Proposed border wall may not be needed as illegal crossings are - Tucson News Now

Proposed border wall may not be needed as illegal crossings are down

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A new study has been started by the National Center for Border Security and Immigration to determine why so many people of Mexican heritage are either leaving the U.S. or not coming in the first place.

Border Patrol numbers show there has been a large drop in apprehensions of people of Mexican decent at the border since 2000. The drop is nearly 90 percent according to numbers just released. That has caused a problem not seen in the US in decades.

"Right now there is a net loss of Mexicans from the U.S. going back to Mexico," said Elyse Golob, the Center Director. "More people are going back than coming in."

There are many reasons why that is happening, but which one is more dominant has yet to be determined.

Economic stability in Mexico, a slow U.S. economy, an aging population in Mexico and a $19 billion border security budget all contribute. 

The study will determine which has had the biggest impact. But the numbers have some people questioning the value of the wall which has become the centerpiece of the GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump.

In a Phoenix speech, followed up by another in Cincinnati, Trump doubled down on his promise to build the wall and Mexico "will pay for it even though they don't know it yet."

In light of the numbers, is a wall the size Trump is proposing, either realistic or needed. 

"Since there are fewer people being apprehended, I'm not sure what a wall will do," said Golob. "A wall makes people climb over it, makes people dig under it."

She also points out, a great majority of the people who come to the U.S. illegally, come through the ports of entry and not the desert. In 2006, Congress approved $6 billion to build a 700-mile wall along the border.

"You may notice, all 700 miles are on public land, state and federal," said District 3 Congressman Raul Grijalva. 

Grijalva said "takings of private land" by the federal government are not very popular in the U.S. 

"You are going to get it from private property owners that don't want the federal government coming in and taking their land for what ever purpose," he said.

Another thing is public support, along the border it is lacking and there will be resistance.

"Many communities feel it's offensive and horrible and doesn't deal with the real problem," Grijalva said.

There is also the $25 billion price tag which a fiscally conservative Congress would certainly balk at.

"We have many more pressing issues," he said.

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