Immigration hawks appear to have put their faith in securing the border behind a beefed up, Berlin Wall-esque, double-layered, drone-patrolled fence to section off the the U.S. Southwest from Mexico. The “border surge” amendment to the bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill passed by the Senate last month contains a whopping $38 billion to ramp up border security, with a hefty chunk of those funds going toward the border fence.
But how much would a beefed up border fence change patterns of illegal immigration to the United States?
Surely there would be an effect. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the “border surge” amendment would result in an undocumented population of 800,000 less people by 2023 than without the amendment.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the border fence will allow the United States to attain that elusive goal of a completely secure border that the hawks strive for. There will still be plenty ways to side-step it -- especially considering that 40 percent of people who reside illegally in the United States actually entered legally on a visa, then continued to live here after it expired, according to the Wall Street Journal.
None of this really matters all that much. Demographic and economic changes will likely exert much more influence than the billions of dollars politicians throw at the border. Many experts view it as unlikely that the era of mass migration from south of the border of the 1990s will repeat itself any time in the next few decades. As Shannon O’Neil, a fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, puts it in her new book Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States, and the Road Ahead: “in the next decade we may be urging Mexicans to come to the United States.”
Check out 10 ways to skirt the multi-billion-dollar border fence in the slideshow above.