There. I have said it. The Congress should approve Mr Trump's plan and give him more than $5bn to build his wall.
I think that it is terrible policy which is grounded in a pathetic form of nativism; which has allowed the racists and the nutbags to crawl out from whatever maggot infested rock they have been hiding under and I think that the current policy of starving government workers of the food from their table is cruel and borderline evil but nevertheless, Congress should act to let him build his idiotic project. Why?
Because it will stand as a monument to cruelty and stupidity. The finished wall will be monument to the utter horror of this President, who I think has descended to the level of the second worst president in US political history¹.
At the time of writing there are about 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. Of those, about 5.4 million are unauthorized immigrants from Mexico and 5.3 are from elsewhere. However the number of people actually caught trying to get over the border, is tiny. In 2017 the US Border Patrol arrested 130,454 Mexicans and 180,077 non-Mexicans at the borders.
If we assume that the number of people caught trying to jump the border is indicative of the general population of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, then that means that we're looking at roughly 2% of all people arriving in the United States this way. That means that the number of immigrants who have arrived illegally and have evaded immigration control, are extremely likely to have entered via legal means and simply just overstayed their visa. In fact just for the fiscal year of 2017, the Department of Homeland Security found that the number of immigrants that overstayed their visas was more than double of those who were arrested at the border.²
The idea then, that there is a national security crisis on the southern border, which Mr Trump has cited as being the trigger for wanting to declare a national emergency, is simply ludicrous and untrue. Then again, ever since the day of his inauguration, the assumption that everything that the President says is simply ludicrous and untrue, has been consistently proven to be a sensible default position.
The question then if I think that this is a stupid proposal, which is based on a lie, made by a nativist and supported by racists, why do I think that Mr Trump's racist propaganda wall should still be built? Because as a monument to white supremacy, racism, the ideology of dehumanisation of refugees, and the declaration that migrants are an enemy, the wall can be dismantled after the racist carrot is gone.
If you think about the famous walls in history, the Great Wall of China, Hadrian's Wall, the Berlin Wall, and even the Detroit Eight Mile Wall, eventually, they all cease to serve their function. The Great Wall of China was a mostly ineffective defensive set of structures, as was Hadrian's Wall. The falling of the Berlin Wall marked one of the greatest periods of celebration, when a country divided was finally brought back together as one. Although the Detroit Eight Mile Wall was originally intended to be a physical barrier to separate white and black communities in Detroit in 1941, through physical racial separation, from what I can gather by about 1980, there were sufficiently enough black people living on either side of the wall that it had utterly failed in its intent.
Quite frankly, I think that Mr Trump is so incredibly vainglorious, that in exchange for the wall, legislators could put all sorts of things into the legislation. If I was Nancy Pelosi, I'd seriously consider putting a universal healthcare act, before the house as well as movement on DACA to cover additional illegal immigrants, because as long as Mr Trump gets his precious wall, he then has something that he can claim that he's actually done. The long game here is that just like a lot of temporary discomfort, Mr Trump is only for now and he too will pass. Unless the American people are collectively monumentally stupid, I do not see him being reelected in 2020.
The actual pros for building the Trump Racist Propaganda Wall might not be immediately obvious but I think that they are at least twofold.
Firstly, the passing of legislation is worth the economic cost of keeping food on the table of government employees. People who get paid, spend money; which in turn allows other people to spend money and so the wheels of the economy keep on turning. But greater to that is that the $5bn which is spent on building the wall, actually acts as a stimulus package of sorts. The employment generated and the wages which are paid therein, increase the income of the local community, and due to various multiplier effects, the total value of the stimulus would probably become a good deal greater than dollar amount initially spent. Of course you could make the argument that having someone walk down the street, chucking rocks and smashing all the windows, gives employers to glaziers and you would be right in thinking that it would be more sensible to build housing and other infrastructure but the politics of this is already stupid to begin with.
Secondly, if this is about legacy building, then building the Trump Racist Propaganda Wall will be an exercise in deliberately scarring the land, just to prove how nativist and bad at governing that this president is. If you are going to set out to be horrible, then leaving a monument to your cruelty would be a good reminder to the American people to never make this same mistake again. I would hope that looking forward to the year 20XX, that a future president would see this physical scar and want to pull it down. I might even go so far as to insist that the event be televised, so that in the year 20XX, future Donald Trump can witness his legacy literally being torn down in front of his eyes.
Build the wall; so that it can be torn down again. The nation will learn to move on; it outlive him when he's gone.
¹The worst was James Buchanan who did nothing while the Union broke in half.