Yes, the U.S. can build a wall or fencing on the U.S. side of the border, except for that portion of the border that is on the Tohono O’odhom reservation in Arizona. But the wall will be an expensive failure.
Donald Trump plans to build a border wall at a cost of at least $16,000,000,000, more likely $25 billion.
Rather than building a wall that will not work, we could build 375 schools in the U.S., or 93 average size hospitals.
For every 10 miles of wall built, we could have 30 schools. For every 50 miles, we could have 4-5 hospitals.
The Border Community is 2,000 miles long, expanding from California to the Gulf of Mexico. It includes uninhabited desert, small and large cities, and el Rio Grande.
· The US considers Border Territory anything 100 miles from ports of entry. This includes the Southern and Northern Borders as well as all coasts, meaning that about 2/3 of the entire US population live within Border Territory.
· About 200 million people live within the 100-mile zone; including 11 states that lie almost entirely within the zone and 9 of the 10 largest cities in the country: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and San Jose.
· The United States spends billions of dollars a year on border enforcement under the narrative of ‘national security’, which is primarily spent on the Southern Border.
· Customs and Border Patrol is the largest federal law enforcement agency in the country. Today there are about 22,000 Border Patrol agents, 18,000 of them stationed on the Southern Border.
· CBP has full authority to operate anywhere within the 100-mile zone, including stopping and searching vehicles and persons on reasonable suspicion, regardless of legal status.
· The Department of Justice exempted Border Patrol from its most recent orders to local and federal police against racial profiling.
· The budget for border enforcement increased by 75% in the last decade, to add up to 13.5 billion dollars per year. This is more than the DEA, FBI, and Secret Service budgets combined.
· Internal Border Patrol immigration checkpoints exist all throughout the 100-mile zone, way beyond Ports of Entry. In New Mexico, these checkpoints are located well beyond urban locations, forcing all undocumented immigrants to remain within the region.
· The current wall covers about 650 miles along the border and has already cost the US $7 billion, that’s about $5 million per mile in some areas.
· Trump’s executive orders call for the immediate construction of a wall, which is estimated to cost $25 billion, and the hiring of 15,000 more ICE and Border Patrol agents that would cost up to $15 billion in 10 years.
· An initial $3 billion has already been requested from Congress to begin the construction of a wall and to immediately hire 1,000 ICE agents and 500 Border Patrol agents.
The Sacramento Immigration committee has established a hot line to report ICE activity in the neighborhoods, at schools, parks, and other areas.
If you see ICE activity, please report it. When you report the activity, volunteers and legal observers will go to the location.
Trump’s demand to build the wall and to impose tariffs is producing a reaction in Mexico. The U.S. not only imports from Mexico, US corporations also exported to Mexico $267 billion dollars worth of goods in 2015. Mexico is the U.S.’s second largest export market. A tariff on the U.S. side will likely produce a tariff on the Mexican side that could cost some 1 million jobs in the U.S.
Arturo Rodriguez, President of the United Farmworkers union (UFW) asks, “Since some 50 % of agricultural labor in California, Florida and Texas is undocumented, when they arrest all of these workers, who is going to feed the nation?” The answer to his question is, if the border is closed and mass arrests make workers not available, most vegetable production will move to Mexico and to other countries. Is that progress?
The Trump administration is being reckless and poorly informed in matters of foreign policy as well as domestic issues. Building Trump’s wall and threatening to make Mexico pay for the wall built on U.S. land was a belligerent act championed in the Trump campaign. This poorly informed effort ignores many of the realities of the U.S.Mexico relationship. Mexico provides the primary security against migration to the U.S. on our southern border. Mexican police and military restrict migration and turn thousands of wouldbe migrants back each year.
The Mexican rmy and police also provide the primary obstacle to migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala from reaching the U.S. border. The U.S. pays the Mexican forces to do this enforcement. Given Trump’s provocative statements and acts, they could simply stop serving as a border security force for the U.S. The end of bi-national police cooperation would massively increase immigration and severely reduce efforts to restrict drug cartels from moving drugs into the U.S.
The Mexican political system and the police are corrupt, but the situation could get much worse. The Mexican legislature is already considering several bills to prevent Mexico from cooperating with the Trump surge in deportations. Readers should know that the Mexican presidency is up for election in 2018, and the current dominant party (PRI) is in disgrace in part because it is seen as subservient to the Trump dministration. Nationalism and resisting Yankee interference is a potent political force in Mexico and a left populist – Manuel Lopez Obrador is currently far ahead in the polls.