According to observers, Greenville, S.C. today looks like a ghost town. The Associated Pres reports that when federal agents swooped into the local meat processing plant earlier this week, arresting 330 suspected illegal immigrants, six of them juveniles, they effectively shut down the factory and tore apart the close-knit community. While families wait to hear from loved ones at detention centers, businesses and streets were vacant because those not rounded up stayed home, afraid agents would return.

The climate of fear is a story shared by many towns coming under the recent onslaught of immigration raids by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in states throughout the South. There have been several mass arrests of suspected illegal immigrants in the South in recent months. In August, the largest raid in U.S. history occurred in a manufacturing plant in Mississippi, in which almost 600 workers were detained on suspicion of violations of immigration laws.

In other immigration news, the Texas Border Coalition, a coalition of cities, counties, chambers of commerce, and economic development corporations representing some 2 million border residents, has released an analysis of the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that shows the number of immigrants illegally crossing the Rio Grande in Texas has declined by more than half over the past four years. They point out that the 56 percent decline has occurred even though very little of the Texas border has a fence.

"The Texas Border Coalition has consistently said that border walls and fences won't work. Illegal crossers go over, under, through and around them. The results demonstrate, again, the facts of our analysis," said TBC Chairman and Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster in a press release. "In San Diego, where the Border Patrol has erected double fences and walls, the number of illegal crossing has consistently gone up. In Texas, where there is hardly any fence, the number of illegal crossings has gone down significantly."

The TBC argues that the $50 billion that the border wall and fence will cost America is a waste - to stop the remaining illegal crossings Congress needs to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

Indeed, current U.S. immigration policy - one of heightened immigration raids and border walls - is doing more to create a climate of fear and little to help immigrant workers. In reality, the costly raids end up separating families and tearing up communities, and as we previously reported, border walls result in environmental damage and endanger Texas communities during hurricane seasons.