The Poly Spotlight

March 15th, 2017
Will We See the Wall?


APPREHENSION: New obstacles and opposing groups reveal Trump’s imprudent plan to build a wall bordering Mexico as a poor decision.

By Jacob Ferrall, Staff Writer

“We’re going to build a wall.” This was one of Trump’s largest campaign slogans during the election season. Trump supporters that agreed with the message were enthused to vote for Trump and see the promise carried out. However, now that he is president, matters are looking much more difficult than the image propagated during the campaign. The wall is an exceptionally large project that would take several years and billions of dollars to complete. Raul Meza, the state director of the Structural Engineer’s Association of Texas, estimates that the entire process will take five to ten years. For reference, the current fence bordering Mexico took about six years to build, costing over seven billion dollars with a length of seven hundred miles. Trump’s wall will cross through one thousand miles of territory and will have to be made with more powerful material to be a “tall” and “beautiful” wall. Making the wall with concrete would cost an estimated 12 to 15 billion dollars, speculated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Other experts even estimated the cost to be anywhere between 15 to 25 billion dollars. These prices are very high compared to Trump’s confident claim that the whole process will take around ten billion dollars. “We can do it for $10 billion to $12 billion, and it’s a real wall,” Trump explained.

In response to public concerns, Trump says Mexico will pay for the construction of the wall. However, President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto says, “Mexico will not pay for any wall,” stifling Trump’s plans. The wall is not the only issue Mexico has with this affair. They are also distraught over Trump’s ridiculous policy to send illegal immigrants to Mexico regardless of their nationality. Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray says, “The government of Mexico and the Mexican people do not have to accept measures that one government wants to unilaterally impose on another.” Mexico rejects the potential mass deportation to its land. Protests have sprung up in Mexico City, demanding respect from Trump as a result. The protests are not limited to Mexico City though, there are many protests occurring in the United States. The protests may serve to inform the government of the people’s distress, which is the ideal goal of a protest, but they can also be harmful if they lead to violence.

Outrage has grown with many groups of people in the U.S. to accompany the displeasure of Mexico and the insane cost of the wall. Because the wall might cross more territory than the previous structure, there will be private land taken by the government for construction. Landowners complain of the seizure of their land, which could potentially be ancestral, with little compensation from the government. Other critics of Trump are very concerned with his order to build more detention facilities along the border. These detention facilities are meant to detain illegal immigrants, and Trump wants to raise the number of immigrants held in the prisons to eighty-thousand on any given day. This almost doubles the current amount of people detained by the facilities.

People draw comparisons from the detention facilities to “concentration camps,” specifically the internment camps used to imprison Japanese-Americans during World War II. Several news outlets such as The New York Times and Cable News Network (CNN) have taken advantage of a quote from a prominent Trump supporter who claimed that the Japanese internment camps were a “precedent” for immigration laws. This really should not be worried over too much because Trump did not say it himself, but the last thing Trump needs is more people against him to add to the continuous protests across the nation.

Among other problems, the wall may be an environmental disaster endangering ecosystems. Animals that need to migrate and mate with other genetically different animals could have their habitats blocked by a large structure. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department listed ten species on the federal endangered list that are likely to be affected by the wall. Environmentalists are also concerned with the treatment of the landscape, as a construction project of this magnitude requires the transforming of terrain. Researcher Christoph Meinrenke of Columbia University, speculates that the wall will release 1.9 billion tons of carbon dioxide which could harm the climate.

Trump has accepted a daunting task and is at risk of upsetting many Americans even further, depending on how he carries the plan out. His supporters want to see the wall completed at an acceptable cost, and the opposing group will speak out against the wall throughout the entire process. The prospects of building a wall during the election season are beginning to seem like a mistake on Trump’s part, that should have had its consequences considered.


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