America have had enough. Do your jobs and uphold the oaths you have taken to follow the law and protect our country, because if you dont, we will vote people in who will. Sincerely, Jimmy McKnight

    Like (15)
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