Analysis Of US-Mexico Border Wall Issue

Where is the Border?

Border issue between US and Mexico was brought to people’s attention all around the world by President Trump’s resolution of US-Mexico Border Wall construction. In this course, we have explored the political background of the US-Mexico issue and related issues such as border enforcement and its logic. I am interested in this topic, so I would like to analyze the border issue from the following four aspects.

Border Enforcement Logics at the Physical Site of the US-Mexico Border

On January 25th, 2018, President Trump signed an executive order announcing the construction of a wall on the Us-Mexico border to stop illegal immigrants trying to enter the US. Under Mr. Trump's plan, the wall would stretch from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas, with an estimated 1,600 kilometers of construction at a cost of 12 billion to 15 billion dollars once construction finished. The new wall will join an existing border fence to cover the entire US-Mexico border. Also, in the southwestern states such as Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, national guard troops are assigned to the border with Mexico to combat human trafficking.

Enforcement Logics at Locations Far from Actual Border

Border enforcement can be understood as a major action to control undocumented immigration from US-Mexico border where a large number of illegal immigrants come from. We learned in the powerpoint that there's section 287g. (Week 11, 10) It is a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Undocumented immigrants would face detention and deportation once they are found by the relevant jurisdiction agency. There also exists a major difference which would be these immigrants are now deported as criminals instead of criminal aliens in past times, and they would not be tried or convicted in the criminal law system(Mathew Coleman & Austin Kocher, 2011).

How have the Logics of Border Enforcement Become “Unstuck” from the Actual Site of the Border?

In order to get to understand why logics of border enforcement become ‘unstuck,’ we may need to delve deep into the root of the US-Mexico border issue or illegal immigration from the US-Mexico border.

First of all, the economic factor is the most significant factor regarding this issue. As the most powerful country in the world, the United States has the world's top economic structure, the top science and medical technology, and the top education level, which attracts people from all over the world. However, the threshold of legal means is high, and only elites are popular. However, due to poverty, instability and other reasons in these central and South American countries, some people have to leave their hometown, and due to the geographical closeness, United States would be the first choice for them to live a better life.

Secondly, America's own drug culture also works as a strong inducement. The United States is the world's largest consumer of drugs and export destination of more than 60% of the world's drugs output. Heroin and marijuana use in the United States is not uncommon, even morally harmless. Therefore, the whole society attaches far too little importance to it. According to a survey, many people in the US believe that drug use is a personal problem that is fine, as long as the individual controls it and does not have serious consequences. About half of Americans think drugs are Ok and nearly half say they would try drugs such as marijuana in the future.

Last but not least, the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) makes Mexican people’s lives more tougher, which to some extent forces these people to leave their country and look for a way out. As we all know that maize is the staple food of Mexican people, the food that Mexican use maize to process amounts to more than 150 kinds, numerous Mexican farmers make their living by planting corn. However, after the NAFTA was signed, Mexican farmer lives were put into a tougher position. The United States has the best farmland and the most advanced agricultural machinery in the world, and the cost of producing food for U.S. farmers is extremely low compared to the Mexican farmers. The signing of the agreement is equal to letting the Mexican farmers directly fall into bankruptcy.

As a result, due to these external reasons, Mexican people are forced to leave their homes in search of a better life or the hope of life. They may get desperate and try everything in their power to realize their dream of living in the US. These people’s burning thirst for a better life is what makes border enforcement become ‘unstuck,’ and to some extent we all can understand that. People are born to pursue better lives, not to be tortured by financial suffering.

How are Elements of the Landscape Mobilized to Function as Borders?

The United States shares a 1,900-mile border with Mexico that stretches across California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. There are various elements along the border as the border wall. In some areas, the border wall is even invisible because scanners, drones, and patrols work as border guardians. Actually, the border patrol functions as the invisible border to a large extent.

My Point of View Regarding Border Enforcement

From my point of view, the question of how should border enforcement be carried out at the US-Mexico border depends on what kind of international image the US government or American want to establish. If border enforcement is always carried out in a strict and cold way then the US international image would also get damaged to some extent. Moreover, it is very dangerous to regard law as an end in itself rather than as a means of maintaining social order. Alcohol prohibition can serve as a good lesson. At that time, alcohol prohibition was considered morally biblical and legally grounded. People will consider not drinking alcohol as patriotic behavior.

Similarly, we may need to rethink about the original intention of border enforcement and the way to control illegal immigration. In developed countries, the government sometimes separates children from their parents and raises these children instead of their parents. This is not because the government could take good care of them. In terms of raising children, the government may perform worse than 95 percent of parents. Only when parents are extremely involved in domestic violence, alcohol abuse, and drug use, the government would stand up for the children and provide a safe haven. However, parents of undocumented immigrants do not fall into this category. The motive for taking their children away and sending them to concentration camps was not to maintain social order or to give them a better living environment. Accordingly, some soft options for border enforcement could be considered, such as undocumented immigrants being permitted entrance into US with GPS bracelets taken and regularly reporting to the government about where they live. Or some desperate illegal immigrants with children could be permitted into some specific areas which sanctuary policies need to define (Jennifer C. Critchley & Lisa J. Trembly,2017) in US for specific time periods.

My Conclusion

The purpose of border enforcement is to maintain US society, not to punish those undocumented immigrants or tear children from their immigrant parents. The root of continuous illegal immigrants from the US-Mexico border are basically because of poverty and global wealth disparity. Therefore, we should try to come up with more efficient policies to resolve the problem and take the border issue more cautiously.


  1. Mathew Coleman, Austin Kocher. (2011). Detention, deportation, devolution and immigrant incapacitation in the US, post 9/11.
  2. Jennifer C, Critchley & Lisa J. Trembly. (2017). Historical Review, Current Status and Legal Considerations Regarding Sanctuary Cities.
  3. Power Point, Jurisdictions with signed 287(g) agreements, as of January 1, 2018
  4. Andy Kiersz, Skye Gould & Michelle Mark. (2019). As the government shutdown over Trump’s border wall rages, a journey along the entire 1,933-mile US-Mexico border shows the monumental task of securing it.
16 December 2021
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