Trump’s Border Wall Prototypes Are Complete. Stupid. And Really F***ing Stupid.
BORDER WALL? In 2016, the Department of Homeland Security estimated that an average of 465 people a day successfully sneak into the US across our 2000 mile border with Mexico. This, despite staggering improvements to border security in the last 10 years. During the Obama administration, the number of border patrol agents was doubled from 10K to 21K
Border patrol has seen the installation of remote cameras with night vision connected to gps technology, improved seismic sensors, mobile stadium lighting, tunnel detection equipment, drones, and interactive multi-feed live streams. And yet – a recent report from homeland security said that after spending hundreds of millions to add an additional 11-thousand sensors that detect both movement and heat, it only covered 5% of the border and that less than 1% of apprehensions were a direct result of the new technology.
So, why is the border so porous?
Because no one has figured out how to stop people who want to escape poverty from buying a 60-dollar ladder. There’s no amount of money, no technology improvements or increase in the number of border guards, that can prevent people who fear for their lives or dream of a better life… from going to Home Depot to buy a ladder, or a shovel. Poverty makes you poor. But, it doesn’t kill your dreams.
For a moment, let’s put aside the politics so I can finally reveal Trump’s true motive for building a 70 billion dollar border wall: as a father, he is 100% determined to protect America’s precious children from the hundreds of thousands of dangerous Mexicans who sneak into the US to rape and murder. I’m kidding. It’s the same reason he attacks war widows – to distract us from the Russia investigation, his failed policies, his petty vengeance schemes, his pandering to his base and his own incompetence.
During November and December of 2017, the Department of Homeland Security and the border patrol tested the prototype walls’ effectiveness. This year, DHS and Border Patrol will make a recommendation to the White House. Trump will then announce his decision in prime time the same way the bachelor reveals which woman he’s going to marry.
“So, my decision on the new border wall is……..” (long pause) “I’ll have the answer right after these words from Trump Hotel, where our motto is: Komfort, Kleanliness and Konvenience.
Before we get any further, let me tell you how the US border is currently protected.
In areas close to a large population, like say Tijuana, the border patrol uses a layered approach. There are actually two border obstacles. The first is erected right on the actual border. These 6 to 8 foot tall corrugated sheets of metal were first installed in the early 1990s and were originally used as portable landing pads for helicopters in Vietnam.
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Where was I? Oh yes. Then, there is a second barrier that is taller – 10 to 14 feet – that is supposed to be more difficult to climb, dig under or go through. The second barrier and the 1st barrier are separated by some distance depending on the topography or population. This second barrier may also have concertina wire on top, on the bottom or both. This area in between is meant to be wide enough so that when border patrol determines a breach has been made to the first wall – using cameras or sensors – they can then mobilize a team of agents to catch the illegals before they cross the open space and breach the second barrier.
Other areas of the border have slightly different barrier configurations – and not all areas utilize this layered approach, in some spots, there is just one barrier between the us and mexico.
So – even though I’m liberal – I agree: illegal immigration to the US. is a problem. However, the size of that problem and how it’s dealt with depend on many things: your tolerance for people who are not like you, what you consider a crime and your appetite for punishment, the sense of obligation and empathy you feel towards others less well off… and your priorities for spending tax payer money. Oh, and whether or not you think America’s young people deserves *their* own Salmya Hayek and Antonio Banderas.
The Senate homeland security committee estimates adding trump’s proposed thousand miles of new border wall will cost about 70 billion dollars… and that’s just construction, not the cost of acquiring the land on which to build – an enormous detail we’ll cover in a just a bit. But first… a few more facts:
- In the US today, there are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants. It’s a number that has been pretty steady since 2007. (as of 2015/ pew research center).
- The number of illegal immigrants in us detention is about 41 thousand. A 25% increase over previous years.
- One gov’t watchdog estimates illegal immigrants cost taxpayers 134 billion dollars a year, minus the 19 billion or so illegals pay in federal, state and local taxes.
- Along with illegals from Mexico, more than 90 thousand mexicans legally cross the border in san ysidro every day into the u.s… it’s the busiest land port in the western hemisphere – mexicans pass through this facility on their way to school, on their way to work, to shop, to get medical treatment, and visit with family or friends. And the ones who aren’t doing any of that, play mariachi music at every dave and busters.
If you believe President Trump, illegal immigrants have stolen America’s jobs, drained our bank accounts and are filling our prisons. And even worse, illegal immigrants don’t have to pay extra to direct tv for subtitles on “Narcos.” The point is: Trump says something’s gotta be done. And he’s not talking about the one immigrant doing that one awful job no American could stomach… Im talking, of course, about what Melania does in bed. Assuming she’s doing something. Which I’m not.
So, now that you know some of the facts –I’m going to share with you seven (7) 100% real not fake news reasons Trump’s proposed border wall is both stupid and totally crazy stupid… and the one real example where it could actually do some good.
- Of the 2000 miles of border the us has with Mexico, 700 miles already have border protection. Trump wants to add about 1000 more miles of border wall. 2/3s of the land on which some future border wall will be constructed is owned by private American citizens. What if those people don’t want to sell their land? What if those people don’t want a giant fucking wall in their backyard? Yes, the government can try to take the land using eminent domain, however, that still requires land owners to receive “just compensation.” The problem is that much of this land along the us Mexico border has never been sold. Ever. It’s been in families for more than 100 years. How do you determine this land’s fair market value? I think in some cases the last time the land was sold it was part of the Louisiana purchase. That might not be right, but you get the point. The lawsuits that will arise from invoking eminent domain will take multiple years to resolve
- The second reason construction won’t happen is that hundreds of miles of border land are owned by American Indian tribes. Taking this land will require new legislation from congress. And there’s every reason to believe that when Congress gets around to this, the government will still be shut down.
- The new wall prototypes Trump commissioned that are on display south of San Diego are built on flat terrain, and the terrain the excavators and other heavy equipment had to traverse to get here was flat, as well. However – much of the land on which this new border wall would be built is mountainous, inhospitable and steep. And those are its good qualities. I mean, my contractor went over budget by 20% because my wife changed the color of the stucco on the fireplace from blue to a slightly lighter blue – Now imagine the cost overruns for getting and moving multiple hundreds of thousands of cement mixers, dozens of construction cranes and back hoes and hundreds of people in hard hats. Oh, wait. Before they can deliver the construction equipment, they have to build a road, first.
- Another problem is that the Trump Administraiton has not done a cost analysis that would reveal if spending 70 billion on a border wall would be more effective at slowing illegal immigration than spending that money on say more personnel and improved technology
- Plus: a recent report by NBC revealed that 66% of immigrants who took up residence in the US illegally in 2014, came to the US legally – and overstayed their visa – no border wall – no matter how high or deep will have any affect on that.
- Next, president Trump says the border wall will also deter smuggling of drugs into the US. And yet, there are no accurate numbers that compare by volume or street value how illegal drugs get into the US… are illegal drugs smuggled across the border on foot? Are they brought through secret tunnels underneath the border? Or, maybe more illegal drugs are coming across the border in trucks carrying other goods? Maybe more drugs are flown into the US? or, Maybe drugs come by boat? The problem is, we don’t know.
- Perhaps the most significant issue is one the US has the least control over. And that’s poverty. Not only along our border. But poverty in most of Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, among others – because that’s who this border wall is about. Poor people from Latin America. But to Trump, regardless of nationality, they’re all Mexicans – Mexicans who rape, murder and steal our jobs.
For now, let’s focus on Tijuana more specifically. What we learn will apply across the board. The area of Tijuana, directly on the other side of our border is likely Tijuana’s poorest community. There are hundreds of homes that lack basic necessities like running water, electricity and sanitation. Closer inspection reveals most of the roofs are just sheets of plywood covered by some cloth material weighed down by old tires. The people here don’t have a proper way to dispose of their garbage, so they just toss it over the border wall.
If this is how you live… or maybe you’re doing slightly better, maybe your roof is held down with say radial tires – if this is how you live, how your parents lived and how your kids are gonna live, and the land of milk and honey and toilets that flush is just down the road, over that fence… no border wall, no razor wire, no sensors, no guards would stop you from trying every day, all the time, to improve the quality of your life. You will eventually figure out how to get over the wall, to tunnel under it or bust through it.
Now – I did promise you the facts about where a new border wall would actually be effective!
An improved border wall would be effective In the parts of the San Diego sector that get the most human traffic. In fact, any border area that backs up to a Mexican population center would be a good place to put a giant ugly wall – remember, border patrol catches 70 people per day along San Diego’s 61 miles of border and misses a few hundred others because they either escape detection entirely or they breach the second wall before border patrol catches them.
So, if agents had more time once they detected a breech and before the illegals disappeared into the mountains or population areas, they’d catch more people. If the 2nd wall was more difficult to break through, tunnel under or climb over, border agents would have enough time to get to them and place them under arrest.
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