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Debunked: 6 Myths about U.S.-Mexico Border Enforcement

[Today’s article is courtesy of Paul Zulkie, Managing Principal of Zulkie Partners LLC in Chicago, Illinois.] Today, there are more agents along the 1,954 mile-long border that separates the United States and Mexico than ever before. According to a report from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), “Immigration Enforcement in the United States,” the amount of money the US Government spends on immigration has increased significantly in recent years — $18 billion last fiscal year alone. Currently, immigration is now the government’s highest criminal law enforcement priority. With all the political attention border enforcement receives, it’s no surprise that there have been a few myths that relentlessly permeate the discussion. Here, we debunk the myths and lay out the facts.

Myth #1: The US-Mexico border is violent.

While some areas of the border are dangerous, the US side is relatively safe. Two of America’s safest cities — El Paso, TX and San Diego, CA — are actually along the border. And although certain TV talking heads and politicians claim the border is ripe with crime, the number of border apprehensions has decreased dramatically in recent years.

Myth #2: The border is a terrorist hub.   

According to the US State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism, “No known international terrorist organization had an operational presence in Mexico, and no terrorist group targeted US citizens in or from Mexican territory.”

Myth #3: The border is insecure.

With more than 20,000 Border Patrol agents assigned to protect the border and apprehensions at a 40-year low, it’s safe to say the border is more secure now that it has ever been in recent memory.

Myth #4: Illegal immigration is on the rise.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, illegal immigration from Mexico has fallen to net zero or less.

Myth #5: There aren’t enough resources allocated to protect the border.

The $18 billion that the US government spent on immigration enforcement in fiscal year 2012 is more than the amount spent on all other major federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined.


About the Author

Paul Zulkie is the Managing Principal of Zulkie Partners LLC in Chicago, Illinois.  Mr. Zulkie is an accomplished speaker and author, and currently serves as President of the American Immigration Council, a leading non-profit organization in the field of immigration. Mr. Zulkie is also the Past-President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) serving during 2004-2005. In that role, he was a regular AILA media spokesperson giving interviews to the Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio journalists, and also testified before Congress.  Please visit Mr. Zulkie’s immigration blog here.