Does building a wall between Mexico and the United States make any sense?

Let us get serious for a moment and think about what building a wall between our two countries would mean! Is it practical? How much would it cost, and would the cost be worth it? Who would the wall keep out?  Is there a better way to increase border security without building a wall?

We have seen walls before. China built a great wall! The East Germans erected a wall that separated East and West Berlin, separating relatives and friends from each other.

The Berlin wall is instructional in our situation, in that it attempted to keep people in, East Berlin and East Germany. The Berlin Wall was 96 miles long. You would think that it would have been easy for East Berlin to keep their people from leaving, after all, the area that they attempted to control was much smaller than in the United States where, the proposed wall to be built between the United States and Mexico would encompass at least 1000 miles.

The Berlin Wall began to be built in 1961. There were 4 versions of the wall. Each version was allegedly an improvement on the ability of the wall to keep people in. In spite of the East German best efforts an estimated 5,000 people escaped regardless of what hurdles were put up to make it very dangerous to escape. Up to 50,000 troops were used to try to keep people from escaping. The top of the wall was lined with a smooth pipe which is difficult to scale. They had anti-vehicle trenches, and they used dogs extensively. The most ominous part of the wall were the watch towers, 116 of them, with twenty bunkers filled with troops. In some places a huge no-mans land existed with a clear line of fire to be able to shoot to kill anyone who attempted to escape.

Now, just think for a moment about our common border with Mexico. President Trump wants to build a great wall for 1000 miles of the border, which is 100 times the size of the Berlin Wall. Let us ask the question, who we are attempting to keep out? Illegals who seek work in America is one category. This category gets the most publicity, these migrants come more from Central America, and Haiti now. The Mexican economy is better now so you really get fewer Mexicans than before but it still around 50% of the total. Another category are people who want to sell drugs to Americans. They will be more difficult to keep out, because they have the money and resources to build caves, fly planes and use boats to export their drugs. The one category that makes little sense are terrorists.

Terrorists are more likely to use the Canadian border between Canada and the United States. Our border with Canada is the largest common border between two countries in the world.

If you are worried about terrorists crossing the border, it is the border between Canada and the United States that you should be worried about. In 2010, 663 people were detained under suspicious circumstances from Middle Eastern and North African countries of interests. Canada does not get much attention, but illegal persons find it easier to go from Canada to the United States. You are more likely to find people from Albania and Russia attempting to come across into our country.

Yes, a wall will keep some people out but not all. The numbers of those who would be kept out of crossing the border would undoubtedly improve but would it be worth other costs to our country that are more difficult to measure? In the process of building a wall, the relations between Mexico and the United States have probably not been this bad for nearly 170 years. A wall will complicate and make worse the improved economic relations between the 4 states that border Mexico.

How will the wall be paid for? Americans will most likely  foot the bill and pay for the wall. The Trump administration has floated the idea of taxing Mexican made goods at the rate of 20%. In raising the price of goods American consumers would be hit with higher prices, and the poorest among us would be hit the hardest because the costs of goods at Wal-Mart would go up.

A less costly way of dealing with the problem of whether to build a wall or not is the fact that American Corporations depend on cheap labor. Instead of building a wall, let’s fine a company an amount that they can not brush off as just as another cost of doing business. If you fine an American company enough money per person that they hire illegally and per incident, I bet they would stop hiring as many illegal immigrants as they do now.

Americans by and large feel that if you come to this country illegally it is just not fair to the rest of the country and it clearly is not fair to those immigrants who wait in line for years to come to America Legally. American companies take advantage of the cheap labor and probably with a blink and a nod have never wanted the problem of illegal immigration to be solved. A few of us just want to blame the brown people for all of our problems and they like to brand everyone who crosses over the border from Mexico as either being a rapist or a criminal. This we know not to be true.

Walls really do not solve any of the problems that we have. Walls divide us, either from leaving or arriving in a country. If we have a problem with drugs the problem will only be solved when our people no longer demand illegal drugs to escape the life that they have. Is a wall really worth the human cost that we will suffer from by building a great wall that will never be completely successful. People have an amazing capacity to find a way to seek freedom from their economic hardships. Is a wall really something that we want and need?


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