Is Trump’s Border Wall, Good for America?

Illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States has long been a problem that local, State and Federal governments have had to handle. In the United States, there were 12 million Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. in 2016.

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“Approximately 45% of them were living in the country illegally.” (4) However, since 2007, the number of illegal Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. has declined by more than one million. The Secure Fence Act of 2006, signed by President George W. Bush, authorized 700 miles of fencing to be built along various parts of the border. Although there has been a decline in illegal immigration over the years, when Donald Trump campaigned for the presidency he promised his supporters that he would build a border wall between Mexico and the United States stretching almost 2,000 miles. (9) When Trump began his run for President, he quoted, “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 wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.” (11) Currently, there are a little more than 650 miles of barrier along the 1,900 mile’s long U.S.-Mexico border. For the last two years since Trump took office one of his top priorities has been building the border wall, stating that there is a “humanitarian crisis” on the U.S.-Mexico border. He has been so stubborn about insisting on money for the wall that he had the government shut down for 35 days beginning December 22, 2018. Prior to this, the boundary line between U.S. and Mexico had been little more than an imaginary line. In March of 2018, 74% of Republicans believed that building the wall was a good idea, with Republicans living close to the border having more support than those living far from the border. Republicans have long believed that border security should be increased. (8) The border wall has divided the country, but it also helped Trump win many supporters.

Trump believes that “All Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration.” (11) Originally Trump wanted Mexico to pay for the wall. Once it became clear that Mexico would not pay for the wall, Trump began to appeal to the U.S. government to pay for the wall. It is estimated that Trump would need 5.6 billion dollars to build the steel barrier. (11) More Americans oppose building a wall (54 percent) than support it (42 percent), according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken in January 2019. (5) Border support seems to run along party lines with Republicans favoring the wall and Democrats opposing the wall, but there have been several Republicans that have spoken about the wall not being in the best interest of the country. The building of the border wall is not good for America and not necessary. There are several other ways to control illegal immigration from Mexico. There has been opposition to building the border wall from Congress, Mexico and the American people.

The building of a border wall along the U.S. Mexican border wall is not good for America; it will not stop drugs, trafficking, and terrorists and will do little more than waste billions of dollars that can go to other immigration programs. While more should be done to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico, a border wall is not the answer. Congressional opposition to building the border wall and Mexico’s stance against it make it highly unlikely that the border wall will ever be built. Companies who have made bids to build the wall have experienced backlash from the public for supporting the wall. Building a wall will cost an outrageous amount of money and would tear apart the tight-knit towns and cities along the border. While many Americans believe there is a crisis at the border, most believe that building a wall will not solve the problem of illegal immigration. (11) Building a border wall is not necessary and will be a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“There were more apprehensions of non-Mexicans than Mexicans at U.S. borders in fiscal year 2017 .” (4) A question to consider is whether the border wall is necessary and will it make Americans feel safer. Illegal immigrants would find other ways to get across to the United States. There are currently many tunnels dug under the border where families cross in the United States every day. There are other ways to protect the U.S. from illegal immigration and President Trump should concentrate on other matters in the United States that are more pressing than using taxpayers money on a wall. A few years prior to Trump announcing his presidency, a majority of Americans believed building more wall along the border would be a good thing. However, when Trump announced his presidency in 2015, using the building of the wall as one of his major platforms, opinions began to change. The Roper Center iPoll Databank analyzed over 150 polls between 2007 and 2018. There was an average of 43 percent opposed to building a wall between 2007 and 2014. In 2015, opposition increased to 48 percent, then to 58 percent in 2016, 61 percent in 2017 and in 2018, back to 59 percent. (2) Much of the opposition may be due to people’s love/hate relationship with President Trump. The haters are the ones that are disgusted in his views on many subjects including his racist rants he has gone on among other things. Trump’s idea of the building of the wall is just another way that he has discriminated against immigrants and people of color. Opposition to the border wall tends to be divided along the lines of Democrats and Republicans.

The Democrats are very against the border wall which has caused standoffs within Congress and even caused the recent government shut down for 35 days, while most Republicans do favor the border wall. Extending the border wall to run across the entire border is wrong. Nancy Pelosi, Democratic House Speaker believes the border wall is “immoral, ineffective and expensive,” while Chuck Schumer, Democratic Senate Minority Leader was quoted saying the wall was “wasteful” and “doesn’t solve the problem.” (2) While in the past Texas Democrat Filemon Vela, Jr. has stated he supports the wall to combat criminals and drug cartels, he wrote an open letter to Trump in 2016 stating, “Why any modern-thinking person would ever believe that building a wall along the border of a neighboring country, which is both our ally and one of our largest trading partners, is frankly astounding and asinine.” (4) California Democrat Juan Vargas who lives about 10 miles from the border in Tijuana believes there is no crisis. He quoted, “I live along the border, about a little over 10 miles from the border.

It’s San Diego. I mean, it’s basically paradise,” he told CNN. “The notion that we have a crisis there, security crisis, is absolute nonsense.” (4) Arizona Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick told the Arizona Public Media when she was sworn in recently, “We don’t want a wall in southern Arizona. A third of our economy comes from Mexico. We want to build bridges not walls.” (4) Texas Republican Will Hurd stated, “I think building a concrete structure sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security.” (4) Besides the strong opposition, there are also many reasons the border wall will not be effective in preventing illegal immigration from Mexico. When illegal immigrants cross the border, legally they can still claim asylum where they enter. The border wall would not stop illegal immigrants from getting in the United States. The number of illegal immigrants held at the border is the lowest it has been in decades. Most illegal immigrants do not get into the United States by sneaking over the border. Most immigrants get into the United States legally by obtaining visas. What often happens next is that they don’t return to Mexico after their visa’s expire. The Department of Homeland Security estimates “that of the 45 million immigrants who entered the U.S. by air or by sea on tourist or business visas that expired in 2015, roughly 416,500 were still in the country in 2016.” 

In May of 2017, David Bier of the Cato Institute stated in a cover story for Reason that “A wall not only will do nothing to stop [visa overstayers] from entering, but it may actually incentivize more people to stick around without authorization.” (6) The Center for Migrate Studies noted in 2016 and 2017 in a press release that “visa overstayers accounted for 62 percent of the newly undocumented, while 38 percent had crossed the border illegally.” (6) The report continues to state that “visa overstays have significantly exceeded illegal border crossings” for the last seven years. (6) Trump should concentrate more on the temporary visa problem, rather than spending billions on building a wall. The wall will not have much of an effect on those already in the country other than maybe preventing them from leaving. In Trump’s executive order signed in January of 2019, he stated that his proposed border wall was supposed “to prevent illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, and acts of terrorism.” (1) There are so many problems with the immigration system that building the border wall will not solve. The border wall will not stop illegal drugs from entering the United States. Most illegal drugs that enter the United States enter by legal ports of entry. The wall will not solve the terrorists that Trump thinks are sneaking into the country through the Mexican border.

There are no facts to show that any terrorists crossed the southern border into the United States. Homegrown extremists are the biggest problem of terrorism in the United States. The border wall would not protect the United States from homegrown extremists. The Department of Homeland Security has held that there was “no credible intelligence to suggest terrorist organizations are actively plotting to cross the southwest border.” (1) There is no proof that terrorists have entered the United States by crossing the border. Other reasons that building the border wall is bad for Americans include the strain the wall would cause to local border communities. When the first part of the wall was built by President Bush in 2006, the border communities suffered greatly which included environmental damage due to the construction and the time and money lost due to the increase in time to cross the border. If Trump builds his wall it will cause similar problems in all of the border communities. The money for the border wall should be used on things like the immigration courts. With the immigration courts already dealing with massive deportation caseloads backed up for years, the immigration courts are a place in much more urgent need than the building of a border wall. The wait time for an immigration hearing can average three years, which keeps illegal immigrants in the country longer.

President Trump should not view the border wall as such a threat. It is a place where the United States can interact with the rest of the world. The border is a place where Americans can become stronger by interacting with the rest of the world. Building the wall will not solve the illegal immigration problem in the United States. The majority of Americans, including Congress and Mexico do not want the wall to be built for many reasons including the exorbitant cost and that it is just wrong. Many politicians are against the wall, with those in the South being more vocal about their concerns due to the southern states relying on Mexico to help their economy.

The problem with immigrants not returning to Mexico when their visas expire, needs to be addressed more than the building of a wall. With many Mexicans not returning to Mexico after their visa’s expire, President Trump should start stricter restrictions to discourage Mexicans from staying in the United States. The problem with illegal drugs, drug trafficking and terrorists will not be solved by building a wall. These criminals will always find a way to enter the country illegally. President Trump should give up his idea to build the wall and meet with politicians to discuss a mutually agreeable solution to tackle the illegal immigration problem. Unfortunately, he is so stubborn that this will probably never happen.

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