Build That Wall

Trump’s border wall will decrease crime, reduce billions of dollars in losses from illegal immigration, and encourage immigrants worldwide to come to the United States legally to help themselves and our economy prosper.

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During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump used powerful rhetoric that energized a largely unrecognized voter base. Of the bellowing chants coined by Trump and his enthusiastic base, none rang as loudly as “Build that wall!” Now, two years into his presidency, the promised wall remains unbuilt, and Republicans in Congress are fighting over another appropriations deal with Democrats. A new border wall wouldn’t entirely fix border security, nor would it be the most effective solution, but it would be a major piece in the puzzle of securing the southern border.

The wall would drastically reduce the high cost of illegal immigration into America. An estimated 10 million illegal immigrants currently live in the United States, costing taxpayers around $80 to $113 billion annually. According to the Federation For American Reform and the Heritage Foundation, these numbers take into account the many undocumented immigrants who pay taxes and work for lower wages than their American counterparts. But economists still suspect that illegal immigrants may cost us nearly $200 billion annually. In addition, areas where walls have already been built have seen an 80 to 99.9 percent decrease in illegal immigration, demonstrating the effective nature of border walls. During the Clinton, Bush, and Obama eras, barriers along the border were constructed, and illegal immigration decreased significantly as a result. None can deny that walls work. What the Trump administration wants to do is simply finish the fight against illegal immigration—a fight that started over a decade ago.

Democrats in Congress have repeatedly called the wall “xenophobic,” “racist,” and a “damaging portrayal of America to the rest of the world.” Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, “The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty—not a 30-foot wall.” 13 percent of the United States’ population is comprised of first-generation immigrants who came here legally. Many of these migrants are from Mexico or the numerous war-torn countries around the world. The U.S. grants legal status to over one million immigrants every year and naturalizes almost a million more. The lenient policies on illegal immigration aren’t fair to the 41.6 million people who went through the painstaking process of coming here legally. They aren’t fair to the 4.4 million people on the waitlist for coming to the U.S. legally. And the symbol of America will always be the Statue of Liberty; immigrants are always welcome in the land of opportunity. But all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal immigration.

A border wall carries various innate advantages. It serves as a symbol of strength; it shows the world that America is a nation willing and able to defend itself. It serves as a reminder to the thousands of people in the large migrant caravans marching toward the border that they are not entitled to citizenship purely based on numbers. Additionally, a wall would protect the countless women who fall prey to sexual violence on their journeys to the border. 60 to 80 percent of women between the ages of 14 and 80 are raped and/or sexually assaulted while traveling with migrant caravans. Migrating parents give their young daughters birth control pills because they fear that their children will be sexually assaulted on the treacherous journey ahead. The wall would save them from such mistreatment by discouraging the formation of caravans—breeding grounds for such horrific crimes—in the first place. It would stop what President Trump has labeled one of the most pressing humanitarian crises in America. It is “a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul...Women and children are the biggest victims by far of our broken system. This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end,” he said.

Another common argument congressional Democrats make against the border wall is that it wouldn’t stop the countless drugs flooding into America, as 60 percent of drugs smuggled through the border arrive through legal ports of entry. However, that leaves a staggering 800,000 pounds of heroin, or $7.25 billion worth of drugs, coming through illegal ports of entry. Every week, a staggering 300 American citizens die from heroin addiction. A serious effort to secure the southern border would stop illegal drugs from passing through illegal ports of entry and thus open up the legal ports to more comprehensive inspection. And since both Republicans and Democrats support bipartisan legislation to increase technology and methods of detecting illegal drugs in vehicles, these legal ports would only grow in security and serve as a stopgap for the drugs that directly harm American citizens. Strategic walling could potentially save thousands of American lives a year.

Furthermore, the intense Democratic opposition to any kind of border wall is hypocritical and counterintuitive to the nation’s interests. Under the Obama Administration, prominent Democratic leaders including Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi were supporters of a physical barrier along the southern border in 2014. The immigration reform Schumer backed included a package of more than $46 billion for border security—$30 billion of which went to U.S. Border Patrol agents along the southern border. The rest went to the building and repairing of the 700 miles of fences and steel barriers that currently make up the U.S.-Mexico border. Illegal immigration around fenced-off sections of the border has since decreased by an average of 95 percent. Through steel-walled areas, it decreased by a whopping 99 percent, according to the U.S. Border Patrol Center for Investigative Reporting. Incidentally, Senator Schumer also voted to provide funds for a border wall in Israel, a country under the constant threat of terrorism. The Israeli border wall cut the illegal immigration rate by an incredible 99.9 percent, which is a resounding success. If Senator Schumer thinks that America can afford to pay for a border wall for another country, he should certainly have no qualms about building one for America.

This pointless political battle must end. When Presidents Clinton and Obama made acrimonious attacks on illegal immigration in speeches and showed that same passion for border security in their legislation, they were applauded by Democrats. Obama’s border security package cost nearly nine times as much as the Trump administration is now requesting, and the cost was well worth it. Our nation has saved over $50 billion dollars as a result of the construction of barriers along the border in the past 20 years. A wall promotes the strength of American democracy and encourages more people to come here legally knowing that they won’t be cheated by illegal immigration. A wall, paired with bipartisan support for technological advancements in border security, would save us upward of $113 billion annually while allowing for more legal immigrants who add to our splendid economy and culture. Democratic opposition to the border wall is strictly political and has nothing to do with supporting border security. The border wall is absolutely necessary to protect the health and safety of immigrants and Americans alike. And so, as the roaring crowds of Trump’s rallies famously chant: “We need to build a wall.”