By Shuzhen Deng ‘18
During the presidential election, President Donald Trump had promised the public to build a wall separating America and Mexico in order to keep undocumented Mexican immigrants from entering the U.S. It turns out that he wasn’t joking; he kept his word and is taking action.
“I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me –and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words,” said Mr. Trump, during his candidacy announcement speech in June 2016.
Building a border wall was only a step of Mr. Trump’s plan to limit illegal immigration of undocumented immigrants, which are mainly Mexican.
On January 25, 2017, five days after he took office, he signed two executive orders directing the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border, boosting border patrol forces and increasing the number of immigration enforcement officers who carry out deportations, according to the CNN News.
The U.S. border with Mexico is roughly 2,000 miles long and underlines four states, from California to Texas, more than half of it along the Colorado River and Rio Grande, according to the CNBC.
The budget for the wall changed over time with a range from 12 to 40 billion dollars as different experts estimated the cost. However, the recent cost of the wall was presented by Stephen Colbert on “The Late Shows” on March 10 to be a total cost of $2 trillion, which include the payment of 12,000 workers, portable concrete plants, a road next to the wall, the cost of draining swamps along the border and extra decoration to make the wall looks “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful,” as Mr. Trump said in his speech, according to The Washington Post.
However, it seems like Mr. Trump’s plan isn’t running smoothly as Mexico refuses to pay for the wall. According to The New York Times, outspoken former Mexican president Vicente Fox slammed President Trump’s plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico, calling the idea “stupid” and “crazy.” Given that, it seems like the U.S. Government will pay for the border wall, and it would lead to huge debt for our country. The Washington Post reported a draft of the president’s budget proposal included several sources of funding for Trump’s signature Mexico wall, including cuts to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Coast Guard, and the Transportation Safety Administration, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.
With all the conflict and the cost of building a border wall just to limit the migration of undocumented Mexicans into America, it seems that it wasn’t worth the money and time.
According to a Buzzfeed article on “11 Things $25 Billion Could Pay For Other Than A Wall,” $25 billion was an estimated cost made by Buzzfeed. Instead of using the money to build a border wall, the money can help “To Make America Great Again” by providing 40,000 grants of $625,000 to support medical research, end all homelessness in the USA annually, pay for college for 200,000 students in the US, plant a tree for one of the every 324,420,000 people living in the US, provide 50,000 small businesses in the US with $500,000 grants, etc.
Mr. Trump claimed that many undocumented immigrants are taking jobs away from U.S. citizens, as they are willing to work at a very low wage. If he completely banned Mexican or other immigrants from coming to the U.S., surely, there would be many jobs available for Americans. However, business may start to collapse, as cheap labor isn’t available.
In addition, there’s little or no evidence undocumented immigrants take jobs away from native-born Americans. According to the Newsweek, the United States already allows a significant amount of legal immigration from Mexico under the “guest-worker” program—1.6 million entries by legal immigrants and 3.9 million by temporary workers from Mexico over the past 10 years—because farmers can’t find enough native-born Americans to pick crops.
Former President Barack Obama, on his speech in November 20, 2014, said, “Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too. My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.”