Donald Trump has made building a wall along the southwest border a cornerstone of his administration. Trump has misappropriated government funds including $3.6 billion in money which was allocated for military construction to build the wall, but there is one necessary element missing, “the land.” Congress – even while under Republican control, has repeatedly refused to appropriate the money demanded by the President to fund the project.
There are 1,350 miles of the southern border which is unfenced. He originally wanted to fence 1,000 miles, but has reduced it to “high priority locations.” This land belongs to more than 1,000 private owners, including Native American tribes. The tribes have vigorously opposed the wall for “many cultural, environmental, and historical reasons.” There are several other lawsuits, including one by the National Butterfly Center. The wall itself will be astronomically expensive. The Office of Management and Budget estimates that constructing just 234 miles of a steel wall will cost at least $5.7 billion, with maintenance costs estimated to be at least $864,000 per mile per year. Fencing for the entirety of the U.S.-Mexico border is estimated to cost $59.8 billion, significantly more than the $8 billion price tag Trump estimated during his campaign. The environmental costs are enormous as well: The wall will compromise the habitats of more than 62 endangered species, disrupt protected lands, and exacerbate flooding. The barriers built under the Secure Fence Act have caused flooding in both Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, causing millions of dollars in damages to property. (Center for American Progress, April, 25, 2019).
Everything Trump has given as a reason for needing the stupid wall is blatantly false. The vast majority of drugs simply do not come into the country from the southern border. They enter via legal ports of entry. Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born individuals regardless of documentation. The border wall proposal sets a dangerous precedent for the broad violation of property rights. Every congressman representing a border district oppose continued wall construction. More than 1,000 Texas farmers are prepared to oppose condemnation of their land. The wall is a mirage in Trump’s eyes.
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