19th Feb 2018
As an immigrant, especially if you are from Mexico, you should be well aware of Trump’s “border wall.” The aim of the border wall is of course, to prevent illegal entry into the United States from Mexico. The reality is that there is actually an existing “virtual wall” in-between the US and Mexico and it is known as the “Mexico-United States Barrier.” It consists of a series of smaller walls secured in-between them by a virtual fence with border patrol and surveillance cameras monitoring these areas 24/7.
The Costs Of Building The Wall
In contrast to the virtual nature of the current Mexico-United States Barrier, Trump’s plan is to create an actual physical deterrent to unauthorized border-crossings. In fact, this has been one of the Trump administrations main platforms of governance. Basically, the plan boils down to constructing larger, more contiguous wall that actually physically separates Mexico from the US.
During the start of his term as president, Donald Trump continuously declared that the wall, estimated at around $8 to $12 billion in terms of construction expenses would be paid for by Mexico. Of course, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto promptly replied that his country would not pay for this wall. With that the Trump administration still pushed on with its plans and signed in Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Executive Order, 13767 in order to begin construction on the said border wall.
To give you a point of comparison, the current 650 miles of border wall that already exists between the territories of Mexico and the US cost $7 billion to construct. The current structure is neither high nor intimidating enough to be considered either “powerful” or “impenetrable,” two adjectives that Trump himself used in order to describe his prospective border wall.
To quote: “I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I build them very inexpensively.”
Of course, the initial projected cost of building the wall itself hardly tells the whole story. Related costs including lifetime maintenance and pedestrian and vehicle fencing are expected to drive the actual cost up to $50 billion.
Justifications For The Wall
Still, the construction of the border wall is not without its logical rationale. The current virtual wall separating Mexico from the US has simply not been effective at its intended purpose: preventing illegal immigration. To reinforce this statement with actual numbers, the Trump administration claims that the US loses $113 billion a year in income tax revenue due to overspending on health, education and welfare programs.
With that said, the very existence of a border wall definitely sends a negative message to the rest of the world. It is basically an oversized, glorified “keep out” sign to the entire world – quite a powerful negative message given the fact that the US was once heralded as a beacon of hope for people seeking to gain a new life outside of their home country.
Not A Real Solution To Illegal Immigration
Furthermore, the border fence itself, while costly to construct and maintain, may only act as a deterrent against illegal immigration. There are various workarounds to the border wall including the use of wire cutters, digging underneath the barrier using complex tunnel systems, climbing it, circumnavigating it through the gulf of Mexico, or perhaps the most notoriously effective method of all, simply flying to the US and then overstaying one’s Visa.
Therefore, many Americans feel that the border barrier is not and will not be as effective as Trump claims it will. It will act as nothing more than a stopgap measure towards a bigger problem – US immigration policy. Perhaps, the only and best solution to the current problem of illegal immigration would be comprehensive immigration reforms.