Although President Donald Trump has faced a lot of backlash for his plan to spend an estimated $15 billion on a U.S.-Mexico border wall, new data suggests the wall could be a successful way to curb illegal crossings.
According to Senate testimony reviewed by Washington Secrets, a border wall built in Yuma, Arizona, reduced illegal crossings by 94 percent.
Ronald S. Colburn, the former deputy chief of the Border Patrol, provided the following data to Congress, showing how effective Yuma’s border wall has been:
- Before fence: Yuma Border Patrol recorded 2,706 known “drive-throughs” in a one year period. This is where smugglers load up vehicles with their contraband of drugs and people, and simply drive across the open, unfettered border, and cross the river in shallow places, destroying wilderness landscape along the way. They lose themselves in urban areas and traffic, once reaching paved roads. Of the 2,706 drive-throughs, we recorded a mere 13 captures and turn backs. The rest all got away, with no idea what or who they brought in.
- After fence: Only six vehicles attempted to enter at other than a designated port of entry. None got away – we captured or turned back all of them. From 2,706, down to six. Impressive results.
“By 2008, Yuma Sector arrests of illicit border crossers and traffickers had dwindled from over 138,000 down to 8,363,” Colburn added. “The known attempts to enter and the ‘got-aways’ dwindled to an equally minimal number compared to the hundreds of thousands that entered and evaded arrest in previous years.”
Former Border Patrol chief and former acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, David Aguilar, has also said walls do, in fact, work when it comes to cutting illegal border crossings.
“There is nothing more destructive to environmentally sensitive land and quiet communities than the uncontrolled illegal flow of people, vehicles, smugglers, and criminal organizations. The placement of fences and deterrent infrastructure in previously uncontrolled parts of the border have actually allowed for the rejuvenation of areas that had previously been devastated due to heavy illegal pedestrian and vehicular traffic,” he said during a testimony to Congress.
However, reports indicate he also stated the following concerns in the same testimony:
There are numerous federally endangered or threatened species living along the border.
In Arizona, 85 percent of the land along the border are federal lands set aside to protect wilderness and wildlife, such as the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.
Most of the land along the Texas border is privately owned. Landowners will have to be compensated for use of their lands for either construction or construction access. Eminent domain may have to be exercised to take land required for the construction of border infrastructure.
The Tohono O’odham nation occupies 75 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona. The government will need to reach agreement with this native American nation to construct barriers on their land.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also testified. In his opening statement, he said, “The purpose of these additional border barriers is to gain control over the southwest border. As [Homeland Security] Secretary Kelly testified to the committee in January, ‘The number one threat to the nation is that we do not have control of our borders. Without control, every other kind of threat — drugs, illegal migrants, counterfeit manufactured goods and pharmaceuticals, diseases, terrorists, and the list goes on — can enter at will, and does.”
H/T: Washington Examiner
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