Trumping the immigration issue

Image by Dominick Reuter via Buisness Insider
Image by Dominick Reuter via Buisness Insider

Why building walls won’t help with illegal immigration

By Davie Wong, Contributor

According to Donald Trump—billionaire, long-time television personality, and more recently, Republican Party frontrunner—America has an illegal immigrant problem. To be more specific, Trump believes that the Mexican government is the one to blame for America’s illegal immigrant problem.

In an interview with NBC, he said, “The Mexican government forces many bad people into [America] because they’re smart.” So how does Trump plan to stop this?

He plans to build a wall across the southern border of the United States. “The Great Wall of Trump,” as many critics have called it, is expected to span the entire US-Mexican border. That is nearly 2000 miles  (nearly 3220km) of building material and labour costs. Trump believes that “building a wall is easy, and it can be done inexpensively,” but the reality is that the wall has been estimated to cost around $6.4 billion. For the already heavily-in-debt economy of the United States ($18 trillion since April of 2015), $6.4 billion is hardly an inexpensive number.

He also plans to deport all illegal immigrants back to their countries of origin. Many have criticized that Trump’s plan would tear families apart and would be inhumane. His response to that was, “We have to keep the families together, but they have to go.” That being said, deporting millions of families can’t be cheap. Experts have estimated that it will cost somewhere between $400 and $600 billion to deport an estimated 11 million people without proper documentation over the course of 20 years. That 11 million people make up 6.4 per cent of US workers.

Where will this money come from? Well, Trump seems to believe that he can make the Mexican government pay for it. In his recently published policy paper on immigration reform, he states that Mexico, “must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards… increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico… and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico…”

To make the Mexican government pay, Trump will take it out on their citizens. It is as twisted as it sounds.

But will it work? In 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law, the Secure Fence Act. This Act was supposed to help curb illegal immigration by authorizing the construction of fencing, barriers, and checkpoints. In reality, the fence is still incomplete to this day because of lack of funding from Congress. If Trump gets his wish and the bill for the building of a wall along the southern border is passed, it’s unlikely that construction along the entire border will ever be finished due to the mammoth scale of the project and the amount of funding it would take.

Is it worth it? Trump seems to believe so. However, he fails to recognize that since 2007, more people are leaving America to go to Mexico than coming to America from Mexico. Under the Obama Administration, illegal immigration has been curbed down to a level never before thought possible. Has it been completely stopped? No, but for the first time, it’s moving in a downward trend.

Trump wants to split millions of families apart and set America even further behind economically, all for an immigration problem that has already been fixed.