Rewind with me, if you will, to a certain day in 2011. I’m sitting in my eighth grade social studies class, “listening” to my teacher go on her usual rant-of-the-day. Sometimes she’d go on about her personal life, political views, etc. It was almost never about the curriculum. On this day, it was her political views. Joy.
I say “listening” because I was more likely dreaming about the Stephen King book that I wanted to read, but she must have said something that caught my attention because I remember a distinct quote. Instead of instilling in us her views on Obamacare or warning against the dangers of Bill and Hillary Clinton, she was raving about something new:
“They’re coming over here and making a mess of everything,” Mrs. Becky yells to a class of eighth-graders who couldn’t care less. “We need a wall.”
People have been begging our government for immigration reform since long before most of us Northwestern State students were born, be it through stronger border control or faster access to work visas.
However, the idea for the highly-debated border wall can be attributed to President Donald Trump (Daily Wire).
At 13-going-on-14, there really wasn’t much need for me to have my own opinion on Donald Trump’s big wall idea, and even less reason to doubt what Mrs. Becky told me. Once I start to do the research for myself, however, the doubt begins to settle in.
Let’s get started.
Walls similar to what President Trump has suggested have been built throughout history, and they ultimately tend to fail (All That Is Interesting).
Recently, underground tunnels from Mexico to San Diego have been discovered. 13 have been found in the last 10 years (BBC). It’s a bit naïve to think there couldn’t be more.
Additionally, it’s estimated that about 40 percent of undocumented immigrants come via aircraft (Politifact). A wall certainly won’t stop them from coming here illegally; therefore, a wall is not the answer to stopping illegal immigration as Trump keeps insisting.
And if those statistics don’t convince you, check this: the wall could cost anywhere between 12 to 25 billion dollars (Verdict Justia). Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto “made it clear” before the election that the country has no intention of paying for the wall (CNN).
Of course, that didn’t stop Trump from signing an executive order mandating the “immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border,” five days after becoming president (CNN). To his credit, he’s keeping many of his campaign promises—but damn if he can’t settle on a way to make Mexico pay for this thing.
On March 31, 2016, Trump sent a two- page memo to the Washington Post outlining how he intends to have the wall paid for. It stated that if Mexico didn’t comply with “a one-time payment of $5-10 billion,” his administration would “cut off a portion of the funds sent to Mexico through money transfers,” which experts say is vital to their economy.
By October, it seemed he had given up on the one-time payment, instead claiming at a campaign rally that “the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such a wall. OK?” (CNN).
And you know what that means: funding for the wall will come from the pockets of U.S. taxpayers. Folks, we are giving up money we desperately need on a wall that won’t work.
Is America great again yet?