There is no question that the human smuggling industry and illegal immigration is dangerous for the migrants, and further undesirable for the receiving country that loses its ability to trace the movement of people across its borders; so why does it happen, and what can be done to stop it?
Actually, Trump, this has been attempted -- and failed -- in the past.
The U.S. fencing in El Paso and near San Diego, and similarly Hungary's border fence in 2015, did not prevent crossings entirely. Instead, the fencing " shifted flows to other locations that were more remote or less fortified. In the U.S. case, as high-traffic urban routes were closed, migrants and smugglers began to cross in the remote and dangerous deserts of western Arizona."
Fencing in El Paso, Mexico
According to Segmented Labor Market Theory, “migration is driven by a demand for immigrant labour that is structurally embedded in modern capitalist economies.” Stricter immigration policies in combination with a strong demand for cheap labor that is easy to exploit and control “creates black markets for migrant labour and opportunities for smugglers and recruitment agents.” Thus, one way to counter smuggling operations is to increase labor market regulations while attempting to decrease the incentives for employing irregular temporary workers. Yet, such efforts may affect many industries negatively in that they push up production costs, and thereby also increase the retail price for consumers (Castle 53).
The agricultural sector is continuously is given as an example of an industry with high numbers of illegal workers
I find the Segmented Labor Theory very interesting both as it relates to human smuggling practices and illegal immigration, and I know it to be true for a least one case: the equestrian industry. Without absolute certainty, I believe it to be a fair estimate that at least 60 percent of the grooms (the people that take care of the horses) at the horse shows around America are illegal immigrants who arrived with the help of a coyote. Yet, at least in regards to this specific example, I disagree with Segmented Labor Market Theory on the notion that what drives demand is a need for cheap labor that is easy to exploit. Most grooms are paid well – up to $1200 a week – for manual labor. Instead, I believe that the reason why there is a demand for illegal workers, at least within the equestrian industry, is the fact that few Americans want to do the job; not because it is an exploitative occupation, but because it is manual labor that require hard and sometimes unpleasant work.
As someone very involved in the equestrian industry, I have been able to interact with some of the grooms that arrived in the U.S. with the help of a coyote; in their minds, there is no point in even trying to enter legally because of the strict immigration policies that the U.S. impose. Using a coyote, therefore, is perceived to be their only option. With this in mind, I believe that the only way to put a halt to human smuggling practices, while I recognize the complexity of such a policy, is to open the door to legal immigration through, for example, variations of guest worker visas. If some sort of companion visa in addition could be granted to the children of the workers, the number of children that cross the border unaccompanied may further see a decrease.
Castles, Stephen; de Haas, Hein and Mark J. Miller. The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World. Fifth ed. 2014. Print.
Jones, Reese. "Borders and Walls: Do Barriers Deter Unauthorized Migration?" Migration Policy Institute. 5 Oct. 2016.
Markon, Jerry, and Joshua Partlow. "Unaccompanied children crossing southern border in greater numbers again, raising fears of new migrant crisis." The Washington Post. WP Company, 16 Dec. 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.
Walser, Ray. "The Human Tragedy of Illegal Immigration: Greater Efforts Needed to Combat Smuggling and Violence." The Heritage Foundation. N.p., 22 June 2011. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.