SAN DIEGO — In Washington, it’s all about the wall. At the border, it’s only part of the story.

Border authorities are struggling with outdated facilities ill-equipped to handle the growing increase in family migrants, resulting in immigrants being released onto the streets every day. The immigration court system is so clogged that some wait years for their cases to be resolved, and lacks funding to pay for basic things like in-person translators. An increase in sick children arriving at the border is putting a strain on medical resources.

But the Washington debate has focused almost exclusively on the $5 billion in wall spending that President Trump wants. Other proposals being discussed keep the rest of the Homeland Security department funding at existing levels.

“The wall is a tool. Unfortunately even if it’s implemented across the border it isn’t a solution to all the problems,” said Victor M. Manjarrez, a former Border Patrol sector chief and now a professor at the University of Texas-El Paso.

Trump has suggested migrants won’t bother to come if he gets his way, making other immigration issues less problematic. Walls and fencing currently blanket about one-third of the border – mostly built under President George W. Bush – and the president wants to extend and fortify them. But contracting, designing and building new wall systems complete with updated technology could take years.

The debate between Democrats and Republicans overlooks major bottlenecks in the immigration system as more families and children traveling alone turn themselves in to authorities to seek asylum, instead of trying to elude capture as almost everyone did just a few years ago. In some cases, migrants are climbing existing border fence and seeking out agents to surrender.

The backlog in immigration courts has more than doubled to 1.1 million cases since shortly before Trump took office, according to Syracuse University. Families and children now account for about six of 10 Border Patrol arrests, but there are only about 3,300 family detention beds and the number of unaccompanied children in government care has soared under Trump.

Border crossers are stuck in short-term holding cells for days and there has been a spike in sick migrant children, including two who died in custody.

In addition, the wall will do little to address the issue of visa overstays – when immigrants come to the country legally and remain here after their papers expire. Authorities say there were nearly 740,000 overstays during a recent 12-month period.