President Donald Trump said he was going to do this disastrous thing of shutting down the government to get Democrats to give him money for his Great Wall of America, and now he is saying fairies in the sky will provide the funding — or something like that — and the hard hit are the American people.
Both sides are analytically askew, Trump for saying Mexico would come up with the money and the Democrats for saying the project would accomplish nothing but degrading the innocent.
Let’s focus on this point and ask whether they thought we were still considering the original vision of a 30-foot-high pile of concrete stretching across 2,000 miles of the southern border. That’s been fake news for some time now. Early in the year, the administration said the project would be about 700 miles long and would include fences and old features recast into new efficiency. There would be more reliance on technology and improved use of manpower.
It’s true that Trump says one thing one day and another thing the next, but that’s more a reflection of an inconstant mind than of reality. More critics are now saying the wall will stop the intruders, save money and serve the country. Right now, we’re getting prototypes of mostly metal walls that are being extensively tested. If tunnels scare you, please know that they also scare technicians figuring out ways to find light at the end of the problem.
Providing assistance is an Israeli contractor, and nobody knows walls better than the Israelis. David Rubin, a past mayor of the town of Shiloh in Israel, was recently on Fox News giving evidence of that assertion. He talked about how some 55,000 illegal immigrants poured over the Israeli-Egyptian border between 2010 and 2012. Then there was a wall and, soon enough, there were no illegal immigrants. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu verified the story about a year ago.
We also have a study by the National Academy of Sciences showing how the project could not only pay for itself but make double what it cost. As reported by the Center for Immigration Studies, the study shows the lifetime savings per individual stopped would be more than $74,000. The walls, fences, guards and drones could block out tens of thousands.
The illegal immigrants, you see, are mostly unskilled and uneducated. There are lots of educational and welfare services their children rightly get on top of roads and the like. The immigrants are willing to work for very little, take away jobs from natives and help keep wages low. The low wages mean low taxes, and even the extra, beneficial wealth that businesses and society get from them and from the more educated immigrants are overcome by the cost of extra government services.
That’s according to George Borjas, a Harvard professor who says we are losing about $50 billion a year even when you look at all immigrants, legal and illegal.
The answer is not just respect for sovereignty by our own politicians and a secure border, but redoing refugee policy, a better system of catching those who overstay their visas and tougher sanctions on businesses that hire illegal workers. What’s needed in our legal system is a merit system of admissions. Admitting every foreign applicant who is poor, as some seem to want, would produce an inoperable country. The real answers to poverty reside in countries of origin and their discoveries of rule of law, capitalism, free international trade and education.
The need in our government is for balanced debate instead of Nancy Pelosi, a speaker of the House in history and in hope, asserting that walls are immoral, an idea yet to find a home in a balanced brain. Trump and his fellows have some rethinking to do, too, and let’s please not wall in hope.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at [email protected].
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