Insights into Editorial: Trump signs order to begin Mexico border wall in immigration crackdown
Since his swearing-in as President, Trump is wasting no time in enforcing his numerous campaign promises. One such order is the use of federal resources to construct a Mexican border wall.
How long will it be?
The border with Mexico is roughly 1,900 miles long and spans fours state: California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
Why build a wall in the first place?
Trump’s thinking is that a giant wall dividing Mexico and the United States will restrict illegal immigrants’ entry into the country, as he feels the border patrol as it currently stands is weak and letting too many, as he puts it, “rapists” onto American soil. Trump estimates the cost of the construction at $8 billion.
What state is the current wall in?
Currently 652 miles of the 1,954-mile U.S. Mexico border has some amalgamation of walls, fences and other barriers. In areas closest to cities the wall has multiple layers. The wall is the weakest in more desolate areas and in some areas there is no wall at all. This is frequently because the terrain already provides a natural barrier, such as the widest parts of the Rio Grande River or steep mountain ranges.
Why this wall would be least effective?
- Analysts believe the majority (possibly vast majority) of illegal immigrants enter America by air. There are two kinds of illegal immigration. President Trump’s rhetoric focuses on “entries without inspection.” But most illegal immigrants actually arrive in America with a visa – and then simply don’t leave. These are called “overstays.”
- Also, the states where illegal immigration is growing are not on the Mexican border. The states with rising illegal immigration are Washington, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts and Louisiana. Texas, New Mexico and Arizona have seen no significant, measurable increase in illegal immigrants. And California, Nevada, Illinois, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina have seen their illegal immigrant population decline. A border wall does not address the growth of illegal immigrants, as to the extent illegal immigrants are working in the U.S. they are clearly not in the border states.
- Besides, the number of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. is actually declining. There are more Mexicans returning to live in Mexico than are illegally entering the U.S. Between 2009 and 2014 over 1 million illegal Mexican immigrants willingly returned to Mexico where working conditions had improved and they could be with family.
- Americans also seem divided by the wall. According to a poll 47% of voters support building a wall, with 45% against. Critics say the wall proposal is pointless because, among other things, most drugs smuggled into the United States pass through legal entry points and are not transported through the desert.
Free movement between the US and Mexico is not just a human issue. What would the construction of a wall mean for animals that live near the border?
The US-Mexico border region is a delicate ecosystem with regular animal and bird migrations moving between the north and south of the American continent.
- A number of species need to cross the border to mate with their genetically different cousins, including the endangered North American jaguar and black bears, which would be threatened without being able to mate with Mexican bears.
- The wall would also have to take into account natural flooding zones as well as large areas of sand, where the ground effectively moves.
- Then there is the detrimental impact to the landscape of a massive construction project – digging, road building, and the appearance of a concrete wall up to 50 feet high.
What can be done?
If the main intention is to stop illegal border immigrants into the U.S., the best (and least costly) policy would be to cooperate with Mexico to capture these immigrants as they flee Central America and find a solution for either housing them in Mexico or returning them to their country of origin. It is ridiculous to expect Mexico to pay for a wall when it is not Mexico’s citizens creating the purported illegal immigration problem on the border.
- If the administration would like to stop illegal immigration the best way is to help Mexico create more high-paying jobs (say with a trade deal like NAFTA) so they don’t come to America, and those in America simply choose to go to Mexico.
Experts see these as are draconian steps that, taken together, will convert the border into a fortress, tear apart families and communities and harm sections of the economy that have come to depend on undocumented labor. And they would do little to make the nation safer, Trump’s purported goal. Therefore, in the overall national interest, it is necessary to rethink and come out with a comprehensive policy in this regard.