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Last updated on: 4/26/2017 8:37:17 AM PST
Should the United States Continue to Build a Fence or Wall along the US/Mexico Border?


PRO (yes)

Pete King, JD, US Representative (R-NY), stated in an Apr. 23, 2017 interview on Sunday Morning Futures, as printed in the show transcript titled "Rep. Schweikert Talks Spending and Health Care Negotiations; North Korea Threatens to Sink US Aircraft Carrier," available at foxnews.com:

"[T]here's nothing racist or bigoted about having a border wall. You need it, maybe not in every mile along the way, but you have to have an extensive border wall… [I]f you saw the dead bodies out in my district as a result of people coming across the border freely, you'd see the consequences of this. If we're going to be real, if we're going to be honest, we would go ahead a appropriate the money for that border wall. It's absolutely essential."

Apr. 23, 2017 - Pete King, JD 



Matt Mayer, CEO of Opportunity Ohio, in an Apr. 17, 2017 article, "Not the Berlin Wall," available at usnews.com, stated:

"Given the rising global instability in North Korea and the Middle East, it isn't that hard to imagine terrorists getting their hands on biological, chemical or radiological weapons. With an insecure border, it is even easier to imagine those terrorists bringing those weapons across the southern border and launching a devastating attack inside America. Extending the physical and technological wall along the southern border gives us the best chance to detect and to stop the flow of drugs, humans trapped in bondage, and terror.

The communists built the Berlin Wall to limit freedom by trapping good people in. President Trump wants to expand America's border wall to protect our freedom by keeping bad people out. The difference between the two walls couldn't be greater. Yet, opponents seem to believe there is a moral equivalence between the Berlin Wall and the border wall.

Even my kids know the difference between a prison wall and a protective wall. If kids can figure out that not all walls are the same, why can't reasonable adults?"

Apr. 17, 2017 - Matt A. Mayer, JD 



The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), in a Jan. 2017 issue paper, "The Current State of the Border Fence," available at fairus.org, stated:

"[G]iven the growth in worldwide migration and the emergence of new threats along the southern border, it is essential that the fence be completed and supplemented by other security structures – including walls where appropriate.

To date, sixty-five other countries have built security fences and other barriers to protect themselves from large scale migration and the infiltration of terrorists. Fences do not guarantee security, but they are an integral tool for securing borders and send the message that would-be migrants are expected to enter the country through the proper channels...

Regardless of which approach is taken, securing the southern border is a sound fiscal investment. The overall construction and annual maintenance costs pale when compared to the $113 billion FAIR estimates illegal immigration costs American taxpayers. In fact, if the project only results in a 5 percent reduction in the annual cost of illegal immigration to American taxpayers, and construction and maintenance costs reach the most expensive estimates, it would pay for itself after only six years."

Jan. 2017 - Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) 



Daniel Horowitz, Senior Editor of Conservative Review, in an Aug. 25, 2015 article, "The Case for the Border Fence," available at the Conservative Review website, stated:

"Nowhere is the case for the double-layered security-style fence more compelling than with the Israel security fence. Between 2000 and 2005, suicide bombers infiltrated Israel almost on a daily basis. Over 1,000 Israelis were killed and countless thousands wounded – the equivalent of 42,000 fatalities and hundreds of thousands wounded in America if extrapolated from the population size. The situation was desperate….until they built their security fence. After construction of the fence, a double-layer barrier with a security zone in the middle – similar to the San Diego fence, suicide attacks perpetrated by Arab terrorists declined by well over 90%...

It has been said that no fence can stop the determination of illegal immigrants seeking job prospects or drug running and human trafficking opportunities. But nobody is more determined than Hamas terrorists willing to die for their cause of killing Jews. While nothing is full-proof, the double-layered security barrier stopped the terrorists; it will stop illegal immigration."

Aug. 25, 2015 - Daniel Horowitz 



Duncan D. Hunter, US Representative (R-CA), in a July 5, 2014 article, "Duncan D. Hunter: Fence Is Right Fix for Nation’s Border Problems," available at the San Diego Union Tribune website, stated:

"One of San Diego’s greatest assets is the double-layered border fence that extends inland from the Pacific Ocean. Fencing and infrastructure alone are by no means enough to stop illegal crossings, but the presence of physical impediments at the border, when supported by manpower and technology, create barriers that make entry increasingly more difficult and sometimes impossible…

[O]n land, infrastructure is a force multiplier. Fewer agents are needed in fenced areas than unfenced sections of the border. With the addition of cameras and sensors, border agents are not only better protected, but also more effective…

Either the mandates of the Secure Fence Act should be reinstated, which I have proposed, or the Obama administration should utilize existing authority to finish the job that the Bush Administration halfheartedly started. Either way, this is one initiative that, after almost 10 years since the Secure Fence Act was enacted, needs to be completed — the way it was intended."

July 5, 2014 - Duncan Hunter, JD 



Donald Trump, 2016 presidential candidate, in a statement, "Immigration Reform That Will Make America Great Again," available on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign website, accessed on May 3, 2016, stated:

"A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border… Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increases fees on all border crossing cards – of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tarriffs and foreign aid cuts are also options]. We will not be taken advantage of anymore."

May 3, 2016 - Donald J. Trump 



Pat Buchanan, MA, political commentator and former Senior Advisor to Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, in a July 8, 2014 interview with Sean Hannity as quoted in the article, "Pat Buchanan: Country That Can't Control Borders Not a Country," available at newsmax.com, stated:

"Why can’t you, given the problem we’ve got where you’re seeing tens of thousands, scores of thousands of children pouring into the country. Why cannot the government say, look, let’s get together. We do need a secure fence, a double- or triple-length fence, all along the border of the United States with Mexico. We gotta tell folks, We know how much you want to come. But we decide who comes into our national home."

July 8, 2014 - Patrick J. Buchanan, MA 



Let Freedom Ring, a nonprofit, conservative organization, stated on its We Need A Fence project website (accessed Oct. 15, 2007):

"Why is a fence the right solution?

A secure, state-of-the-art border fence must be one element of any comprehensive effort to address the illegal immigration problem. Similar fences in Israel have reduced terrorist attacks by up to 95%...

A border fence is entirely compatible with a guest worker program. In fact, a guest worker program would be reduced to irrelevance without such a fence."

Oct. 15, 2007 - Let Freedom Ring 



Lou Dobbs, Anchor and Managing Editor for Cable News Network (CNN)'s Lou Dobbs Tonight, stated on a Jan. 12, 2007 episode of Lou Dobbs Tonight:

"Well, it's obviously not just a fence. It is far more than that, symbolically as well, an effective deterrent. Most people think against illegal immigration and those that would cross the border with an intent to harm us, but whatever it is, it would be the principal mainstay against illegal immigration and unlawful entry into this country whether by terrorists or illegal immigrants."

Jan. 12, 2007 - Lou Dobbs 



CON (no)

Nancy Pelosi, US Representative (D-CA), in an Apr. 23, 2017 interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, a transcript of which is available at nbcnews.com, stated:

"The Democrats do not support the [border] wall. And I think that the Republicans on the border states do not support the wall… The wall is, in my view, immoral, expensive, [and] unwise… The President talks about how tall it is, who's going to pay for it, and all the rest of that. But you have to understand this part of the country. There's a community with the border going through it. The President, I think, talking about this wall is expressing a sign of weakness. He's saying, 'I can't control our borders. I have to build a wall.' We certainly would like to-- We have a responsibility to control our borders. Building a wall is not an answer, not here or any place."

Apr. 23, 2017 - Nancy Pelosi 



Jeff Corwin, wildlife biologist and nature conservationist, in an Apr. 22, 2017 interview with MSNBC, a video of which is available in the nbcnews.com article, "Trump's Border Wall 'Catastrophic' for Environment, Endangered Species: Activists" by Daniella Silva and Suzanne Gamboa, stated:

"If this border wall actually happens, it will be an environmental catastrophe. Essentially, what it's doing is cutting through nature's bridge, which connects Central America to North America and South America. Wildlife have been using this natural corridor for millions of years. And, essentially, what this administration wants to do is put a twelve-hundred mile long barrier right through it. Think of all the different species and creatures that migrate for resources, for reproduction, for seasonality. Many of the animals that live in North America, evolved in South America and migrated along this natural causeway. So, it would be absolutely devastating. There are over a hundred bird species that migrate that will be critically impacted by this. And there are nearly 90 endangered and threatened species [including jaguars, ocelots, and the Mexican gray wolf], some of which could very well be pushed to extinction because of this proposed wall."

Apr. 22, 2017 - Jeff Corwin, MS 



The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, in a Mar. 25, 2017 editorial, "Pretty Much the Only Thing Trump's Border Wall Will Block Is Common Sense," available at latimes.com, stated:

"If it's built, the project will be a boondoggle of legendary proportions and likely will become the subject of historic ridicule. Why? Because Trump's silly wall can't possibly address much of the problem he seeks to fix… Trump has milked the melodrama of a border wall, but he ignores the likelihood that it would be ineffectual at stopping people from entering the country without permission. Human migration routes are like rivers: If they hit an obstacle, the flow finds a way around it. So a wall will just lead smugglers to find new routes and methods — planes, boats and 31-foot ladders for a 30-foot wall — even as it is being built, further undercutting confidence in the barrier's effectiveness. Nor would Trump's wall address the growth in illegal immigration from Asia, which outpaces immigration from Latin America… Perhaps most important, a wall could do nothing to halt the growing trend of people entering the country legally (often by plane) and then not leaving, which by some estimates accounts for as much as half of the undocumented immigration."

Mar. 25, 2017 - Los Angeles Times 



Ruben Navarrette, Jr., journalist, in a Aug. 24, 2015 article, "Just Build Trump's Stupid Wall Already," available at the Daily Beast website, stated:

"For instance, those 1,954 miles cover just about every sort of terrain you can imagine—valley, mountain, desert, river, Indian reservation, private land, state property. Ever try to build a wall on a river, or atop an Indian burial ground, or through the library of a state university? It’s tricky. And once the environmentalists and the EPA get involved, it’s nearly impossible.

Then there’s the fact that no one seems to know what it would cost. In the last six years, estimates for building a fence—which is probably much cheaper than building a wall—have ranged wildly from $1 million per mile to $15 million per mile, depending on where the fence goes. At that price, fencing for 2,000 miles would cost between $2 billion and $30 billion…

[W]alls don’t just keep people out but also pen people in. So those 11 million undocumented immigrants who are already here won’t feel so inclined to go home to Mexico for Christmas or Mother’s Day, like they used to, and where there was always a chance that some of them would stay. Now, unsure that they’d be able to return if they left, they’ll just resign themselves to putting down roots and staying on this side of the border."

Aug. 24, 2015 - Ruben Navarrette, Jr., MPA 



Luis Videgray Caso, PhD, Secretary of Finance and Public Credit of Mexico, in a Mar. 3, 2016 article, "Mexico Won't Pay for Trump's Wall, Treasury Secretary Says," available at cnn.com, stated:

"To build a wall between Mexico and the United States is a terrible idea. It is an idea that is based on ignorance that has no basis in the reality of North American integration… What both countries need is better border infrastructure. Better bridges, more customs booths, more lanes."

Mar. 3, 2016 - Luis Videgaray Caso, PhD 



Ramon Garcia, JD, County Judge of Hidalgo, Texas (a border county along the Rio Grande), in an Aug. 25, 2014 article, "In South Texas, Few on the Fence over Divisive Border Wall Issue," available at npr.org, stated:

"[The fence is] a joke… When you got all these 58,000 unaccompanied minors getting through there, I mean, you tell me that it's worth it, and if it's working… In order to get their product across, they basically measured the gap between the fence and started building their marijuana bundles within that gap so they could just slide through the fence. [A] border wall isn't really gonna help."

Aug. 25, 2014 - Ramon Garcia, JD 



Felipe Calderón, MA, MPA, 56th President of Mexico, in a Feb. 8, 2016 CNBC interview, "Mexico Won't Pay a Cent for Trump's 'Stupid Wall,'" available at cnbc.com, stated:

"Mexican people, we are not going to pay any single cent for such a stupid wall! And it's going to be completely useless… The first loser of such a policy would be the United States. If this guy [Donald Trump] pretends that closing the borders to anywhere either for trade (or) for people is going to provide prosperity to the United States, he is completely crazy.”

[Editor's Note: In an Oct. 26, 2006 CTV (Canadian National Broadcast News) article, "Mexico Urges Canada to Help Oppose Border Fence," Calderón stated: "It is deplorable to go ahead with this decision of the wall at the border...The wall will not solve any problem.

Humanity made a huge mistake by building the Berlin Wall and I believe that today the United States is committing a grave error in building the wall on our border. It is much more useful to solve common problems and foster prosperity in both countries."]

Feb. 8, 2016 - Felipe Calderón, MPA 



Rick Perry, the Republican Governor of Texas, was quoted in an Aug. 28, 2007 Reuters article titled "Texas Gov Says U.S. Needs Migrants, Not Border Wall":

"We need those individuals to continue to grow our economy...

If you show up illegally, without your card or you're here as a criminal element, I'm for throwing the book at those folks, but the issue of people who want to legally, thoughtfully and appropriately come to America to work and help us build our economy -- we should quickly come up with a program and an identification card to do that...

We know how to deal with border security, and you don't do it by building a fence."

Aug. 28, 2007 - Rick Perry 



Jason Ackleson, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, in an Apr. 2005 Immigration Policy in Focus article titled "Fencing in Failure: Effective Border Control Is Not Achieved by Building More Fences," stated:

"Short of constructing a wall along the country’s entire southern and northern frontiers, it is unlikely these measures [additional fencing and additional Border Patrol agents] will do anything to substantially reduce the flows of undocumented immigrants into the United States. Even if such a wall were built – which would itself be a counterproductive development – it would do nothing to deal with the fact that up to half of the undocumented immigrants in the United States came legally and simply have overstayed the conditions of their admittance.

Furthermore, the cost of such a fence along the entire U.S.-Mexico border, if based roughly on the cost of the California fence ($4.64 million/mile), would be outrageous – about $9 billion, which is approximately $2.5 billion more than CBP’s [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] total budget in FY 2005... Ironically, another obvious shortcoming of the border fence was illustrated just as the debate on this issue made the national press: Mexican authorities located an incomplete tunnel underneath the fence."

Apr. 2005 - Jason Ackleson, PhD