Recently, the United States has tightened security on its southern border. More Border Patrol agents have been assigned to the border, along with hundreds of National Guard troops. Fences cover some parts of the border, and new electronic equipment and cameras have been installed.
But what is the result of the border crackdown? In terms of keeping undocumented immigrants out of the United States, it's not very effective. The immigrants keep coming, and will do so as long as there are jobs to be had in this country.
But it has been a real financial boon for one group -- the smugglers. That's right. The biggest effect of the border crackdown has been to help the criminals who profit from smuggling people into this country. These smugglers charge around $1500 for each person they help to enter the U.S., and their business has never been better.
A Mexican-government funded research institution, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, has been conducting surveys about the border crossings for years. They interviewed those who had been caught by Border Patrol and kicked out, and those who had been successful but returned to Mexico. Their survey was analyzed by the Associated Press.
The AP learned that while the illegal immigrants keep coming, the number who hire a smuggler to get them across has increased as border security increased. Here are the percentages of those who hired a smuggler:
The money we are spending to stop illegal immigration is not keeping people from entering our country illegally. But it has increased the business of smugglers by threefold. Surely, this is not the desired result!
The fact remains that as long as there are jobs for the immigrants in this country, they will keep coming. If we really want to stem the flow of undocumented workers, we must crack down on the employers -- not the border.
Until then, we are just fattening the wallets of the smugglers.