Should the United States Build a Fence on Its Southern Border?
The U.S. border with Mexico spans almost 2,000 miles from California to Texas, and illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and other security breaches along the border have been issues of growing concern for decades. After 9/11, the call to secure America’s borders increased, and the idea of expanding physical layers of security along the Mexican border began to gain serious traction in the minds of lawmakers.
Signed into law by George W. Bush, the Secure Fence Act of 2006 mandated the construction of almost 700 miles of barrier fences along the Mexican border. The act also appropriated the expansion of checkpoints, vehicle barriers, and technological systems designed to monitor the expanse of boundary. Proponents of the physical fence believe that the barrier acts as a strategic impediment for those who wish to cross the border from Mexico into the United States, but detractors cite prohibitive construction costs, unmanageable terrain, and harmful environmental concerns as arguments against the fence.
Not surprisingly, the 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls have debated the issue of a border fence. Herman Cain has (perhaps jokingly) condoned an electrified border fence, while Rep. Michele Bachmann has called for a fence spanning the entire length of the boundary. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has opposed the construction of a border fence in his state, advocating other means like Predator drones and increased border patrol to deal with illegal immigration.
Should the United States build a fence along its southern border? Here is Debate Club’s take: