Monday, August 15, 2016

Trump's Wall

“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns.” Said by Marine Colonel Nathan R. Jessup played by Jack Nicholson in the 1992 movie A Few Good Men.  We do live in a world that has walls.  Famous walls through history include the Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall, and the wall separating East and West Berlin.  General George S. Patton is noted as having said:” Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man.”  Now Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump wants to build a wall between the United States of America and Mexico.
If I was an advisor to Mr. Trump, I would advise against building the wall.  I’m not sure if building a wall would prove effective.  I understand the intent but I believe people and drugs will find ways around the wall.  It could be that the people and drugs are taken by boat to the west coast of the United States or up to Canada and then into America bypassing the wall.  Will we put up a coastal and northern wall next?
I think a better strategy would be to fix what ever it is that is causing the people and drugs to come illegally flooding into the United States in the first place.  People have always come to the United States for the opportunities.  According to Wikipedia during the peak year of European Immigration in 1907, 1,285,349 persons entered the country (Wikipedia n.d.).  Ironically from 2009 to 2014 there has been a net loss of Mexican immigrants of 140,000 persons according to the Pew Research Center (Gonzalez-Barrera 2015).  For purposes of stopping illegal immigration it seems the wall isn’t needed.
So that means that the wall which Mr. Trump plans on building would primarily be designed to stop drug trafficking.  My gut tells me the drugs would still find their way into the United States.  The drugs would enter through the coast or Canada which bypasses the wall.  Many drugs even today enter through checked baggage at airports or through vehicles legally entering the United States through border checkpoints.  Better to legalize and tax marijuana and heroin to control them, limit the violence and reduce the prison population.  Treat drug use like marijuana as a controlled substance like alcohol and treat heroin use as an illness requiring treatment not a crime that only breeds the violence and prison population.
One last point of contention should the wall get built is who would pay for the wall.  Mr. Trump claims that Mexico will pay for the wall.  Meanwhile former Mexican President Fox says there’s no way Mexico will pay for the wall.  What I think would wind up happening would be that the U.S. would simply reduce the amount of annual aid that the U.S. gives Mexico by the cost of the new wall.
I think there are far better ways to handle the border problems than by building an ugly wall separating two friendly nations.

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