Residents of towns near the U.S.-Mexico border may come across undocumented immigrants knocking on their doors thirsty and desperate for water. While the border aims to keep out immigrants who are trying to enter illegally, it also stops abruptly making it easy to cross to the U.S. but difficult to survive.
It is one thing to make policy changes, but another to have them implemented, says Lupe Dempsey, a retired Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer has worked with securing the border for years. She recently gave food and water to an immigrant that got lost and wandered into the small town of Fort Hancock. The area where the border ends is deceiving and has made Texas have more immigrant deaths than Arizona due to immigrants getting lost and starving to death or dying of the extreme heat. According to Dempsey, the new “border surge,” which proposes adding 700 miles of fencing and 20,000 border patrol officers, is a disconnect in Washington from reality. When Washington takes more desperate measures, immigrants will take more risks to try to get in to the U.S.. In 2012, Texas reported over 271 border deaths.
“We already have very strict immigration laws government never provided the funding for,” Dempsey said. “We don’t need more laws, we just need to enforce what’s on the books.” Not everyone agrees that the immigration bill handles border security effectively. Many border patrol agents attest to the fact that prior to the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security there was cooperation between border patrol and local law enforcement. It has since waned making it difficult for both sides to do their jobs. It is a harmful “us-and-them mentality” which creates frustration on both parts and makes it impossible for either side to do reach an agreement. The lack of understanding the government has for the job at the border makes it difficult for the corresponding agencies to implement the laws made in Washington.
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