The Case for the Border Fence

Article subtitle: 
Border fence cost will beak even after stopping just 8,500 illegal aliens!
Article CAIRCO note: 
Daniel Horowitz
Article publisher: 
Conservative Review
Article date: 
August 28, 2015
Article category: 
Our American Future
Medium
Article Body: 

...For some geographical context, the southwest border with Mexico is roughly 2,000 miles long divided into 9 “sectors” patrolled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Here is a list of the border sectors and their size, listed from west to east (Pacific Coast to Gulf Coast):  

San Diego (60 miles)
El Centro (70 miles)
Yuma (126 miles)
Tucson (262 miles)
El Paso (268 miles)
Big Bend (510 miles of river-front border)
Del Rio (210 miles of river-front and lake-front border)
Laredo (171 river-front miles)
Rio Grande Valley (320 river miles)      
 
Following the first great wave of illegal immigration post 1986 amnesty, which primarily came through the California-Mexico border, Congress passed a bill in 1996 to require construction of a double-layered fence (triple-layer in some places) in the San Diego corridor along the coast.  You can see a picture of the fence with razor wire here.  By the end of the decade, apprehensions fell by 95% as illegals moved eastward, even though the fence covered only 14 miles of the 60-mile sector.  The majority of this border sector, unlike most other areas of the border, also has a tall and solid single-layer fence.  While nothing is full-proof, fences clearly work and take much of the pressure of the border patrol to keep up with the flow.
 
After much foot-dragging from the leftists, in 2006, Congress passed a bill requiring the construction of a 700-mile double-layered fence along five stretches of the border most appropriate for fencing (watered down from the original proposal of 850 miles).  As of October 2014, only 36.3 of the 700 miles of double-layered fencing were constructed, as required by the 2006 Secure Fence Act. 
 
You will hear a talking point from the Left that 652 miles of fencing have been completed, but most of those fences are easily penetrable or downright worthless.  Roughly 299 miles are covered by simple vehicle barriers, of which more than half are constructed by temporary welding materials that are dilapidated...
 
The Yuma sector contains most of the remaining double-layer fencing with razor wire, including areas with triple layers and a 75-foot “no man’s land,” and not surprisingly, it has worked.  Apprehensions have declined 96% since 2005 – falling from 138,438 to 5,902 in fiscal year 2014...
 
We don’t need 2,000 miles of double-layered fencing, but 700 miles worth – in conjunction with cheaper, yet sturdy, single-layered fencing in areas more easily controlled by agents and other assets – will get the job done...
 
After construction of the [Israel] fence, a double-layer barrier with a security zone in the middle – similar to the San Diego fence, suicide attacks perpetrated by Arab terrorists declined by well over 90%...
 
An impervious, fixed, plain, dumb, ugly fence solves the core problem.  A dumb fence is not smart enough to be manipulated by those who support illegal immigration.  It cannot be turned off and regulated.  It does not discriminate.  It works...
 
The 245-mile security fence in Israel cost $450 million, averaging $1.8 million per mile.  Assuming the completion of our security fence would cost the same amount, the total tab would come in at just under $2 billion.  Even if we use higher estimates of 9 million per mile, as estimated by DHS for the cost of the San Diego fence, that would amount to roughly $6 billion for the project. 
 
Now consider the cost savings of each illegal alien inhibited from entering the country. According to a conservative estimate by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, for every illegal alien that returns home (or is prevented from crossing the border), taxpayers save $700,000. That means we would reach the break-even point after preventing just the first 8,500 illegal immigrants from crossing...
 

CAIRCO Research