Ruben Gallego: Why we should not build Trump's border wall
Congressman: The biggest problem with Donald Trump's border wall is that it was never about border security.
Donald Trump promised a “big, beautiful wall” on the campaign trail. He promised it would be an impenetrable concrete wall, running the full 2,000 miles along the southern border.
And Trump promised Mexico would pay for it.
All of those promises are falling apart. Trump now admits the wall might only run 700 miles or less, and it will have openings to allow border patrol to see through to the other side. And now that Mexico has made it abundantly clear that they won’t pay for it, he’s asking the American taxpayer to pony up.
But those aren’t the biggest problems with Trump’s border wall.
The wall isn't about border security
The biggest problem is that the wall was never about border security.
Donald Trump’s wall is about dividing Americans – playing upon the racial fears and anxiety he has drummed up and amplified to rally his base. Trump’s wall is a political campaign promise that he has to fulfill to keep his base happy.
Trump’s border wall is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Border apprehensions have been falling for years, and the border wall will do nothing about the real issue of visa overstays.
CONGRESSMAN: Why we should build Trump's border wall
The wall is a giant waste of money, and there are countless ways to better invest the tens of billions of dollars we would waste on a wall.
For example, U.S businesses are feeling the negative effects of lengthy delays at ports-of-entry caused by insufficient staffing.
Fortunately, there’s a solution. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, we could boost our economy by $2 billion simply by hiring 1,000 new customs officers – and we could do it for a fraction of the cost of Trump's wall.
You know we can't build the wall there
Let’s be clear. The idea of building 2,000 miles of wall through remote, arid sectors of the U.S.-Mexico border is ridiculous. Such places saw few unauthorized crossings even before net undocumented immigration from Mexico dropped to around zero.
It’s so self-evidently ridiculous that even Trump's own budget request doesn't come close to asking for the amount of money that would actually be required to build it.
At its heart, Trump’s wall seeks to prey on the fears of Americans made anxious by decades of social and demographic change, and seeks to spread the dangerous notion that immigrants are a threat to the American way of life.
It’s a false notion, belied by two centuries of history in which successive generations of immigrants from all corners of the world have risked it all to come to America, to work hard, provide for their families, contribute to their communities – and, yes, to make America great.
This is just a monument to himself
This is who Donald Trump is and what he does. As a businessman, he started his career refusing to rent his apartments to African-Americans, so the Justice Department sued him.
As a national political figure, he launched his career by peddling a racist "birther" conspiracy about the first black president.
As a presidential candidate, he began his campaign by attacking Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists and kept the show going by attacking a federal judge of Mexican-American descent in a way that Speaker Paul Ryan described as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
Donald Trump has spent his entire life trying to sow racial division to advance and enrich himself. This is no different. That’s why he refused to denounce in unequivocal terms the white nationalism we saw on open display in Charlottesville. That’s why he continues to push a wall that will do nothing for border security but will spread fears about immigrants and divide us as Americans.
Let’s get serious by recognizing that Donald Trump’s border wall idea is not serious.
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Ruben Gallego is a U.S representative for Arizona Congressional District 7. His Twitter handle is @RepRubenGallego.