The Cato Institute has issued a new analysis of government data indicating that as more miles of wall were constructed along the U.S.-Mexico, there was an increase in deaths of those trying to seek safety or opportunity in the U.S.
The report notes that in recent years, deaths have declined as the population trying to enter the U.S. has increasingly been individuals fleeing violence in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. They have tended to seek out, rather than evade, Border Patrol officials to ask for asylum.
(T)he evidence indicates that border fences have made the journey far more dangerous—even deadly—and that asylum made the border safer.
In fact, asylum and other humanitarian relief programs appear to have already saved about 1,300 lives along the border since 2013. By contrast, increased enforcement—including the fence—appears to have resulted in about 4,600 more deaths from 1999 to 2019.
Given that the number of southern border apprehensions in recent years are far lower than they were for decades, and that the majority of the undocumented in the U.S. today entered the U.S. legally through airports and other ports of entry with temporary visas but failed to leave, the case for the border wall is thin.
Crafting meaningful immigration reforms that respect of our country’s tradition and legal obligation to offer protection to those seeking safety, that meet the needs of employers and families, and that reduce processing backlogs which can stretch for years, would be far more effective than continued fighting over the wall.