Opposing Views: To Build or Not To Build a Border Wall?
March 4, 2019
Build the Wall
If the United States builds a wall on the southern border, sexual assault rates and abuse in certain areas will most likely diminish, drug trafficking and human trafficking from Mexico will be almost completely halted, and the environment will cease to suffer from trash being left behind. We can afford to build the wall, and its presence will be anything but unethical.
Democrats have presented a handful of arguments against building a wall along the southern border.
For example, Democrats claim that our country cannot afford to spend $5.7 billion on the project. But the U.S. federal spending budget is $4.5 trillion, according to CNS News. This means that what President Trump is asking for is only about 1 tenth of 1 percent of our spending budget.
(Democrats have spent much more on less worthy projects in the recent past. According to CNBC, California is building a train that will run from San Francisco to Los Angeles for a cost of approximately $98 billion.)
Now, $5.7 billion is not going to be the final cost of the wall. The wall’s budget has been predicted to be $11 to 25 billion, according to Business Insider. However, what experts can predict for sure is that the construction of the wall will produce thousands of new jobs.
Michael Montgomery, a consultant who helps developers estimate their projects’ economic impact, predicts that a building project of this scale will likely produce between 21,000 and 25,600 jobs for the period of construction alone, according to the economics website Money.
Not only do Democrats insist that a wall (or steel barrier) is too expensive, but that it will be ineffective. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says it simply will not do its job. But five years ago she had a different opinion, as she supported a bill that required the construction of 700 miles of border fencing, a bill that every single state Democrat voted on. Thirty-six of these Democrats still serve today.
So is a fence more effective than a 30-foot tall steel barrier? It might be interesting to hear Pelosi’s and Senator Chuck Schumer’s opinion on Israel’s barrier that has virtually ended Palestinian terrorism, or maybe if they think that Turkey’s new 500-mile wall across its border with Syria will serve any sort of purpose.
In 2009, only 15 Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorism, as compared with 452 in 2002, the year before construction began, according to the website Azcentral.
To understand why Trump, Republicans, and many American citizens want a wall, one must understand the problem our country has with illegal immigration. America’s southern border has been a welcome mat for drug traffickers, human traffickers, and criminals of all shapes and sizes.
According to El Paso Border Patrol officials, at least 2,500 migrants have illegally crossed the New Mexican border in 2019 so far. The majority of these migrants crossed over a small, remote section. Of those that were apprehended, many were carrying large bales of marijuana. El Paso Border Patrol reports confiscating roughly 265 pounds of marijuana from these migrants.
It’s also worth noting that 94 percent of heroin found in America can be traced back to Mexico, and methamphetamine seizures have quintupled since 2004, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Perhaps most alarmingly, millions of pounds of cocaine have been seized by U.S. Border Patrol. Although more than half of these drugs are smuggled through legal ports of entry, limiting drug traffickers to only one option will help prepare us for greater security at our ports of entry.
Traffickers aren’t just caravanning drugs into the U.S., but human beings as well. In 2018, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations made 1,588 human trafficking arrests and identified 308 victims. Innocent people crossing our border can become victims of human trafficking and sexual assault. According to the White House’s official website, more than 30 percent of women are sexually assaulted on the journey across our southern border. If we don’t build a wall, our country will continue to be wide open to human trafficking.
Interestingly, there are those who are aware of these facts and are still anti-wall. They argue that criminals from Mexico will throw the drugs over the wall, catapult them even, or use ladders to get over.
A simple counter argument is that Trump’s plan is to send up to 15,000 border patrol agents to patrol the wall, and these agents will likely spot a catapult flinging cocaine through the air.
Migration across the southern border has taken a toll and a beating on the environment, and Arizona has been hit the hardest over the years. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality stated that approximately 2,000 tons, or 4 million pounds, of trash is left behind along the Arizona-Mexico border alone. Roughy 2,000 different species of plants exist along the U.S.-Mexico border, and they are being abused.
The only real and substantial argument for why the wall won’t work is that it won’t stop private jets filled with narcotics from being flown across the border. However, choosing to not build a wall will do absolutely nothing to stop this either.
Do Not Build The Wall
The border between the United States and Mexico stretches for nearly 2,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean and touches the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, President Trump stated that he was going to build a border wall and have Mexico pay for it. But Mexico said that they were not going to provide any money for a wall, leaving Trump to argue with Congress about funding, which prompted the 35-day partial federal government shutdown, and now his declaring a national emergency.
One of Trump’s arguments for a border wall is that illegal immigrants bring drugs into the U.S. He is somewhat right as an estimated 94 percent of heroin in the U.S. is brought in from Mexico, according to the U.S. State Department. But according to Customs and Border Protections, 81 percent of hard drugs, such as methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, etc., come through legal ports of entry and are not smuggled over the border. Smugglers use many methods of getting drugs into the country, including drones, planes, cars, tunnels, ships, submarines, ladders, and catapults. They hide drugs inside shipments of fresh produce and fish, inside cans disguised as food, and inside fake food.
Another of Trump’s arguments is that immigrants bring crime into the U.S. But in California, which is home to many legal and illegal immigrants, American-born men are incarcerated at 2.5 times the rate of foreign-born men, according to CNN. The reason many immigrants don’t commit crimes and end up to prison is that they don’t want to be deported. Staying out of trouble also means a better possibility of becoming a legal citizen.
The argument that terrorism made its way through the U.S.-Mexico wall is not true. From a practical standpoint, it is easier to get through other borders than the U.S.-Mexico border because of how well guarded it is. There is no recorded data of a terrorist coming over the border. Also, terrorists aren’t undocumented. In fact, most terrorists active in the United States are homegrown. Of the 2,554 people on the Terror Watch List who tried to enter the U.S. in 2017, 2,170 of them tried to enter at airports, according to The Washington Post.
From a financial standpoint, Trump wants $5.7 billion — about $15 per American — to fund this wall according to CNN. If Congress passes a bill to fund the wall, then the wall would be funded by the American taxpayer. But ultimately, the wall is expected to cost $12 billion out of the government. On top of the cost to build the wall, the U.S. economy would lose more than $4 billion a year because we would have to keep on funding for the wall, meaning the country would forfeit nearly $30,000 in lost economic output for each Mexican migrant the wall stops. There is no real estimate on how many immigrants the wall would stop because according to many sources, many immigrants come through legal ports of entry.
Research shows that he main reason the border wall would be bad is because it would hurt the U.S. economy since there would be fewer workers and lower output. It would have only a tiny impact on illegal immigration, and U.S. workers wouldn’t be better off. “Our research shows that building a wall was an ineffective way of reducing migration,” said economists Treb Allen of Dartmouth College after presenting a new research paper at the American Economic Association Conference in January. “It was expensive to build, and it harmed U.S. workers.”
Also, most Americans do not want the wall, according to many polling sources. Even many Trump supporters don’t agree with the building of the wall. During his presidential campaign, Trump made it seem like the wall would be built easily with funding from Mexico. But now, he and his supporters realize that it is not as easy as it seemed.
The wall will also affect the environment. According to National Geographic, The border fencing will affect seasonal migration for animals by blocking water sources and birthing sites for animals that roam to California and Mexico. The wall will also disrupt wildlife refuges and parks. Or example, in Mission, Texas, the National Butterfly Center, where more than 200 butterfly species live near the banks of the Rio Grande, has been notified that the wall will divide the 100-acre sanctuary, placing almost 70 percent of it on the Mexican side of the wall.