Is Trump’s obsession with “The Wall” really worth the costs?
By Sparta Live | January 7, 2019 7:16 am
Democratic Dialog – By Debra Wines
By the time this column is published, the government may have re-opened. As I am writing this, the chances are not looking that great. Trump’s “Wall” has been highly controversial since he first came up with the idea, during his presidential campaign. His promise that Mexico would pay for it wasn’t believed by a majority of people on both the left and the right. It was popular among his supporters who firmly believed Donald Trump was the best negotiator in the world, and he would make Mexico pay for his border wall. It was always a great campaign sound bite. Even people who thought the idea of a stronger border wall was a move in the right direction to curb the flow of people from Mexico and Central and South America from crossing our border illegally, they were unsure of Trump’s promise that the American taxpayer would not ultimately be paying the costs. Shortly after Donald Trump was elected, Mexico declared they would not be paying anything for Trump’s proposed border wall, and they pretty much told him his idea was ridiculous.
From day one, Trump’s border wall proposal has been fraught with numerous questions: where it would be built; what type of wall would be built; how much it would cost; and who would really pay for it? For the past two years, the Republicans have had the majority in the Senate, the House, and the White House, yet they could not agree on immigration issues or how to fund Trump’s wall. Republicans and Democrats have budgeted money for increased border security, but they still haven’t come out with any viable immigration reforms. Congress has been kicking this “can” down the road for too long, no matter which party was in power. Immigration has many facets, but right now the security of our south border and immigrants coming from Mexico and Central and South America has center stage. Donald Trump is not concerned with government reports that show immigration from those countries has been declining over the past decade.
Mr. Trump is also not concerned those same reports indicate that more than half of the illegal immigrants in our country right now are people who have overstayed their original visas. Reports also show people coming in from other countries, illegally, via ports of entry on the East, West, and South coasts, along with illegal drugs and human trafficking. We have seen reports of elaborate tunnels the border patrol agents have discovered. Obviously, a wall of any material will not stop tunnels from being built. We are not the only country dealing with people escaping political chaos, genocide, and wars in their homelands. Those refugees are desperate and will do anything to get themselves and their families to some kind of a safe haven. Who could blame them? Isn’t that why so many of our ancestors came to America?
There are other considerations that must be addressed regarding Trump’s wall. One of those is the cost of buying up privately-owned property along the border to construct his wall. If private owners don’t want to sell their land, which might have been in their families for generations, the government can and will use eminent domain and basically take the land. There are also areas along the border where it is not feasible to build a wall of any kind, including mountainous areas and rivers. Whether Donald Trump has listened to experts and understands these concerns is another question. We know he does not like to be told “no” under any circumstances. Mr. Trump still has a blind spot when it comes to accepting the limitations of his power as the president of the United States.
An ego can be a healthy thing, but when one’s ego dictates everything, then that ego is dangerous. We have hundreds of thousands of government workers who are furloughed or doing their jobs but not receiving their paychecks. This isn’t a minor inconvenience for those workers or the businesses that rely on their paychecks. The average pay for government workers is around $45,000 a year. Most of those people live paycheck to paycheck like the current majority of working Americans. Their jobs and paychecks depend on Congress to keep the government open. Whenever Congress and/or a president reaches an impasse on funding bills, it seems the first thing they choose to do is shut down all or parts of our government. This is an insane way to run our government and an insult to the American people. Our elected officials continue to get paid, but the people that do the everyday work don’t, and the ripple effect of Congress’ decision spreads out like a cancer. In my honest opinion, shutting down our government should never be an option available to our legislative and/or executive branches.
Donald Trump claimed he would own this latest shutdown because that’s how much $5 billion for his wall means to him. When Congress realized that they could not come to an agreement, even on a separate bill for increased border funding, Donald Trump dug his heels in and refused to budge. Mr. Trump relinquished any responsibility for the shutdown. The problem facing Congress is how are they supposed to negotiate anything when this president constantly changes his mind about how much money he wants and exactly what he wants to do with the money. Again, it is an insane way to run our country.
Various polls, from both the right and the left, have shown the majority of people do not approve of Trump’s proposed wall. They do agree that the immigration issues must be addressed, and we do need better security on our borders and ports of entry. Several Republicans support the need for more judges to hear immigration cases. The delays and separation of children from their parents, especially ones seeking asylum, may come at an unacceptable cost for all Americans.