Feb 4. 2017
Letter to the Editor, Mount Vernon News
Just eight days into his term as president of the United States, Donald Trump issued a total of eight presidential memorandums and four executive orders covering a wide range of complex issues including trade, immigration and border security.
In most cases when a president issues a directive or executive order, as opposed to going through the legislative process, there is some pressing problem that needs to be fixed. It may be instructive to consider what problems President Trump seems to be troubleshooting.
Let’s start with the wall. The problem Trump has identified is that immigration from Mexico by illegal immigrants is on the rise and needs to be stopped. He has also messaged throughout his campaign that many undocumented immigrants are criminals we need to fear and the rest are also bad for our country because they are stealing good paying American jobs.
The problem? Net migration from Mexico to the United States has been negative or close to zero for years. The Pew Research Center estimates that 140,000 more Mexicans left the United States for Mexico than entered the country from 2009 to 2014.
The cost of constructing a wall is also seriously underestimated. Senate leader Mitch McConnell and speaker Paul Ryan put the price tag at between $12 billion and $15 billion. Others provide even higher estimates, up to $25 billion of taxpayer money, based on the cost of completed barriers on the border.
How does Trump propose that the wall is paid for? A 20% import tax on Mexican goods which might fund the wall but which will then come out of our pockets as the cost of food and other consumer goods goes up.
The bottom line is that a wall on our southern border spanning a total of 3,201 kilometers (1,989 mi) is a poorly conceived plan which will cost the American taxpayer money. Congressional leaders have rejected real investment in America’s bridges, railroads, schools, roads, water systems, and so many other troubled pieces of infrastructure for the past eight years, and yet seem poised to embark on this enormous boondoggle to appeal to xenophobic special interests.
Contact your elected officials today to ask where they stand on construction of an expensive and ineffective wall that does not address any real needs facing our country.