“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively — I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” – Donald Trump, during his presidential campaign.
One of President Pussygrabber’s signature campaign promises is to build a huge wall at the US-Mexican Border to deter undocumented immigration which has attracted a lot of support from his supporters. Now that he’s president despite most Americans’ fears and embarrassment, he has a chance to make this border wall a reality. Now I know that many Americans aren’t very cool with undocumented immigration and think a large border wall is a good idea. After all, people apparently think that large physical barriers can keep people from accessing certain places. As of now, there are about 300 companies bidding on it. However, having the border wall in any sense would be a notoriously stupid idea that would waste billions of American taxpayer money. In fact, it would be an utter catastrophe. There is absolutely no evidence that it will be beneficial to anyone. Not to mention, it’s very likely that it’ll inflict tons of needless damage. Common sense alone should tell us that building a wall along the US-Mexican border is an inherently dumb idea. Besides, the reason why so many Americans want a wall built has more to do with racism and xenophobia. My advice to them fearing diversification is suck it up. Minorities just want to live their lives in peace. So if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. Nevertheless, a wall may make these Americans feel safer even if it won’t. But that doesn’t building an incredibly expensive wall to ease their cultural and demographic anxieties because it won’t. Here I list the reasons why we shouldn’t build that stupid wall Trump wants.
- It Won’t Work– This totally obvious in that whenever there’s a border wall, people will always find a way to get past it. It doesn’t keep people out or in. Because they’re merely obstacles that delay people from their destinations. The Great Wall of China didn’t stop the country from being taken over by foreign invaders like the Mongols and the Manchurians who established dynasties lasting for several decades. At least the Great Wall of China’s main asset is its cultural and historical significance as well as the money it generates from tourists. The Berlin Wall surely didn’t keep East Germans from trying to get over it during the Cold War even with heavy security. Because living under an authoritarian Communist regime with little regard for human life pretty much sucks. If you want to know whether Trump’s wall will keep undocumented immigrants, cartels, and so-called deviants out, you can just think of all the ways they can circumvent it, if desperate enough. They can climb over it. They can dig a tunnel under it. They can take a plane and fly over it. Or they can go around it by boat either along the Pacific or the Gulf of Mexico. Just look at the map on the last one. Oh, and border barriers have a tendency to frequently fail.
2. It’s Obscenely Expensive to Build and Maintain– Almost every cost estimate I looked at on Trump’s border wall has ranged from as low as $25 billion to as high as $2 trillion. But in any case, constructing and maintaining the wall will only get more expensive as time goes on. As John Oliver pointed out last March, as “maintenance costs will exceed the initial construction costs within seven years.” Of course, the construction costs would include the building materials, equipment, transportation, and labor. You also have to account for access to infrastructure, source locations for power and utilities, soil conditions, unplanned errors and omissions, regulatory requirements, and weather. With labor, you have to worry about morale and fatigue which can lead to absenteeism, turnover, and crew inefficiencies. Not to mention, in a project spanning great distance, you have to expect labor productivity loss due to continuous mobilization and demobilization such as moving labor, equipment, and materials from one area to another. You should also count for security since there will be activists protesting. In addition, construction megaprojects like Trump’s proposed wall usually go over budget 90% of the time. Once the wall’s built, then you need border patrol including agents on foot, vehicles, and horseback as well as various forms of video surveillance. Because without monitoring the wall wouldn’t be effective. Not that it will be anyway. Then there’s maintenance when it fails or is breach which will often happen adding billions more. But that’s all right because Trump promised that Mexico will pay for it. Though don’t bet on it.
3. Mexico Won’t Pay for It– Mexico knows that building a border wall between their country and US will only hurt their interests. Trump’s border wall has pissed off the Mexicans and soured US relations with the country that its president cancelled a meeting with President Cheetoface. Mexican politicians have even swore about not building it in English. And Mexico’s Catholic church has equated any Mexican building that wall to committing treason. Not to mention, the Mexican economy has shown signs of stress with bordering communities suffering much disruption since the first barriers went up in 2006, including environmental damage and increased business costs due to prolonged crossing times. We should also understand that during the 19th century, we took a lot of their northern territory that now consists of the American Southwest. Oh, and that Mexico is out 3rd largest trading partner. So no, contrary what Lord Cheeto said, Mexico won’t pay for the wall. Not now. Not ever. I am 100% sure that the costs of building and maintaining that stupid wall will fall to American taxpayers. So, Trump voters, you’ve been conned.
4. Environmental Issues– From the Pacific Ocean down to the mouth of the Rio Grande to the Gulf or Mexico, the US-Mexican borderlands encompass some of the nation’s most compelling landscapes as well as harbor some of our most imperiled species including jaguars, bighorn sheep, and Sonoran Pronghorn. Trump’s wall will divide ecosystems and block anything walking, crawling, or slithering in its path, further pushing these and many other species to toward extinction. Open borders are essential for these animals. A wall could isolate these populations, fragment and decimate wildlife habitats, and ultimately threaten one of the most biodiverse areas in the US. Trump’s executive order over the wall threaten to destroy cooperation between Border patrol and public servants who care for many of our public lands there, including national parks, national monuments, and national forests as well as numerous areas of state, local, and private land and preserves. Not to mention it would significantly increase border security damage in these fragile, diverse landscapes.
5. Legal and Community Challenges– We should understand that the US-Mexican border is home to a lot of communities which the wall’s construction will certainly cut through such as San Diego and Brownsville, Texas. But we should also acknowledge that much of the land along the Texas side is privately owned. Sure the federal government could use eminent domain to relegate the private land into public use. But that could result in disputes over compensation. Not to mention, we should account the fact that many of these landowners wouldn’t be happy to part with their land in any case. Texas landowners, in particular, have brought lawsuits against attempts to construct short sections of barriers on their lands during the rush to construction a decade ago. Additionally, borderlands residents have made it clear they don’t want Trump’s wall, particularly the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona, which has villages on both sides of the border and has frequently endured civil rights abuses under Border Patrol officials. And that borderlands residents have elected officials who don’t want Trump’s wall either. Furthermore, during the past 2 decades borderlands communities have put up with intensive militarization including thousands of Border Patrol agents and construction of checkpoints, encampments, surveillance towers and stadium lighting. Trump’s wall could further intensify this to the bane of communities. Not to mention, the wall could wreak havoc on businesses on both sides of the border. If not, then perhaps entire states and localities.
6. Doesn’t Address Complexities of Undocumented Immigration– We should keep in mind that nearly half of undocumented immigrants in the US are those who overstay their visas. Sometimes their visa overstays may not altogether be their fault, especially if they applied for a renewal prior. At any rate, these people entered the country through legal channels so the border wall won’t affect them. Nor do many of them fit into the traditional undocumented immigrant stereotype, since a lot of them all over the world through air. As for border crosses, there have fewer Mexicans and more from Central and South America fleeing violence who don’t attempt to circumvent border patrol. But rather willingly go to entry points and seek asylum or other protections there. As John Oliver said building a wall to solve undocumented immigration, “like wearing a condom to protect from head lice. You could do that. But that’s not really how you keep the thing you’re worried about from happening.” Undocumented immigration from Mexico has been on the decline and most of our nation’s undocumented immigrants have been in the country for at least a decade. Most of the newer undocumented immigrants don’t live along the border but further north in states like Washington, New Jersey, Louisiana, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. If you want less undocumented immigrants from Mexico, your best bet is strengthening the Mexican economy. When Mexico’s economy does well, undocumented immigration declines. Besides, most Mexicans crossing the border usually intend to stay in Mexico and work in the booming manufacturing, healthcare, and education industries in the US. They have no intention of crossing the border. Also, thanks to deportation policies under the Bush and Obama administrations, US immigration courts are already overwhelmed. Renegotiating NAFTA and launching a Mexican trade war might only make things worse.
7. It’s Practically Implausible– During the administration of George W. Bush, the US built about 700 long fence along the US-Mexican border. Not only did Bush’s fence was much more expensive than anyone anticipated, it was extremely challenging to building it. They had to build through people’s property, build around geography, as well as waive 36 laws including the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Building a wall from 1,250-2,000 miles would face the same obstacles at least. Walls and barriers haven’t been constructed in the remaining areas because much of the borderlands are remote and physically imposing. We should that the US-Mexican Border stretches 2,000 miles which includes the Rio Grande and Big Bend National Park. So even if you don’t have to worry about building through San Diego, Brownsville, Texas, privately owned Texas border land, and more, you’d still have topographical constraints to erect any physical structure all the way across. For instance, Big Bend alone has almost 6,000 feet of elevation changes as well as dry and hot late spring and summer days often exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The Rio Grande twists and snakes through the region even more dramatically than the Mississippi so the wall in some locations would be miles from it and not follow the actual border. The river has also been dammed in several places and diverted to agriculture so it’s more of a series of different rivers than a single one. So a giant wall doesn’t seem remotely practical.
8. It Will Hurt Economies– Sure many working and middle class Americans like to blame immigrants and international trade for their economic woes. And I understand many of them prefer simple, concrete solutions like a stupid wall. However, building walls limiting mobility and trade are too simple a solution to a complex problem. Today’s economies are more linked by data, goods, and services exchanges than ever before. Workers even move between countries even with greater regulation than in the past. US economic inequality has less to do with foreigners taking American jobs and more to do with increased automation, decline in labor unions, decline in labor standards, increased deregulation, increased corporate power in almost every facet in American life, and the overall normalization of greed. For instance, income of the 1% has increased dramatically while lower and middle class wages have remained stagnant as the cost of living rises. As 1% incomes increase so does their power as well as their tendency to screw people over without consequence. In addition the mainstream media doesn’t even cover widespread labor abuses like wage theft, workplace endangerment, sexual harassment, employer intimidation, unlivable minimum wages, and other violations. No wall can change these facts. No wall can solve these problems. And I can guarantee that wall or no wall, Donald Trump will not fix them. Not because he’s a total idiot with no idea how the government functions. But because he’s benefitted from these problems along with prominent Republican donors who helped elect him and other conservative politicians. The fact Republicans and the rich have embraced fantastical notions of free-market wishful thinking that has absolutely no basis in reality to justify their anti-labor stances. And that long-standing racist attitudes and poor shaming have made many white voters eager to vote for these politicians who care nothing for them. Your best bet is overturning Citizens United, abolishing right to work laws, raising and indexing the minimum wage to at least $10-$15 an hour, real consequences for labor violators like jail time, and a social culture affirming that employee mistreatment is not okay.
9. It Will Not Protect Against Cartels– Despite that Trump thinks a wall could stop the flow of drugs and guns, evidence suggests otherwise. According to Politico, while the dozen or so official “ports of entry” on the border line are highly regulated and policed, cartels prefer to exploit their predictability and rationality than to scatter their resources across open desert and river expanses. Traffickers carefully study how security operates in each checkpoint so they can observe and instantly respond to weakness. One instance would be when inspections are relaxed in order to speed up traffic flows or when a corrupt inspection officer on duty turns a blind eye. They can also be clever in adjusting their behavior like smuggling weapon parts into Mexico instead of whole weapons. After all, you can more easily conceal parts that don’t contain identification numbers, making them harder to trace. Cartels can also factor and calculate losses through these checkpoints as well. And even on a bad say, cartels still would risk their shipments through checkpoints than put people and product through an unpredictable wilderness.
10. It Will Not Protect Against Terrorists– Trump has often proclaimed that building a wall across our Southern border will thwart terrorists despite that no terrorist has ever entered the country through crossing it. Even the Department of Homeland Security has long held that it has, “no credible intelligence to suggest terrorist organizations are actively plotting to cross the southwest border.” In addition, we should remember that our 9/11 hijackers entered the US legally and since then 80% of those charged with or died while engaging in jihadist-related terrorist activities in the nation were either US citizens or permanent residents. Not to mention, native-born white men committed way more terror attacks on US soil than their jihadist counterparts in that same time span. These findings should indicate that most active US terrorists are homegrown. As for the terrorists who were foreign born, a list of 154 individuals who committed or plotted attacks in the US from 1975-2015 only yielded 1 Mexican.
11. It’s Un-American– According to Fast Company, Trump’s wall can amount to a spectacular land and resource giveaway, including ceding access the Rio Grande and its reservoirs for Mexico which won’t be good for American interests. Nor would it be great for the communities who depend on the Rio Grande for water. But what’s even more Un-American is that Trump’s wall idea mainly finds appeal among those who embrace repugnant ideologies like racism and xenophobia. And it’s mainly driven of irrational fears that have no basis in reality whatsoever. By sealing the Mexican border, the US would turn away asylum seekers from Central America. Many of them fleeing because of violence and persecution. Sending them back their home countries is basically a death sentence. Keeping these people out of the country won’t make it safer and goes against our values. And don’t get me started on mass deportations which I think are very cruel and tear families and communities apart.
12. It’s Unnecessary– As I wrote earlier, many border crossers at the US-Mexican border usually live in Mexico and work in the US. Now if big walls could keep out Immigrants, they could also keep some of them in, particularly these border commuters. Increased border security limits freedom of movement. Besides, if you look at some of the big walls throughout history and around the world today, it’s not clear why we actually need one. After all most of the big walls today were built for military and defensive reasons. I mean we’re not really at war with Mexico and haven’t been since before the American Civil War. That was mostly because we wanted some of Mexico’s lands. And the last time we had any southern border violence was during the Wilson administration. Today we have a pretty nice relationship with Mexico. And building a wall along the border only pisses them off. Besides border communities and ecosystems depend much more on freedom of movement between the US and Mexico and a wall would just hurt their interests. So there’s no reason why we should build this stupid, useless wall. It’s just a massive waste of money and nothing more.
I agree! Its a bad idea for so many reasons. We have more important things to do with our tax dollars!
All excellent points!