Why The Wall Won’t Work

By: Grace Zhang

1. It’ll be difficult to get the rights to do so

One of Trump’s biggest promises is to build a wall along the Mexican border, and to do it on schedule. However, many legal issues will keep this from happening. First, Trump must get the rights build on the land near the border, which will take forever to do. ⅔ of the land near the border isn’t owned by the government and a large portion of this land is private property. Unsurprisingly, most landowners with property near the border aren’t willing to give up their land to the federal government. Eminent domain does allow the government to seize private property, but only if the owner is properly reimbursed, a process that could take years. Additionally, a portion of the land near the border is owned by Native Americans. Trump would need a bill from Congress allowing him to build on their land. Considering how hard the Democrats are fighting the construction of the border wall, a bill like this would never pass. Even if it did, the American government is designed to be slow acting and the legislation needed would take forever to pass. Lastly, even getting the rights to build on federal land takes a while. According to Cato Institute, it took 8 months for Border Control to get permission to install an underground sensor on federal land.  

2. Not as effective as it seems

The current fencing system is easily damaged by storms and natural disasters and easily cut. Border control reported fixing over 4,000 holes in one year and there may be more out there that haven’t been found or fixed yet. Additionally, most of the fencing can be climbed, mounted with a ladder, driven over with a ramp, or tunnelled under. Currently, the technology needed to find tunnels is unavailable to border security meaning that for every tunnel found, there are probably way more out there. Having a wall would also be problematic because border control can’t see the other side. Without this ability they can’t organize a strategy in response to the situation on the other side, therefore making a wall even less effective than a fence. Even worse, walls actually make it easier on cartels to smuggle things in the United States. With walls or fences, the entries into the U.S. are significantly less, meaning that cartels have to invest less resources into transport. They observe the weaknesses at the entry points and therefore learn how to more easily bring illegal drugs and weapons into the country.

3. The wall doesn’t deal with future undocumented immigrants, those already in the country, and documented immigrants

416,500 illegal immigrants were living in the U.S. in the 2016 and that number is definitely higher. The wall does get those people out of the country and discourages them from leaving. The construction of a wall makes it harder for them to leave and return to the U.S. and may actually encourage more to immigrate now as it will be harder to cross the wall at first. In addition, many immigrants which come to the border plan to stay in Mexico. However, according to Berkeley “the Mexican economy is now showing signs of stress” and the wall only worsens this. Construction of walls disrupt communities in Mexico and make business more costly due to longer shipping times.  Coupled with a possible trade war and renegotiation of NAFTA, building a wall would only increase illegal immigration. Lastly, one of Trump’s main arguments for the construction of the wall is the supposed high crime rates of illegal immigrants. But in the case of terrorism, according to Berkeley, 80% of terrorists were U.S. citizens and out of 145 foreign terrorists, only one was Hispanic. Additionally, many of the stats show that the people who try to immigrant here illegally have no previous record and half of those who do were driving under the influence. Axios says that “ studies have found that immigrants in the U.S. are overall less likely to commit crimes or end up in prison than native-born Americans.” So therefore, we should be way more worried about American citizens.


Want to know more? (My Sources)

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/why-wall-wont-work

https://ced.berkeley.edu/events-media/news/five-problems-trumps-wall-wont-solve-according-to-professor-emeritus-michae https://www.axios.com/immigration-crime-border-trump-national-address-facts-6d752931-1a2b-40b2-a9e8-a912853b81ca.html