CBP says wall is key part of border security, but migrants say it wouldn't stop them

Martha Raddatz reports from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border on "This Week."
4:48 | 01/20/19

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Transcript for CBP says wall is key part of border security, but migrants say it wouldn't stop them
The tug of war over the border wall has stalled government and polarized an already divided congress, and the president's latest proposal doesn't seem to have changed that dynamic, but just how closely does president trump's heated rhetoric about the threat at the border match reality on the ground? This week we traveled to both sides of the border from Tijuana to San Diego to get a firsthand look. We began at a migrant shelter in Tijuana, just miles from the U.S. Border. Migrants live in dire, feted conditions. Our team given masks to protect against illness. It's cramped and crowded here now, but there are only about 300 people. At its peak, this camp held 3,000. As we walked through this tent city, we saw children playing soccer, teddy bears in tents. A woman preparing a meal, signs of an attempt at normalcy in a place that is anything but. 22-year-old Alison Luna told us she fled Honduras after being raped, making the nearly 3,000-mile journey with her three children. This is the only option, she told us, and while she has heard about the trump administration's recent crackdown, she says a wall would not have stopped her. Here on the Mexican side of the border just south of San Diego, the wall extends into the ocean, but that has not stopped the migrants. Last year there was a fivefold increase of interceptions by the coast guard. Back on the U.S. Side of the border, it didn't take long before we saw migrants sneak through in an area where new walls are being built. One man taken into custody as well as a 25-year-old woman fleeing El Salvador with her 2-year-old son as we toured the 14 miles of barriers with the chief patrol agent for this San Diego sector. Is there any part of you where you look at that family and think, oh, I have got to help them? On many, many levels I feel compassion for those people, but I also feel compassion for the people that have been in line waiting to do it right and those people literally just cut in line in front of them. Negotiations over the border have stalled, but Scott says cbp needs that wall. We cannot effectively control the border without barriers to slow down illegal entries. But it's not a silver bullet. Trump claims the flow of drugs would be stopped by a border wall, but the majority of drug traffic comes through legal ports of entry and some through tunnels. A border wall won't directly impact that, but what it does is it allows me to free up personnel to focus on that threat. Apprehensions along the border have declined for nearly two decades, but recently, there has been a dramatic influx in the number of families crossing the border. More than 100,000. This is where they will be brought into. Stretching the resources of cbp at processing centers like imperial beach station in San Diego. Almost 100 arrests just that morning including children. If you come with a child, you will be released within about 20 days. So that's created a factor. Once people figure that out, they don't mind being arrested or incarcerated for a few days because they will be released into the United States. But many migrants are tracked by ankle bracelets after being released. Some of them end up in shelters like safe harbors network in San Diego. Can you tell me your name? Tony. He says his family left Honduras fearing for their lives and this 18-year-old mother who asked us not to show her face on camera, told us she is running from the threat of gang violence. She tells us a wall would not have stopped her. So here's another six beds. Okay. I can guarantee there are more than six in here. Pastor bill Jenkins oversees the migrants in this shelter. I have had people tell me they have crossed 11 borders to get here, and mine is the first place they feel safe, and that's heartbreaking. He says his organization has helped over 7,000 immigrants over the last 2 1/2 years. I haven't come across any of them that are here for any other reason than the fact that they stayed where they were, they would have been killed. They would have been raped. They would have been exploited and I don't care how high you build your damn wall. Immigration is going to continue. Always great to see it for ourselves.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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