Is a U.S. ‘Border Surge’ the Answer to Immigration Reform?

If a measure by the U.S. Senate comes to fruition, there will be enough U.S. Border Patrol Agents to guard every 1,000 feet of the border between the United States and Mexico. With the boundary between these two countries measuring more than 2,000 miles, realizing this goal would be a herculean effort.

Sounds like a lofty idea? Yep, and the measure calls for even more.

The Senate measure – what some are calling a “border surge” – will also call for the completion of more than 700 miles of fence along the border, as well as the addition of more observation towers, aerial vehicles (both of the manned and unmanned variety), and even seismic devices. All of this is part of a comprehensive immigration reform bill that, if passed, would come at a price tag of between $40 and $50 billion.

The massive upgrade of the Border Patrol comes on the heels of Republican opposition that, under President Obama, more than 11 million undocumented immigrants would receive a pathway to citizenship. Attempting to bridge the gap, the Senate measure would ensure wary Republicans that foreigners will not be able to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

While some Democrats view this measure as nothing more than overkill, which may in turn transform our border communities in militarized zones, Republicans see this as a necessary show of force along the border.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, a proponent and one of the authors of the bill, said the measure would result 20,000 more Border Patrol agents. That would be in addition to the nearly 19,000 already stationed there.

Even some Republicans are opposed to the idea of beefing up the presence of Border Patrol agents along the border, including Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Some Republicans and Democrats criticize the bill, stating that better technology would be a better alternative to more boots on the ground.

Whether the money will ever be appropriated for this border surge may very well depend on future Congresses.