For years, I worked at the Southwest Frontier as a border patrol officer and special agent. A wall, a barrier, a rampart, a fortification, or whatever it is called, will work. A physical barrier limits drug trafficking through porous border areas and also directs migrants to areas in which the border patrol can concentrate law enforcement efforts and humanitarian efforts.
Migrants choose the path of least resistance as they cross the border and drive them through a deadly and ruthless ground where more than 250 people will perish in 2018 alone. Narcotic smugglers also ship huge amounts of narcotics to the border. Every year, homeland security pushes new technologies to the border. Technology simply does not stop all human smugglers or narcotics from crossing the north into the United States.
Since my many years at the border, I know that border walls work. But with a wall, there must also be considerable effort to limit the flow of economic migrants. A "wall of politics" must be built to dissuade employers from hiring undocumented workers.
When I was working for the DHS Human Smuggling cell, the message south of the border was to arrive in the United States; jobs are waiting. I am sure this message is still being broadcast in Central America. This message is a big part of the problem.
According to the Pew Research Center, more than 7 million undocumented migrants work in the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can focus additional efforts on employers who knowingly and illegally recruit these 7 million economic migrants. Stop this illegal hiring, and you remove this financial attraction. Economic migrants also suffer from abusive employers. According to ICE, these employers "use force, threat or coercion (eg threaten to evict employees) in order to prevent unauthorized foreign workers from reporting wages or working conditions inferior to the norms. ".
Last year, ICE audited thousands of companies to find out if they were complying with federal laws, but many did not do it. ICE has taken additional measures by tripling the work site surveys conducted in 2017 compared to those conducted in 2017. These investigations not only target illegal recruitment, but "often involve additional criminal activities, such as illicit trafficking. Foreigners, human trafficking, money laundering, document fraud, exploitation of workers and / or or substandard pay and working conditions. "
A "policy wall" specifically targeting illegal employers can work with the support of Congress and President Trump. Perhaps a decree focusing efforts on enforcement of the ICE Act, coupled with an appropriations bill passed by Congress funding this effort, would send a clear message to employers that the increase in enforcement of building site laws will not stop any time soon.
For breaking the law, US employers were fined more than $ 100 million in civil fines and forfeitures during site control operations in 2018. That $ 100 million could go a long way towards border security. How much does this wall cost?
Jason Piccolo is a former Border Police Officer, ICE Special Agent and DHS Supervisor. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the author of Unwavering: The Journey of a Border Officer, from hunter to hunted.