Why the United States should not Construct a Wall
The United States of America contains a nation immigrants. Each one of us, unless Native American, are all immigrants. But for the past centuries, attitudes towards immigrants have cycled between favorable and hostile which has also influenced the immigration laws. According to the ACLU the fundamental constitutional protections of due process and equal protection embodied in our Constitution and Bill of Rights apply to every person, regardless of immigration status. President Trump has made sure to build a border wall as part of his immigration agenda to ensure that no entrants come in to our country unlawfully. He captured the imagination of many American voters with a single campaign promise. “I will build a great wall on our southern border,” he also stated “I will have Mexico pay for that wall” he said the wall would be between 30 and 50 feet and that it would be aesthetically pleasing. The border between The United States and Mexico stretches for nearly 2,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean and touches the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The wall will not put a stop to human trafficking or drug smuggling instead it will only offend México and could have a negative impact on the economy. Not only will this negatively impact people but it can cause animals living on the border line to go instinct such as the Mexican gray wolf.
The United States of America is a nation of immigrants. In terms of economic growth, immigration has made this country into a world power. President Trump believes that in order to restore the rule of law and secure our border, constructing a border wall would be the best way to go. I believe that the border wall would not be as effective as he hope it would be but it would put The United States of America further into debt. According to usdebtclock.org, the U.S national debt is now estimated to $21 trillion dollars. An internal report made by the Democratic staff of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said that the border would cost approximately to $70 billion to build and $150 million a year to maintain. They also found that the construction of the wall would require hundreds of acres of private land at a cost of millions to taxpayers. They have also been informed that that the $15 million reprogramming for the wall prototypes are funds being spent from the Mobile Video Surveillance System within CBP. Billions of dollars that can be put to use for more important issues.
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Mexico is the third-largest trading partner of the United States. American businesses export $231 billion in goods to Mexico annually, and the overall trade number is $525 billion, which represents 14% of America’s total trade volume. Trump has insisted throughout his campaign and presidency that Mexico will pay for the wall. Peña Nieto has insisted his country will not, and he canceled his first visit to Trump’s White House after a Twitter stand off on the issue. Americans also rely on the labor of undocumented migrants who often cross the US-Mexico border. A 2017 Pew report shows that more than 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the US. And they comprise roughly 5% of the US workforce. They also found more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. than coming into the U.S. Trump’s border wall would also be bad for American businesses, America’s taxpayers, and America’s environment. Trump is trying to get the American tax payers to pay for something that they don’t want: 62% don’t support the wall, according to the Pew Research Center.
The promise of a border wall from President Trump has renewed concerns for some south Texans whose private property lines end at the banks of the Rio Grande. The wall could seal some Americans on the “Mexican side” technically on U.S. soil, but outside of a barrier built north of the river separating the two countries. Landowners could lose property. Regardless of whether the new administration seeks to close the gaps in existing fences or build a whole new wall, some believe the wall will leave them cut off. They’ll be on the opposite side from friends, neighbors, and the rest of the United States. One thing that really touched me about the border wall between the US and Mexico being made out of a fence and not a concrete wall is that some families that are separated between the border fence in San Diego and Tijuana often gather there to exchange whispers, tears, and jokes with relatives on opposite sides. Some were deported to Mexico after having lived in the United States for decades without authorization, leaving behind children, spouses, siblings, and parents. Although many people living in the valley of Brownsville Texas say the fence doesn’t work, While the region is one of the Texas Democratic Party’s few strongholds there’s a widespread opposition there to build a bigger wall. People have lived next to the river for generations, and residents of both sides cross bridges to work or shop daily. People who live closest to the river routinely see border crossers walking up to their homes. One resident said he’s seen people scale the border fence that divides his backyard and jump down in seconds. Sometimes they carry bales of what appear to be drugs.
A new and improved “Aesthetically pleasing” 55 foot concrete wall will have little to no impact on the war against drugs and migrant smuggling as long as there is money to be made. Where agents and politicians see future walls, these traffickers and smugglers see ladders, ropes and the promise of higher profits. When prosecutors see adult smugglers going to jail, they see hard to jail juveniles replacing them. And where politicians see more agents protecting the border, they see potential accomplices who can be bribed to look the other way. According to a 2015 report by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, 95% of drugs coming into the US were entering via container ships and other vessels. The government’s own reports show that drug smugglers mostly bring their product into the United States through ports of entry not across the river where the wall would be built and the smugglers have a good system for sneaking it past the checkpoints that run along the highways leading away from the border. Walls won’t stop that or the drugs that are flying aboard drones, flung through catapults, shot out of cannons or sent in the mail they also use submarines, ultralight planes and even frozen sharks to transport products across the US-Mexico border. According to a Department of Homeland Security report issued in September, fees paid to coyotes have skyrocketed from about $1,000 to $3,000 a decade ago to as much as $8,000 for Mexicans and Central Americans today. That doesn’t include fees and bribes paid for traveling through Mexico to reach the border. The coyotes have used their profits to finance the construction of tunnels and “cloned” cars and trucks made to look like federal vehicles.
Building a wall will not only have a huge impact on people but it will also have a negative impact on the environment and the animals that live around it. The effects of building a massive concrete wall range from increased emissions to blocked wildlife migration routes. Architects have called the border wall a “pharaonic project” and a misplaced infrastructure priority. Environmentalists say it will continue to cut off the flow of water and wildlife in a changing climate but is little more than political grandstanding that won’t keep out people.
The production of cement, the material that holds together concrete, is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Billions of dollars already have been spent on the existing border fencing, with little to no environmental oversight. Environmental groups say that migration corridors are crucial for the recovery and survival of wildlife along the border. They’ve spotted wolves, ocelots and even jaguars along the border walls. A study written by Lasky and co-authors in 2011 estimated that 134 mammal, 178 reptile, and 57 amphibian species live within about 30 miles of the line of which 50 species and three subspecies are globally or federally threatened in Mexico or the United States. And they survive only because people on both sides have worked hard to conserve them. Cutting off animal populations in this fashion leads to reduced gene flow and inbreeding leading to a greater risk of extinction.
There is no reason why a wall should be built. This will only put the United States into further debt. This will waste money, resources and time. It could also negatively impact social structures on some individuals and even threaten animals that go between The U.S. and Mexico. Not only that but Mexicans are smart and will always find another way to get into the United States they can use planes, boats and underground tunnels. The United States is going to be flooded with drugs, criminals and violence regardless if the wall is made out of fencing or concrete, it doesn’t matter how high or how deep the border between the United States and Mexico is smugglers and traffickers will always find another way. Most Mexicans are not drug lords or criminals they are human beings just trying to have a better life. Immigrants, like the ones that come from Mexico don’t put their lives at risk for no reason other than escaping a corrupt government, not wanting to live in fear, and wanting to move their children to a safer environment for a brighter future. They just want to find a better life in the United States. Therefore, building a wall between Mexico and the U.S. is unnecessary because not only will it put the United States further in debt but it isn’t going to stop immigrants from illegally crossing.
- Immigration, The White House
- Bier, David. Why the Wall Won’t Work. Cato Institute. 2017
- Immigrant’s Rights: American Civil Liberties Union
- S. Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, Border Wall Report
- Root, Jay. Texas Smugglers say Trump’s Border Wall Wouldn’t Stop Immigrants, Drugs From Pouring Across the Border. Texas Tribune. 2018
- Salay, Mark. Would a Mexican-U.S. Border Wall Help or Hurt the Economy?. Marketplace.org. 2017