Is it possible to secure the border?

Today's Miami Herald ran a long article about four border towns:  San Diego,CA/ El Paso, TX/ McAllen, TX/and Nogales, AZ.  Those who live along the border know how difficult, if not impossible, it is to secure an over 1,900 mile border.  The article notes that apprehension numbers at popular crossing points has dropped, but this trend cannot be attributed to U.S. border security.  First, during the recession and the fragile recovery, undocumented migration has dropped because of the shortage of jobs.  Second, immigration scholars know that beefing up border security in one geographical location often just pushes people smugglers and drug couriers to cross in more dangerous areas.  The journalists in the Miami Herald article seem aware of the phenomenon that decreased border crossings in one area may not necessarily mean success in securing the border as evidenced by the McAllen rancher, Gary Thrasher, who stated, "They really have secured the towns right along the border, but whatthat does is it drives all the traffic out into the rural areas around here... It sends the traffic right into our backyards." The article raises an important point, if immigration benefits is made to be contingent upon securing the border, when would we know the border is secured and who would get to make that determination?

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