One of the more unfortunate comments spouted during the current border wall brouhaha was Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling it "immoral." For the most part things are neither moral nor immoral. They are simply things. Now accusing Trump of "fearmongering" and governing by "temper tantrum" as did Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer is more to the point.
Trump’s wall, concrete or steel slats, is not cost-efficient, effective nor technologically sound (but not immoral.) I mean how about a moat to go with it? Maybe filled with dragons. Some barriers on the other hand may very well be required. What’s missing, as in all things Trump, is a comprehensive plan. Just as with his Syrian withdraw, among other intemperate moves, insisting on building a "magnificent, 2000 mile, 30-foot tall wall" from the Pacific to the Gulf without any consideration of usage, terrain or that in any given stretch possibly electronics, drones, ground-penetrating radar, beefed-up border patrol, etc. is ludicrous. And his demand for $5.7 billion in return for opening the government is not even close to the estimates of the $40 to $70 billion that eventually would be needed.
BTW, his eight wall prototypes, including a steel barrier, built in 2017 were all breached by DHS tactical teams testing them.
There are undoubtedly places a wall or other barrier would work best. Densely populated areas come to mind, many of which already have walls. Even Democrats could buy into this. Meanwhile Trump could claim his Pyrrhic victory, as he always figures out a way to do.
Let’s look at some of the realities of border protection as opposed to the garbage coming out of the administration: First off are Trump’s and the right-wing apparatus’ constant repetition that Democrats favor open borders. Total nonsense. Look at the facts. For years Democrats have worked bipartisanly to strengthen the border and develop a comprehensive immigration policy, most recently offering $25 billion.
Next there’s Trump’s hysteria regarding the flow of illegal drugs from Mexico and his fearmongering about "rapists," "criminals," "terrorists" and other "bad hombres" illegally entering the country. The DEA reports ninety percent of the drugs coming across the border come through tunnels and ports of entry in cars and tractor-trailers which call for more thorough inspections and enhanced scanning devices not a wall.
As to terrorists, according to Customs and Border Protection as of May only six individuals on the terrorist watch list, not the 3,755 cited by the administration, were apprehended on the southern border last year whereas seven times as many, 41, were caught entering from Canada. And for criminal activity, violent crime rates among immigrants are significantly lower than among the native-born according to the FBI.
Finally, Pew Research reports the vast majority of undocumented immigrants in the country, about 10.7 million, falling near its lowest level in years, are here as the result of overstaying their visas. In 2017 alone says DHS that accounted for 700,000 visitors, the vast majority from Canada. Looks like Trump may be worried about the wrong border. Plus, he would have to build a much higher wall to stop all the airplanes.
Trump campaign officials have admitted that the wall was essentially a campaign chant for Trump’s base; a symbol of his strength (ha) that Mexico would pay for which he now denies having said and a message to xenophobes who have a paranoid fear of the invasion of swarthy hordes. Now it’s simply a vanity obsession to fulfill what was an unhinged fantasy in the first place.
There is no authentic national emergency, just a manufactured crisis. If Trump has to equivocate over calling for one, it clearly is not one. Apprehensions are down from 1.6 million in 2000 to 310,000 in 2017, certainly well within our capacity to handle. There is however a humanitarian crisis stemming from migrants legitimately seeking asylum at ports of entry that needs to be dealt with. A wall doesn’t solve that.
As Trump’s budget director, acting chief-of-staff and then congressman Mick Mulvaney put it in a recently resurfaced 2015 interview, wall-as-immigration-policy is "absurd and almost childish."
Without comprehensive immigration reform and a comprehensive broader strategy, an archaic wall is simply a useless monument to political posturing and bigotry.