IRLI Report: Border Walls Work in Israel, and Would Work in U.S.

Press Releases

August 23, 2023

Up to 99 percent reduction in illegal migration, 95 percent fewer terrorist attacks  

WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has published a report on the border wall system employed by the State of Israel. This study concludes that such a system of physical barriers is essential to meaningful border security and could be effectively used by the United States.

IRLI team members recently toured Israeli border defenses with guides from the Israel Defense Forces and IRLI Senior Fellow Tom Homan, former Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The purpose was to evaluate Israel’s border walls and barriers in light of the border crisis in the U.S.

IRLI has now produced a report analyzing the data it collected in Israel. The report’s conclusions soundly contradict the spurious notion that “walls don’t work.”

Numbers released by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, and cited in the Harvard International Review, indicated approximately 17,000 African migrants crossed the border with Egypt and entered Israel illegally in 2011. After the border wall system was completed that number plummeted to 43.

“This country takes border security seriously,” Homan said, referring to Israel, “while the Biden Administration unsecured the most secure border in my lifetime, which has resulted in over 100,000 Americans dying from fentanyl overdoses, 1,700 migrants that’ve died on U.S. soil, a record number of suspected terrorists across our border.”

Israel does not have a monolithic border wall, but a wall/fence system tailored to the different challenges and terrain encountered on each of its borders. The results of that system are impressive and unquestionable. The wall along the West Bank border resulted in a 95 percent reduction in terrorist attacks and a 94 percent reduction in the number of people killed as a result of terrorist attacks. The wall system along the Egyptian border reduced illegal immigration from the Sinai Peninsula into Israel by 99 percent.

While walls exist along the United States’ southern border, they only cover about 700 miles of the 1,954-mile border from California to Texas. Despite two acts of Congress to construct a physical barrier—the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, and the Secure Fence Act in 2006—the illegal immigration lobby has largely succeeded in killing the implementation of the physical barriers that border enforcement professionals say is necessary.

“America doesn’t lack the resources to achieve operational control of our southern border, we lack the political will,” said Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s executive director and general counsel. “We discovered in Israel a country faced with a true existential crisis with border security, and they took action to address it. Our country’s open border is creating social and financial chaos, a terrorist threat, and imported drugs that are killing our children, yet we don’t act to protect our citizens. We can and must do better.”

IRLI’s report described a physical barrier at the border as “a necessity if our government wishes to meet its obligation to protect the sovereignty and security of the United States of America.” In addition to stemming the tide of illegal immigration, it would limit growing threats including drug cartels, human trafficking and international terrorists.

“Israel’s comprehensive system of border barriers and crossing points is exactly what border security done correctly should look like,” said Matt O’Brien, IRLI’s director of investigations. “Israel has border security problems that are very similar to those encountered by the U.S. And the terrain along Israel’s borders is remarkably similar to that found along the American border with Mexico. As such, there is absolutely no reason why a system similar to Israel’s could not be successfully employed along our southern border.”

The full text of the report can be viewed here.    

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