Fact Check: Is the Border Wall Causing Immigrant Deaths?

Fact Check: Is the Border Wall Causing Immigrant Deaths?
Fact Check: Is the Border Wall Causing Immigrant Deaths?

Border walls can be dangerous. Over 200 people died trying to cross the Berlin Wall – shot by guards, blown up by mines or torn apart by attack dogs. Hundreds more died along the Iron Curtain; thousands have lost their lives at the border between North and South Korea.
Still, people kept risking their lives trying to get out of communist dictatorships. But, according to Democrat mouthpiece Beto O’Rourke, our own wall on the Mexican border is also killing people – even though it isn’t lined with minefields and automatic guns. Is the US border really killing people who try to cross it? Let’s have a look.


  • First, there isn’t much of a wall. Most of the US/Mexico border is marked by chain link or welded mesh fences. Sections of wall have already been built, but they’re mostly at places where high numbers of people try to get into the US illegally.
  • Walls are effective at stopping illegal immigrants. Between 2006 and 2008 several sections of wall were built around EL Paso; last year President Trump signed an executive order authorizing another stretch. The El Paso sector of the border is one of the top five for illegal immigration attempts (and it’s also in Beto O’Rourke’s district). Since the walls were built, the number of people trying to cross has fallen – but O’Rourke says more of those who do try have died.
  • The thing is, there’s nothing on the US border walls that could kill them. If you tried to escape from East Berlin and somehow survived the dogs, mines and razor wire, the guards in the towers would shoot you. Try to get into the US and the Border Patrol will detain you, give you a meal and accommodate you while someone decides if you can stay in America. We’re not shooting at people from guard towers.
  • What’s actually happening is that the most determined lawbreakers aren’t getting the message the wall is supposed to send – that if you want to come to the US, you should do it legally. Instead of going through the proper immigration process they’re trying to cross dangerous stretches of the Chihuahuan Desert. The temperatures are brutally hot in the day, often bitterly cold at night and there’s little water. It’s easy to die in the desert. Unfortunately some people leave caches of water and other supplies in the desert, which just encourages more illegals to make the attempt – and they often die because they don’t find a cache.

Beto O’Rourke is talking nonsense. It isn’t our border wall that’s killing people; it’s their own refusal to obey the law. The fact is that illegals are dying in places where there isn’t a wall, because that’s where they can get across. The solution is obvious – build a wall along the whole border. That won’t just solve our illegal immigration problem; the evidence cited by O’Rourke says it will actually save lives.