EIGHT “carpet shoes” outside Jim Chiltern’s house testify to the frugal innovation of Mexico’s people-smuggling industry. These shoes, bound pieces of denim with soft soles designed to leave no trace in the Arizona desert, have been lost or abandoned by illegal immigrants traversing Mr Chiltern’s 50,000-acre cattle ranch, which stretches to the Mexican border. Mr Chiltern displays them to help convince visitors that, whatever the politicians in Washington may say, America’s southern border is far from secure.

Whether the country gets a long-overdue reform of its immigration system, including a route to citizenship for the 11m illegal migrants now living there, may hinge on this question. The bill currently being debated in the Senate devotes $4.5 billion to border security, including yet more drones, fences and guards with guns. But many Republicans, recalling the multitudes that arrived after Ronald Reagan’s amnesty in 1986, want even more.

via The US-Mexico border: Secure enough | The Economist.