It’s really a stupid idea. Why would you want to build a useless wall between Mexico and the United States? Donald Trump is a builder and a businessman, but he clearly is getting ready to waste billions of dollars on a silly project. This is the equivalent of building a skyscraper without windows, doors or elevators. Yes, you’ll have the facade to show but nothing else.
I’ve seen the prototypes made by companies who want to get a contract to build the wall. They’re up to 30-feet high, most of them are made of cement, impenetrable, almost impossible to jump. Some even prevent the construction of underground tunnels. But here’s the truth: those prototypes won’t work.
Almost 45 percent of all undocumented immigrants come with a visa and then overstay without a legal permit, according to the Pew Research Center. So it really doesn’t matter how tall or wide the new wall will be because most of those undocumented immigrants might come by plane.
Here’s the arithmetic of a stupid idea. The border between both countries is 1,954 miles long. But there is already a wall, a fence, or some kind of physical barrier along 700 of those miles. The project is immense: build a wall or implement a security system for about 1,200 miles.
Of course, this is not cheap. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that it will cost 21.6 billion dollars. A group of experts from M.I.T. think it’ll be closer to 40 billion. This is more than the 36 billion-dollar disaster relief measure approved by Congress in response to the hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, and the fires in California. All that money for a dumb wall.
I’m not arguing for open borders here. I believe that every country has the right to protect its territory. What I’m saying is that Trump has created the illusion of a criminal threat coming from south of the border, and that he is absolutely wrong.
First of all, there’s no invasion. Mexico is not planning to invade the United States nor take back what it lost in the Mexican-American war of 1848. As a matter of fact, some studies suggest that more Mexicans are leaving the United States than coming. Also, the undocumented population has remained stable at 11 million or so for more than a decade. And immigrants, as proven by the research of the American Immigration Council, are less likely to be criminals or to be behind bars than those born in the United States.
The vast majority of Mexicans and Latin American immigrants don’t come to this country with the purpose of killing U.S. citizens. They come here to work, to prosper, to help their families and to help us. If Donald Trump is interested in lowering crime he should do something about American terrorists like Stephen Paddock, who killed 58 people in Las Vegas, or Adam Lanza, who killed 20 children and 6 educators at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut in 2012. The only purpose a new wall would be to keep out the people who harvest our food, build our homes and take care of our kids.
Just take a look around the streets of Houston and Miami. It is Latin American immigrants, many undocumented, who are rebuilding the homes and businesses devastated by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Yes, this country has an immigration problem. But it’s not coming from the south. It’s already here. We have 11 million undocumented immigrants living with us and we need to find a solution for them.
The alternative to the wall is a legal immigration system that works. Nobody likes illegal immigration, not even undocumented immigrants. If we implement an efficient system that allows the entry of all the immigrants we need, instead of them risking their lives traveling through deserts and mountains, then the need for a wall will be totally obsolete.
So ban the useless wall. America is better than that.
Jorge Ramos, an Emmy Award-winning journalist, is a news anchor on Univision. Originally from Mexico and now based in Florida, Ramos is the author of several best-selling books. His latest is Take a Stand: Lessons From Rebels. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org