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  • Writer's pictureNitin Janath

The U.S. Border Security Battle: A Comprehensive Overview


Over the years, the topic of border security has garnered various responses, with one such reaction being a physical border between the U.S. and Mexico (Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons)


With immigration shaping the elections that will decide control of Congress, Democrats are trying to outflank Republicans and convince voters that they can address problems at the U.S. border with Mexico. This has led to the creation of different policies between the two parties, with both emphasizing their perspective on the U.S.-Mexico Border. 


Background of the Border Crisis 


The U.S. has faced challenges with border security for decades, but recent years have seen a significant increase in attention and urgency surrounding the issue. The border crisis primarily involves the U.S.-Mexico border, where illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and human smuggling have strained resources and heightened political tensions. This complex issue has divided public opinion and influenced legislative actions. 


Both Sides' Perspective


Republicans generally advocate for stronger border security measures, including the construction of physical barriers and increased funding for Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They emphasize the importance of national security and argue that stricter border controls are necessary to prevent illegal immigration and associated criminal activities. 


Democrats tend to focus on a more humanitarian approach, advocating for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the country. They argue for addressing the root causes of migration, such as violence and poverty in Central America, and emphasize the need for a fair and efficient asylum process. Democrats are generally more skeptical of the efficacy and morality of extensive physical barriers. 


Proposed and Blocked Legislation 


The Secure and Succeed Act was introduced to the Senate on September 25, 2017. Proposed by Republicans, it aimed to fund border wall construction, increase resources for ICE, and tighten immigration enforcement. It included a path to citizenship for Dreamers —undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, lived and attended school here, and identify as American — but was criticized by Democrats for its emphasis on enforcement over reform. On the other hand, a Democratic initiative, the Dream Act, was passed on February 29, 2023, and versions of it have been passed since 2001, seeking to provide legal status and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. While supported by many, it faced opposition from Republicans concerned about border security and incentivizing illegal immigration. 


As for blocked legislation, passed by the House of Representatives, the American Dream and Promise Act was a Democratic bill that aimed to protect Dreamers and recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from deportation. However, it stalled in the Senate due to Republican opposition. On the contrary, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, a Republican bill, included funding for the border wall and changes to legal immigration but failed to gain sufficient support due to disagreements over the scope and focus of the reforms. 


What's at Stake? 


The border security debate will play a major role in the race for the presidency. However, voters must get the facts right, as illegal immigration has doubled since Biden’s first day in office, from around 10.2 million illegal immigrants in 2020 to another 10 million illegal immigrants during Biden’s presidency. Biden’s open-border policies have made immigration reform a prominent issue among Republicans and conservatives. Some progressive cities allow illegal immigrants to vote, and Republicans believe that this is to ensure a Democratic majority. On the other hand, Former President Trump’s presidency decreased illegal immigration rates, but he was believed to have fabricated the number of border apprehensions during his presidency. These events can have significant implications for national security, the economy, and humanitarian concerns. Striking a balance between securing the border and treating migrants humanely remains a contentious and unresolved issue. Policy decisions will impact millions of lives, including those of undocumented immigrants, asylum seekers, and U.S. citizens living in border communities.


Conclusion 


The U.S. border security battle continues to be a polarizing issue, with Republicans and Democrats offering starkly different solutions. Legislation has often been proposed but rarely passed, reflecting the deep divisions within Congress and the broader American society. As the debate rages on, finding common ground remains crucial for addressing both security concerns and the humanitarian aspects of immigration. 



 



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