What’s wrong with a border wall anyway?

Donald Trump promised his supporters that he would build then a big beautiful wall on the Mexican border, and he promised us all, repeatedly, that the Mexican government would pay for it.

Now he’s shut down the government to make sure he gets $5 billion for his ridiculous wall. Oh, he was prepared to take less, but then Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter began squawking, and big, bad Donald Trump cannot stand up to these two.

What’s wrong with Trump’s border wall anyway? Why don’t the Dems just give him his $5 billion and be done with it?

Let us count the ways:

  1. The border wall would be completely ineffective. As several pundits have noted, in the 21st century it really is 20th century technology, and is most likely to be symbolic, and not practical.
  2. A majority of illegal immigrants who stay in this country do so by overstaying their visas after entering this country legally.
  3. Existing border fencing has been cut through, dug under, or even plowed over.
  4. A border wall is immensely more expensive than smart border technology.[1]
  5. A border wall could cause serious environmental damage to the region over which it would be built.
  6. Sealing off the border could have detrimental economic impact to the area by the border by discouraging Mexicans (who currently shop in the United States) from continuing to do so.
  7. Much of the border sits against natural land barriers, including enormous canyon walls and natural waterways, and a wall would do nothing to enhance security.
  8. The United States would have to expropriate some ranchers and other property owners from their land in order to build a wall.

What might smart border enforcement look like?

  1. Enhanced use of drones.
  2. Enhanced use of cameras.
  3. Enhanced use of sensor technology.
  4. Enhanced use of facial recognition technology to recognize immigrants who overstayed their visas.
  5. Enhanced support for the economies and governments of Honduras and El Salvador, where most of the migrants come from.
  6. Enhanced cooperation with the Mexican government to manage population of asylum seekers.

It’s not rocket science, really.  Somewhat unsurprisingly, it does not appear that the Trump administration is actually interested in what would be effective in stopping illegal immigrants from crossing the border. They are only interested in symbolic and pyrrhic victories, in which we get to point our collective fingers at immigrants and blame them for our lot.

A lot of people recognize that Trump’s border wall is mostly symbolic. It was Trump’s promise not only that he would keep immigrants out, but that he’s such a darn good negotiator that he could get the Mexicans to pay for it. Anybody with half a brain new the Mexicans would never pay for it.

There was also an interesting article in the New York Times just the other day suggesting that early on in Trump’s campaign, the border wall was primarily a way to focus his talking points on immigration.

As Mr. Trump began exploring a presidential run in 2014, his political advisers landed on the idea of a border wall as a mnemonic device of sorts, a way to make sure their candidate — who hated reading from a script but loved boasting about himself and his talents as a builder — would remember to talk about getting tough on immigration, which was to be a signature issue in his nascent campaign.

So here we are, people not getting paid, parts of government shut down again, just so that Trump’s mnemonic device can find physical form. That’s your government in 2019, citizens of America.

[1] Based on the Trump administration’s own estimates, each mile of physical border wall would cost $24.5 million. According to leading technology entrepreneurs, utilizing off-the-shelf technology to build a Smart Wall would bring the cost-per-mile down to less than $500,000 per mile.

About a1skeptic

A disturbed citizen and skeptic. I should stop reading the newspaper. Or watching TV. I should turn off NPR and disconnect from the Internet. We’d all be better off.
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