Does the US Need a Southern Border Wall?

We all know of President Trump’s claim while campaigning in 2015 regarding the proposed wall on our southern border.  Then candidate Donald Trump told the world that the United States would indeed build a wall and that “Mexico will pay for it”.   That promise to build the wall is more polarizing now than it was when that promise was originally made.  At the time, he was cheered by those in attendance and presumably by many more of his supporters at home.  It can only be assumed that the salesman in Trump didn’t win support for his wall because Mexico would pay for it.  Rather to his base, and those would eventually support him, the idea of a long proposed southern border wall finally within sight got many excited.  Those on the opposing view of the wall took Trump’s statement as a promise that was both laughable and unrealistic.  There wasn’t much concern at the time that the wall would ever be built, let alone within a few short years.

Those who support the wall see the flow of migrants from Mexico as an invasion by an unwanted mass of people.  These people are non-US citizens, actually illegal aliens.  These illegals are a burden to the US in many ways.  Government resources are drained by providing no-cost medical care, welfare, and other benefits that aren’t as readily available to those in the US legally.  In addition, there is the real-world concern over crime, drug trafficking, human smuggling, and terrorist infiltration.  A wall could address the economic burden by lowering the number of migrants, illegals if you’d rather, entering the US and accepting social benefits.  Sure, there is the cost to build the wall, according to Bernstein Research estimated at $15-25 Billion, but that would could be offset by lowered economic costs in subsequent years.   In addition, the wall coupled with electronic sensors would mean fewer border patrol agents needed to guard the entirety of the southern border should equate to lower manpower costs.

The calls for a wall are coming from the President himself.  The wall is not a campaign promise anymore, now it is a clear objective of our President.  The reasons for a wall are not being made by those on the fringe as has been the case in the past.  In today’s world, our government is now the one claiming that these concerns are not only real, but that they also are an ongoing crisis.  On Friday Jan. 4, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, stated that approximately 4,000 “known or suspected terrorists came across our border last year”.  This number is sure to justify the funding of this wall, at least in the eyes of Trump supporters.  However, this claim is not completely factual as that number doesn’t represent southern border crossings, rather it’s a combined number of all means of entry, predominately via air travel.

Opponents of the wall are now chanting the rhetorical question “I thought Mexico was paying for the wall?”, as if the source of funds is what matters in their disapproval of the wall.  These opponents are against the wall period.  They see the humanitarian crisis that a wall would create.  The migrants from our southern neighbors are travelling to the US to secure a better life for themselves and their families.  The countries which they are traveling from are rife with poverty and violence, and the US offers them a glimmer of hope in an otherwise bleak future.   The US can be many things to different eyes, but it has always been a nation built by immigrants.  The opponents also see the futility that the wall will bring.  There are numerous ways that people could get over, under, or around the wall that doesn’t take an excess of ingenuity.  Ladders, shovels, boats, and planes would the most used means to circumvent the wall.  So why bother wasting the time and money to build the wall?  Another reason against the wall is that the influx of migrants is not a burden on our economy as these migrants preform jobs that aren’t in high demand by US citizens, especially in an economy that is at near full employment as it is now.  Also, if these migrants are employed legally, the US would gain tax revenue as these employees are still obligated to pay taxes regardless of their legal status.

Whatever your view is on the topic, it is important to read opposing views to better understand the reasoning behind one’s views.  This is only a brief synopsis of some of the arguments being made in favor and against the wall.  It is too easy to take the defamatory way out of the argument by calling someone a racist, an idiot, a snowflake, or a bleeding-heart liberal.  We should take the more dignified higher road when attempting to state our point.  Vitriolic responses to opposing views only aids in getting the same response in return, which accomplishes nothing and doesn’t lend well to a reasoned back and forth discussion.  Stating your beliefs should be about getting someone to understand your point, or ultimately of getting someone to see things differently.

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