The border between Mexico and the United States is 1,969 miles long. Experts say it is more like a shoreline. The currents change from season to season.
Stopping border crossings by people selling drugs is as hard as stopping criminals in any big city. The number of people crossing the border looking for work is way down. Still… where there is a will, there is a way.
Crossers change tactics. Some smugglers are putting Halliburton or FedEx signs on their trucks and passing easily. Fences costing $16 million a mile to build are climbed with ladders rented for $35 a climb.
For example, a fence of 54 miles in the Rio Grande Valley stops when 316 miles of unfenced curving river begins. Even the fence has gated openings.
The Obama administration has poured billions of dollars into border enforcement. It is much more effective than it was ten years ago. No one disputes that.
However, the border is porous. When pressure is applied in one place, traffic moves to another. Better methods by smugglers meet better enforcement. No side wins all the time.
Few people will say what it might take to shut down the border. It would take complete ownership by U.S. and state government of all the land along the border.
That means thousands of acres of grazing land, ranches and private property going from private to public ownership. Observers say Republicans are skeptics of border security claims. But they are not about to seize the land of homeowners to secure the border.
The U.S. can show the border is more secure than ever. They cannot show it is 100 percent secure.