Securing Our Border

Illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and people across our borders wreaks havoc on our communities.

America First Policies believes the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and people across our porous borders is wreaking havoc on our communities. Immigration reform should mean putting the safety and security of the American people first and enforcing our nation’s laws. This includes protecting our southern border with a wall to stop illegal immigration and drug smuggling; putting an end to sanctuary cities; and deporting illegal aliens with criminal records.

The Facts:

  • The net fiscal cost to taxpayers of the estimated 10 million adult illegal immigrants in the United States, if they were to receive amnesty, would be roughly $1.29 trillion, which factors out to $15,300 per U.S. household currently paying federal income tax. 
  • Of the 61,529 criminal cases initiated by federal prosecutors in fiscal year 2013, more than 40 percent were filed in court districts neighboring the border. Nearly 22 percent were drug-related, 19.7 percent were violent crimes, and 10.2 percent involved white-collar offenses.The border between the U.S. and Mexico is approximately 2,000 miles long.
  • Natural barriers make up a large portion of the border.
  • The southern border touches Texas, New Mexico, California, and Arizona.
  • Wire, chain link, fencing, and wire mesh have been erected across nearly 700 miles of the border.
  • Nearly 20,000 Americans serve in the U.S. Border Patrol.
  • An alien who crosses the border once is given a misdemeanor. Repeat offenders are then given a felony.
  • Hundreds of thousands of individuals illegally cross the border each year.
  • In FY2017, ICE arrested 105,736 illegal aliens who had a criminal conviction other than immigration violations, and another 22,256 illegal aliens with criminal charges pending. 
  • Among the 105,736 criminal aliens with criminal convictions, 57,503 had been convicted of dangerous drug offenses.
  • Of the 110,568 illegal aliens apprehended from January 20 to September 30, 2017, 92 percent had a criminal conviction, a pending criminal charge, were an ICE fugitive, or were processed with a reinstated final order of removal.
  • The number of individuals arrested for illegally crossing the border hit a 46-year low in 2017 according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Individuals linked to countries that the U.S. regards as a national security concern been embedded with groups traveling to the U.S. southern border.
  • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimates that each illegal immigrant that crosses the border is a fiscal drain of approximately $75,000. Based on this assessment, the border wall could “finance itself” from reductions in welfare spending on illegal immigrants denied entry.
  • MS-13 is a criminal organization whose motto “mata, viola, controla” translates to “kill, rape, control.”
  • Members of the gang travel to the U.S. southern border from countries such as Honduras and El Salvador.
  • The southern border is the primary arrival zone for the majority of illegal drugs smuggled into the U.S. according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • From 2012 to 2015, U.S. border patrol agents seized more than:
    • 8.2 million lbs. of Marijuana
    • 32,600 lbs. of Cocaine
    • 34,000 ounces of Heroin
    • 17,600 lbs. of Methamphetamine
  • Methamphetamine seized by the U.S. Border Patrol increased from 3,715 pounds in FY2012 to over 10,000 pounds in FY2018TD (as of August 31).
  • Mexico is the largest supplier of methamphetamine to the U.S. according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • Fentanyl seizures by the U.S. Border Patrol increased from 0 pounds in FY2016 to over 330 pounds in FY2018TD (as of August 31).
  • More Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017 (72,000) than during the entirety of the Vietnam War.

Background: 

Ray Walser and Jessica Zuckerman, “The Human Tragedy of Illegal Immigration: Greater Efforts Needed to Combat Smuggling and Violence,” Heritage Foundation, June 22, 2011, www.heritage.org/immigration/report/the-human-tragedy-illegal-immigration-greater-efforts-needed-combat-smuggling

Issue Brief: “Criminal Aliens,” Federation for American Immigration Reform, Last Updated August 2015, www.fairus.org/issue/criminal-aliens

Steven A. Camarota, “The Cost of a Border Wall vs. the Cost of Illegal Immigration,” Center for Immigration Studies, February 15, 2017, cis.org/The-Cost-of-a-Border-Wall-vs-the-Cost-of-Illegal-Immigration

Bryan Griffith and Jessica Vaughan, “Map: Sanctuary Cities, Counties, and States,” Center for Immigration Studies, July 27, 2017, cis.org/Map-Sanctuary-Cities-Counties-and-States

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “CBP Enforcement Statistics FY2018,” August 31, 2018, https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/cbp-enforcement-statistics

Todd Bensman, “Middle Eastern Migrants Part of Caravan?” October 22, 2018, https://cis.org/Bensman/Middle-Eastern-Migrants-Part-Caravan

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “DHS Myth vs. Fact: Asylum Proclamation and Rule,” November 9, 2018, https://www.dhs.gov/news/2018/11/09/dhs-myth-vs-fact-asylum-proclamation-and-rule

National Institute of Drug Abuse, “Overdose Death Rates,” August 2018, https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

Kevin L. Perkins and Anthony P. Placido, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Testimony to U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control,” May 5, 2010, https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/news/testimony/drug-trafficking-violence-in-mexico-implications-for-the-united-states

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “Fiscal Year 2017 ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Report,” December 13, 2017, https://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Report/2017/iceEndOfYearFY2017.pdf

Read More: 

Dartunorro Clark, “House Passes Kate’s Law, Defunds Sanctuary Cities,” NBC News, June 29, 2017, www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/house-immigration-crackdown-n778141

Steven Shepard, “Poll: Majority of Voters Back Trump Travel Ban,” Politico, July 5, 2017, www.politico.com/story/2017/07/05/trump-travel-ban-poll-voters-240215?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20170705_ADM_west-wing-read

Matt Richardson, “‘Illegal Immigration Is Not a Victimless Crime,’ ICE Acting Director Says,” Fox News Channel, July 24, 2017, www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/24/illegal-immigration-is-not-victimless-crime-ice-acting-director-says.html

Nick Miroff, "Border security is tougher than ever, DHS report finds," Washington Post, September 18, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/border-security-is-tougher-than-ever-dhs-report-finds/2017/09/18/5d198328-9a46-11e7-a527-3573bd073e02_story.html?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.add2503a73fe

"Efforts by DHS to Estimate Southwest Border Security between Ports of Entry," U.S. Department of Homeland Security Report, Office of Immigration Statistics, September 2017, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/17_0914_estimates-of-border-security.pdf

Governor Jan Brewer, “Trump is right on the national security threat from caravan,” The Hill, November 5, 2018, https://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/415027-trump-is-right-on-the-national-security-threat-from-caravans

Andrew Arthur, “Andrew Arthur Explains New Asylum Rules,” Fox News, November 10, 2018, https://cis.org/Andrew-Arthur-Explains-New-Asylum-Rules

Sandeep Gopalan, “Caravan’s absurd lawsuit against Trump treads dangerous territory,” The Hill, November 9, 2018, https://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/415858-caravans-absurd-lawsuit-against-trump-treads-dangerous-territory

Jarely Parada, “President Trump’s immigration agenda is pro-Hispanic,” Fox News, November 14, 2018, https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/jarely-parada-president-trumps-immigration-agenda-is-actually-very-pro-hispanic 

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