I'm not sure just where the notion that the border is unsecured comes from. There's been a border patrol for decades, there are long stretches of wall now, and it doesn't take long once you're actually close to the border to realize that anyone who thinks it's unprotected just hasn't bothered to do much research. There's a reason undocumented immigrants and drug smugglers die in the desert in fairly high numbers. Every major highway (i.e., a road with pavement on it) has border control checkpoints, some of which feel like they're pretty far north. Out of curiousity, I did a little digging and found that anywhere within 100 miles of the border is considered an area where the Border Patrol can pull over vehicles for inspection. Which means in practice (and in reality) there can be inspection stations anywhere along Interstates 8 and 10, the major east-west routes paralleling the border.
|Border control point on I-10 west of Las Cruces, New Mexico|
There are also inspection stations on the north-south highways, of course, like US-191, Arizona 80, and similar routes. On the north-south routes, the inspection stations tend to be located only on the north-bound side. On the east-west, they're on both sides. Since deciding to winter in Arizona, we've seen a bunch of them. We just get waved through, of course. Old people driving vehicles with Michigan plates don't fit the profile of someone who's smuggling mojados to work in packing plants in Kansas.
I don't know. To me it just feels weird. Unnatural. Unamerican. I can remember visiting Nogales, Mexico, back when we lived in Tucson in the early '80s. People went back and forth with minimal hassle. We parked in Nogales, Arizona, and walked into Mexico. There were a lot of people going back and forth. Quite a few Mexicans worked and shopped in Arizona, and vice versa. When we were done shopping for souvenirs, coming back into the U.S. took a couple of minutes. It was the equivalent of standing in line to place an order at a fast food place. Now, from what I hear, it can take a couple of hours. Crossing the border in a vehicle always took longer than walking, but it never used to take half a day. Now it can. And for what? To protect us from the possibility of undocumented workers coming in to take jobs no one else wants to do? People picking strawberries in California or cantelopes in Colorado have nothing whatsoever to do with factories shutting down in Michigan or steel mills closing in Pennsylvania, but to hear some people talk you'd think that if we just deported a few more Mexicans and Guatemalans all the jobs would magically flow back to the rust belt.