Scholars.org Dec1, 2011: Between 1986 and 2010 the United States effectively militarized its border with Mexico, increasing the size of the Border Patrol from 3,700 to 20,000 officers and expanding the budget by 23 times from $151 million to a whopping $3.5 billion annually. Politicians proclaim that militarizing the border reduces illegal immigration – and they want to spend more and more taxpayer money this way. But careful research shows that fortifying the border has led to unintended consequences:
Undocumented migrants keep coming despite the fortified border. Determined people looking for work try repeatedly until they succeed. They may have to pay high fees to get help from “coyote” guides, and an unfortunate few may die in the desert while trying to gain illegal entry. But most get to the United States sooner or later.
Because the costs and risks of getting to the United States increased after the mid-1980s, migrants stopped going home to their families for Christmas and Easter, or for weddings, funerals, and other family events. Undocumented workers had little choice but to stay at their jobs. Instead of regular trips home, many brought wives and children to join them. Undocumented families moved away from the Mexican border, spreading out across the United States to build more permanent lives.
With people steadily coming but not able to return home to Mexico or other countries, additional millions of undocumented workers piled up after the mid-1980s. Rather than reducing undocumented migration, militarizing the border actually increased it!
Having a secure border is a priority in protecting the American people from the invasion of outsiders. A wall is the only way to go.