Experts have challenged the effectiveness of the 700-mile fence planned for the U.S.-Mexico border, citing a robust smuggling industry and statistics that show around half of all illegal immigrants simply overstayed their visas.
AP (via Yahoo!):
No amount of border security will stop illegal immigration; the reality is that roughly half the estimated 12 million undocumented foreigners in the United States entered on bona fide visas and stayed after they expired.
While the interview process for visas has become tougher, it has failed to stop these so-called “overstays” from reaching for the American dream.
If they cannot get a visa, there’s a smuggling business that moves millions of people from Mexican towns to employers throughout the United States.
The increased enforcement that began with Operation Gatekeeper in 1994—and produced the corrugated metal and chain-link fence—dramatically cut illegal border crossings in the Tijuana-San Diego area, but overall, they kept their pace. Total arrests along the nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico has ebbed and flowed since then but changed little: 1.3 million in 1995, compared with 1.2 million in 2005.