If You Build It, They Won’t Come
The administration wasted no time taking its first steps to build the “big, beautiful wall” President Trump promised the American people. Last Friday, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection asked for bids to construct the border wall (one concrete and the other using different materials.) Under the timeline set forth in the proposal, those interested will have two weeks to submit their designs and models should follow soon thereafter.The U.S.-Mexico border wall, according to the CBP, must be an imposing physical barrier. Department of Homeland Security expects the wall to be: not climbable; able to repel a sledgehammer, pick axe, or other hand-held tools for a minimum of 30 minutes for the non-concrete wall and an hour for the concrete version. Finally, the wall must not be easily tunneled under, making it as impenetrable as humanly possibleNo matter who becomes president in the future, the border wall will ensure that uninvited and unwelcome individuals do not gain entry into the United States. Regardless of policy shifts, the wall cannot and will not be asked not to turn a blind eye to illegal border crossers like many Border Patrol agents were pressured to do during the Obama administration. Further, an imposing physical barrier allows Border Patrol agents to pay more attention to drug cartels and those who pose national security threats.Even before the first block of concrete is poured, President Trump’s executive order has already had a positive impact on the border. Illegal border crossing decreased in February by 40 percent, with February 2017 having the fewest February crossings in a decade. People like taking the path of least resistance, and soon, illegally entering the U.S. by jumping the border will no longer be an option.Despite Congress not yet appropriating a dime, the administration is moving swiftly and decisively to regain control of the borders. In the budget blueprint that President Trump sent to Congress last week, the administration requested $2.6 billion for the border wall in fiscal year 2018. It also requested another $3 billion in its supplemental 2017 funding request to secure our nation.Predictably, immigration activists blasted the funding for the wall – threatening to shut down the government if the money was included in any of the 2017 spending bills. Pandering to them, Republicans who have control over the wall are stalling in order to avoid a funding standoff that could shut down the government.Perhaps those Republicans who are holding up the process need to be reminded of the cost savings to American taxpayers. Building the wall across the entire southwest border is expected to cost about $15-$30 billion. Even if the cost of the wall exceeded those levels, it would quickly pay for itself. A cost study conducted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform found illegal aliens cost American taxpayers $113 billion every year.