Based on recommendations from border patrol professionals, the Trump Administration requested $5.7 billion in funding to improve and extend physical barriers along the southern U.S. border. Congressional Democrats denied this request, resulting in a shutdown of the federal government lasting more than four weeks in early 2019.

The porous southern border poses a national security risk to Americans as well as a safety risk to the hundreds of migrants who attempt to enter the country daily. One in three women who travel across Mexico in hopes of reaching the U.S. is sexually assaulted along the way. And many migrants bring children with them on this perilous journey, posing a safety threat to these children and creating a challenge for U.S. policy on family and child detention.

Immigrants at the southern border do not all originate in Latin America. Foreign nationals from all over the world attempt to enter the U.S. via the border, sometimes from countries with significant ties to terrorism. Often, it’s clear that migrants have been coached to seek asylum as refugees. Migrants and traffickers know of and exploit the weaknesses in our border security, as well as our immigration laws.

In this special policy focus, IWF Visiting Fellow Sara Carter provides original reporting and firsthand observations from her trip to the U.S. border. Through her conversations with government officials, border patrol agents, and migrants, Sara depicts the gruesome reality of the humanitarian crisis at the southern border. This crisis will only be alleviated when the U.S. acts to secure the border.