SPECIAL REPORT | 50,000 illegal immigrants are in Kentucky, but - WDRB 41 Louisville News

SPECIAL REPORT | 50,000 illegal immigrants are in Kentucky, but would a border wall stop them?

Posted: Updated:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An estimated 50,000 undocumented immigrants are now living in Kentucky. An estimated 110,000 undocumented immigrants live in Indiana. 

WDRB News traveled to the Mexican border to investigate how they're getting in, and whether President Donald Trump's promise to build a wall will stop them.

"Maria," a 24-year-old University of Louisville student from Mexico does not want to show her face on camera. She's a so-called dreamer, a young immigrant brought to the United States with undocumented parents.

President Trump said he will not target "dreamers" for deportation under his immigration policies.

"I came to the U.S. when I was 12-years-old," Maria said. "My parents had to pay someone to assist me and my brother and sister to cross the border through Arizona."

Valerie Chinn: "Do your parents worry that they will be deported?"

Maria: "Yes, they do. ... What will happen with us?"  

Maria's father crossed the border many times for work, then her mother followed. The children stayed in Mexico until they were reunited in Louisville, where her father got a landscaping job. 

An estimated 50,000 undocumented immigrants live in Kentucky.

President Trump has repeatedly said he will build a wall at the Mexican border, but many don't realize there's already about 700 miles of fencing there. 

In Los Indios, Texas, a community of about 1,100 people, you can see the high fencing, and there are gaps. 

"The main issue is we have is the two openings here," said Jose De La Rosa, Los Indios Chief of Police. "So there's a great chance that someone that is smuggling or illegal aliens will go through this area faster to get into this city."

Rick Bennett, a Los Indios resident, has lived there for decades and would rather see the estimated $21 billion to build the wall be spent on helping Mexico fight the drug cartels. The wall is just down the street from his house.

"I personally think it's a waste of taxpayer dollars," he said. "It just allows for people to come in. You put a fence to keep people out. The farmers still go ... they still have to access to the farmland."

From the air, with a larger view of the terrain, the fence picks up at other points along the border.

"I think it's not helping," De La Rosa said. "There a lot of openings through this area. I don't think it's helping much. I would like to see it covered and use one opening where law enforcement and farmers can go through."

The estimated $21 billion wall funding is on hold, but the White House is getting $1.5 billion for additional border security. 

The Rio Grande separates Mexico and the U.S. It's curvy, and some think the terrain alone could pose problems for wall construction.

"When it comes to the fence -- any type of technology, infrastructure, personnel -- I think every border patrol agent understands those are the three factors that make our job what it is," Border Patrol Agent Isaac Villegas said. "And we need all three."

Maria wants a way for families to become legal so they don't have to sneak into the country. Right now, she can apply for two-year work visas, but she worries about what will happen to her mother and father. 

"It's honestly something we take for granted," she said of her parents' struggle. "I feel the damage that could cause if they had to leave their home, because this is their home. They have built something from nothing." Maria and others are hoping for immigration reform saying right now, there is no way for undocumented immigrants to become legal.

Tonight on WDRB News at 11, Valerie Chinn shows you the dangerous journey as people make their way to communities like Louisville and the No. 1 reason why undocumented immigrants are getting in trouble.

Related Stories:

IMAGES | WDRB News travels to Mexico border embedded with U.S. Border Patrol

Drugs, undocumented immigrants and human smugglers converge along the Texas-Mexico border

Undocumented immigrants fear they'll be deported from Kentucky

Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

  • Sign Up for WDRB's Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.