In-Depth Debate Topics: Immigration and The Wall

As promised I’m back with another installment of the in-depth look at important topics from the 2016 Presidential debates. This time we are talking about immigration, specifically the proposed wall across the US-Mexican border. 

            Now lets get something out of the way, I am not from any of the states that border Mexico, in fact I live in the North-East in a state that shares a border with Canada. As such when I talk about anything involving other parts of the US I am quickly dismissed as another one of those “Northeastern Liberal Elites.” (I’m not kidding, I’ve ben called that a handful of times.) So take this as you will, but here is my view on what is wrong with the proposed “Border Wall”.  (For a really great take on why the wall won’t work, check out this clip).

            The Republican parties nominee for president, Mr. Trump, has proposed building a wall across the US-Mexican border in order to end illegal immigration. That plan is ill conceived at best. Lets start with the financials. Trump wants a wall spanning the 2000-mile border, that will rise anywhere between 30 and 50 feet tall. Being the expert builder that he is, he claims he can get it done for between $8 and $12 Billion. Experts, and members of the US government seem to disagree. 675 Miles of the border have already been built, as a result of the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Its expected that the rest of the wall will cost roughly $16 million per mile, coming out to anywhere between $15 and $25 Billion total.  That’s just to build the wall, then there is an expected maintenance of about $750 million a year. All of that is if we don’t want the wall to be manned by border patrol agents. In that case it would likely be another $1.5 Billion. I’m not saying the wall couldn’t work, I’m just saying that for a candidate who talks about lowering the debt, it wouldn’t really accomplish that.

            Though if you believe Trump, Mexico will pay for the wall. He is adamant about this, even thought Trump got into a near pissing match with the Mexican president on twitter over this same issue. Mexican president Nieto has repeatedly said that they will not pay for the wall, meaning the burden would fall on the US. Though it was reiterated that illegal immigration and the border were an issue that both nations needed to work on together.

            Trump’s wall stems from an inherently xenophobic idea that these “illegals” are al “criminals and rapists” as Trump has called them. Again, I am against illegal immigration, but I believe that a wall across the southern border is not going to change anything. There needs to be a better path to citizenship and a better immigration system.  But that doesn’t detract from the argument at hand. Its estimated that 40% of illegal immigrants entered the country legally. They entered with valid visas and just never left when their visas were up. Trump completely ignores these illegal immigrants in favor of radical rhetoric that swept him into power that he couldn’t pivot away from if he wanted to.

            All of this only takes into account one aspect of Trump’s proposed Immigration Policy. Lets not forget his proposed religion test, and the proposed ban on Muslim immigrants. Which are unconstitutional and morally corrupt for a whole host of reasons that we are not going to get into here.  Stay tuned for installment three coming soon…