The Mexico Border Wall was on top of the agenda of Donald Trump during his presidential campaign and soon after assuming office he had signed an executive order indicating some of his priorities. There was construction of the border wall, the hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and deportation of undocumented migrants.

However, the situation after seven months leaves to be desired. The construction of the wall has not started. Instead of adding 5000 to the strength of Border Patrol officers, it has gone down by 220. As to deportation, the numbers will be less than the previous year.

Effects on different aspects

Los Angeles Times reports that the crackdown on illegal immigrants has shown positive results with illegal border crossings going down by 22% compared to last summer. In addition, the arrest of people who stay in America without legal sanction has risen and they include longtime residents who had become part and parcel of America. Many of them owned properties, paid taxes and raised their families in the U.S.

As to the Mexico border wall, work on it has not yet started and the submission dates for prototypes is shifted to November and source of funding for this massive project is still not clear. Donald Trump had said that Mexico would fund it but that that may not happen.

In view of the drop in illegal entry of migrants, the Trump administration could reassess the need for the wall. In the absence of adequate staff, the Border Patrol would lose its effectiveness.

Shortage of Border Patrol agents

Department of Homeland Security controls federal immigration agencies and President Donald Trump had promised that the strength of the Border Patrol would be increased by another 5000.

The patrol operates from land, air, and water and has with boats, planes, cars, and horses to ensure the security of the 2000-mile southwest border. In order to select 5000, the agency would have to screen about 750,000 applicants because the candidates have to undergo screening reviews and have to clear prescribed drug tests, fitness tests, and polygraph tests apart from a background criminal investigation.

The process is a long one and an official of the human resources at Customs and Border Protection has indicated that there are plans to induct 500 officers next year. If the hiring process is not foolproof, it will lead to induction of those who are below-par. Therefore, efforts are on to get former military and law enforcement officers to join up. Incidentally, the average time to hire an agent used to be more than a year and many would opt out of joining due to the delays. That waiting period is now reduced to nearly half and should help to retain those who are selected. If the Mexico border wall has to be built, then Border Patrol has to be revamped.

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