Shut it Down

By Shane Shuma ’22, Opinion Columnist

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President Trump has called for the border to be shut down as detention facilities have reached full capacity. According to Fox, the United States is on track to receive the most illegal immigrants in more than a decade as 750,000 migrants come to the border without authorization. As detention facilities are filling up they have been forced to implement a policy known as “catch and release.: According to, this policy allows for detained migrants to wait in the community outside where the facility is located before their day in court. They don’t show up. Currently we are facing a real crisis at the border which will only get worse if we do nothing. It’s either time to strengthen our border or shut it down. 

I will admit that shutting down the border in its entirety would be damaging to the United States. Trade would be halted and the administrative resources required to shut it down could be costly. While it may prompt action from Mexico, it is not a long-term solution to the crisis. First, we need to build a long wall on our border to protect our people and make sure that the immigrants we receive are authorized and are processed via checkpoints. Second, we must continue ICE raids on those illegal immigrants who have committed crimes and should continue raids as long as cities fail to comply with federal law. I am in favor of potential immigration reform, but that is the end of a process, not a start. 

The wall must be built because the current flow of drugs into our country is destroying lives, tearing families apart, and burdening our police and healthcare services. Since 2014 meth seizures at the border have quintupled and heroin seizures have tripled since 2009 according to Border Patrol statistics. Roughly 2 million pounds of cocaine and marijuana are seized at the border each year, not including the drugs that are not seized according to those same statistics. We need a wall to provide a physical barrier for entry, whether it be cars or individuals, and sensing technologies that will allow border patrol agents to rapidly respond to breaches or irregular activity. 

The flow of drugs is also drawing MS-13 gang members which have overrun many communities, including those I know on Long Island. According to Newsday, more than 50 gang members have been arrested on Long Island since 2010, and dozens more are scheduled for deportation. If an illegal immigrant or MS-13 gang member engages in the drug trade or criminal activity, they must be first in line to be deported.

ICE should also continue its raids as cities refuse to comply with federal law. By allowing illegal immigration to go unchecked we are not only hurting immigrants who have spent years waiting to come to this great country, we are also hurting Americans and new immigrants. When Britain allowed unchecked migration into their country during the Syrian refugee crisis, wages actually decreased for their working class. According to the Financial Times, since Britain experienced increased migration from the EU, especially since the refugee crisis, wages for the bottom ten percent of UK-born workers fell five percent over the span of 1992-2017. Unchecked illegal migration is also bad for the country because any crime committed by an illegal immigrant is one that shouldn’t have happened. Sure, people commit crimes against each other daily, but those are out of our control. Crimes committed by individuals that could have been apprehended, were apprehended and let go, or committed crimes and let go are completely within our control. It is unacceptable that we have put our own people in a dangerous situation.

If the wall is not built we may have to shut down the border. It is time that Mexico began enforcing its own strict laws and helping us ease the flow of migrants at our border. According to CNBC, most illegal immigrants do not come from Mexico, but utilize it as a passthrough country as they travel to the United States. 

Illegal immigrants that we apprehend should be placed in Mexico as we process their immigration status. To do this, we must sign a Safe Third Country Agreement with Mexico that would allow us to designate it as the first place of refuge for asylum seekers. Mexico is an appropriate shelter for asylum seekers as it is the fifteenth largest economy in the world and lies far above its neighbors in economic power according to the International Monetary Fund. By signing such an agreement with Mexico, we could give illegal immigrants refuge in Mexico instead of the U.S. I would not be against helping Mexico in its efforts to contain migrants through funding or intelligence sharing after they sign the STCA. 

We must either put in place common-sense reforms or we must shut down the border. I do not believe we should secure our border because I hate immigrants or because I do not know the struggle of these people, but because I love Americans. As a sovereign nation our actions must always serve the best interests of our people. 

By controlling our border, we can start working towards eliminating the opioid crisis and protect our people from preventable crimes. Mexico is a far better place of refuge for illegal immigrants and should be designated as a safe country to remove stress from our system. Hopefully our politicians from both sides of the aisle will keep America First when drafting solutions to the crisis at the border.