One of the hottest news stories in the American press has been that over the border wall, proposed by President Trump during his campaign, and now resting at the center of a debate that has about one-quarter of the US governmental services in a state of shutdown. We have observed fiery, passionate, and even disgusting levels of rancor and bitterness in the political rhetoric concerning the wall. This debate goes on in the news media, and many of the Americans who watch and listen to this take on the fire of these arguments to even more passionate levels.
However, the passion has largely obscured the actual issue of border security, perhaps by design. As long as people keep fighting over it, it still is not getting done. And while thankfully the American government is designed to work very slowly in determining important matters, here, that trait is being exploited, mostly by Democrats, but also by Republicans and even possibly, President Trump himself.
The motives each side has vary.
President Trump wants Congress to pass wall funding because then it is a legislative act that the Legislative and Executive branches of government agree on. It is unlikely that the Supreme Court will be called upon to test such a resolution for its legality. This is one very significant reason why the President is trying every way possible to get this through Congress.
If he goes the route of declaring a “National Emergency” then, according to a number of sources, the first thing that is likely to happen after the build order is a lawsuit that stops the process in its tracks – probably a land-use lawsuit regarding eminent domain and damage to the properties of private citizens, who for various reasons do not want a barrier built through their lands. This is a problem that the American government has sadly created for itself with a very poor reputation of proper reparations for the invocation of Eminent Domain land claims.
This is the simplest way to explain the raison d’être behind the President’s hesitation to invoke executive emergency powers.
For the Democrats, the motive is interesting. The rhetoric from conservatives, including the President, is that the Dems do not want the wall simply because the “imposter” President wants one.
For anyone who thinks that this is an utterly insane, and indeed, childish, argument, well, you would be exactly right. It is.
It also appears to be true. Evidence for this is shown by the fact that almost every critic quoted by the mainstream press is a Democrat. How is it possible that Democrats have a unique hold on facts that other people just don’t? Even when a Republican expresses a concern about the wall, there is still actual logistical information backing the claim:
Republican and Democratic lawmakers raised immediate concerns over shifting funds that have already been approved by Congress for projects in states across the nation.
Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, a top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said he has been hearing from lawmakers in recent days concerned that Army Corps projects in their states could be canceled or postponed.
(This is a concrete situation that is based on normal concerns about money and not about ideological political views.)
“If they drag the money out of here,” Simpson said in an interview late Thursday, “a lot of members will have problem with it.”
(But now in come the Democrats, and observe as logic leaves and is replaced by fiery language.)
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the incoming chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in an interview that rebuilding the disaster areas is “a way higher priority benefiting the American people than a wasteful wall.”
He said the Army Corps works on dams, levees and other projects across the nation and has an enormous backlog of unfunded needs. “It would be an incredible disservice to the American people and the economy” to divert the money to the border wall, he said.
And Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., said in a statement that it would be “beyond appalling for the president to take money from places like Puerto Rico that have suffered enormous catastrophes, costing thousands of American citizens’ lives, in order to pay for Donald Trump’s foolish, offensive and hateful wall.”
“Siphoning funding from real disasters to pay for a crisis manufactured by the president is wholly unacceptable and the American people won’t fall for it,” she said.
The Republican here spoke without passion, simply saying there is concern about shifting funds for the wall. But the Democrats used incendiary language like “wasteful” and “foolish, offensive and hateful” as adjectives to describe the border wall. Very passionate expressions, which are being repeated ad nauseam by the mainstream press and all of the Democrat party.
The bias most notably and publicly showed in the accusatory language of the Democrat kingpins themselves, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
There is little true “debate” about the border wall. Most discussion on the news media or social media is verbal rock-throwing rather than respectful, honest and fair discussion. As noted before, this may be part of the design to prevent action on the wall.
However there are dispassionate and reasonable arguments that support the construction of this project. Here are some of those reasons:
- A 30-35 foot tall wall running the entire length of the border is probably the cheapest and most cost effective single deterrent to illegal border crossings. Whoever wants to cross the border has to make some provision for dealing with the wall. If that provision is rather difficult, it will dissuade most people from trying it.
- A wall reduces the need for manpower along the border. While it is absurd to assume that the wall alone would keep every illegal immigrant out, it also facilitates efficient deployment of manpower and other means for active border control.
- Even if the wall is not continuous along the entire length of the border (which is likely to wind up as the case), where it isn’t is easier to monitor. This is another aspect of the manpower issue. There are likely to be gaps and open spaces for a variety of reasons. But right now, there are about over 1,200 miles of the 1,954 mile long border that have no barrier present. That is a lot of space to monitor actively.
These three reasons are really so close as to be almost the same exact reason. But the arguments for and against the border wall are being conducted in an apparent context that in order to secure a border, this is all anyone needs to do. This is an absurd idea and is being used to try to deflect action.
- The best border security systems in the world are systems of walls, fences and monitoring facilities. Even the Great Wall of China did not stop all invaders. It deterred a lot of probable attempts though. The wall was also manned so that active attempts to get through it could be stopped in active manners.
- The North – South Korean DMZ and the Berlin Wall are also particularly effective as parts of an overall border crossing deterrent system. The fences, trenches and watchtowers along the length of these two borders create an extremely effective measure to deter illegal crossings. For example, the Berlin Wall stood from 1961 to 1989, a total of 28 years. During that period, only five thousand people crossed that border. The US Border Patrol conducted over 300,000 apprehensions of illegal immigrants crossing the border in 2018 alone.
The imagery of walls like North Korea’s and East Berlin’s are part of the reason why the border wall comes across as an unsavory idea. There is probably no American that does not know this image, and no one in the country like the idea of such a barrier being associated with the United States.
However, that is simply not the issue. The US is not a police state trying to keep people inside. It is dealing with a decades-long stretch of bad policy regarding immigration which will not be stopped except by radical means.
Many families made a very long journey this year in the migrant caravans to try to game the American system. It is understandable that many of these people are trying to get away from bad conditions in the countries they left. But taking advantage of the United States is wrong, and the wrong is shared equally by the actions of the illegals and by the weak posture of the United States herself.
The simplest fact is that only strength assures freedom. A strong border reinforces safe immigration. A strong and effective immigration policy relies on having a tightly controlled border AND an asylum and entry facilitation process that is thorough, lawful and dispassionate. The USA has had this in place in other points of entry, such as Ellis Island. Leaving the Mexican frontier open now is just stupid policy. An integrated, careful process to process would be immigrants as quickly and carefully as possible needs to become part of the new American way of doing things. There is no swifter way to guarantee overall immigration policy change than the construction of the physical barrier along the US-Mexican border.
It does not matter how anyone feels or thinks. Walls work when used rightly. President Trump’s plan satisfies all the required needs for a good US immigration policy as regards the Mexican border.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.