opinion

COLUMN: Trump’s border wall is a waste of money



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President Trump tours the border wall prototypes March 13, 2018, near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego County, California.  Tribune News Service Buy Photos

The temporary spending bill that allowed the U.S. government to reopen will expire Feb. 15, the New York Times reported. Will the government shut down again, or will President Trump abandon his steadfast attempts to build his border wall?

With this question looming overhead it's worth exploring some logical reasons Trump’s border wall will not benefit this country. 

First, let’s talk cost. NBC News reported that Trump claimed the wall would cost $15 billion to build. This number is steep enough, but many disagree. The New York Times reported that Senate Democrats estimate the wall will cost $70 billion, and the Department of Homeland Security estimates it will cost $21.6 billion. 

And this is just the cost to build. Infrastructure like this will require constant maintenance, which Senate Democrats estimate will cost $150 million a year. 

But not all costs will be monetary. NPR reported that the border wall may have severe environmental consequences. Such a wall may affect animal migration and plant pollination, and it may cause flooding and debris build-up. 

And the reality of this all is the wall will likely have very little effect on the volume of illegal immigration into the country. NPR reported that according to DHS, most undocumented immigrants in this country have overstayed their visas. 

This was the case for 670,000 immigrants in the United States in 2017, compared to the 304,000 border apprehensions that year. 

Additionally, a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border will do nothing to stop immigrants from arriving by boat.

Trump claims that a border wall will help decrease the smuggling of drugs into the United States, but very few drugs cross the unprotected border. 

Washington Post reported, that according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection news releases, 25,000 pounds of drugs were seized at ports of entry, 7,600 pounds between ports of entry and 400 pounds at immigration checkpoints. 

And of those that attempt to get around the ports of entry, a wall will likely not stop them. CBP’s news releases also reported the attempted smuggling of drugs over the border by plane. CNN reported a $1 million drug bust that led to the discovery of a 600-foot tunnel under the Mexican border in August 2018. 

I will be the first to admit that our country requires serious immigration reform.The Pew Research Center estimated the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. was 12.2 million in 2017. This is less than half the number Trump suggested when he announced his presidential campaign in 2015. 

Perhaps this country is in need of increased border security, but a wall will not be effective. It is too costly and will not do its intended job. And we cannot become stricter on border security without making it more accessible to enter this country legally. 

Forbes reported that wait times for legal entry to the United States has increased dramatically in the 2018 fiscal year. 

The wait for an I-140 form, which is necessary to work in the U.S., has increased to eight months from three months in 2014. Naturalization wait time increased from 5.2 to 10.2 months. I-130 forms for an immediate relative of a U.S citizen increased from six to 9.7 months.

In addition, the process costs money and is inherently easier for fluent English speakers.

When our country makes it harder to enter legally and increases border security while our president insinuates that those crossing the Mexican border are drug dealers, rapists and criminals, it sends the message that we do not want the people of Mexico in our country.

The concept of the wall is fueled by racist rhetoric and is not an effective way to address immigration reform. 

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