Where is the wall you may ask? Well it’s not up yet, But Donald Trump is already touting and patting himself on the back for what he calls, “an unprecedented 40 percent reduction in illegal immigration” at the southern border… the wall-less border that is…!
At a rally in Tennessee on Wednesday, Trump had this to say…
TRUMP: “And by the way, aren’t our borders getting extremely strong? … We’ve already experienced an unprecedented 40 percent reduction in illegal immigration on our southern border, 61 percent — 61 percent since Inauguration Day. Sixty-one percent; think about it. And now people are saying we’re not going to go there anymore ’cause we can’t get in, so it’s going to get better and better.”
THE FACTS: There’s not much evidence yet that Trump is driving down illegal immigration. It’s true that the number of border arrests dropped about 44 percent from January to February. But it’s too early to know if that will hold or what prompted it. Monthly and seasonal fluctuations are common.
Trump hasn’t expanded the ranks of the Border Patrol or any other immigration or border-security agency. His orders haven’t yet changed the way the Border Patrol operates and so far there is no evidence that more people are being deported. The wall he’s promised to build isn’t up.
The number of border arrests is the primary measure of the flow of illegal immigration at the border, though an imperfect one. If fewer people are arrested, that’s taken to mean fewer people are trying. Over recent decades, presidents have tried to have it both ways. They cite low arrest numbers to illustrate how their policies are dissuading people from crossing illegally. When arrest numbers are high, they say that’s because they’re being aggressive in enforcing the border.
In addition to blocking all Muslims from entering the United States, his apparent disrespect for women and the overt racial tone that has become a staple of his campaign, building a wall and demanding that Mexico pay for it has become the foundation of Trump’s rise among the Republican base.
So naturally, the so-called “real reporters” collectively avoid this border wall issue and concentrate instead on filling their headlines with sensational stories and gossip. And the satirical entertainers like John Oliver do the real reporting.
“The border wall is one of the few policy proposals Trump has talked about in detail, so instead of mocking or dismissing it out of hand, tonight let’s take a serious proposal by a serious presidential candidate seriously,” announced Oliver.
Trump initially said the border wall would cost $4 billion—though that estimate has grown to $12 billion—would be made of “hardened concrete,” “rebar,” and steel,” and would be anywhere from 35 to 55 feet in height. But according to Oliver, $12 billion doesn’t even come close to what this monstrosity would cost. If we work with the lowest estimated height, 35 feet, and The Donald’s suggested length, 1,000 miles, experts say it would run $10 billion for the concrete panels, $5 billion to $6 billion for the steel columns plus labor, $1 billion for concrete footing for the columns and a concrete foundation, $2 billion to build roads so 20-ton trucks can deliver the materials, and an additional 30 percent for engineering, design, and management. So that’s $25 billion already, and that’s justbuilding the wall.
According to the Sierra Club, “The Congressional Budget Office estimates that wall maintenance costs will exceed the initial construction costs within seven years…” so, sayeth Oliver, “it’s a big, dumb thing that only gets more expensive over time. It’s like getting a pet walrus: You think it’s stupid now, wait until you learn what a bucket of sea cucumbers costs. You’ve not prepared for that!”
As for Trump’s theory that Mexico will pay for the wall—which he’s repeated ad nauseam—well, that’s probably not going to happen, either. The current treasury secretary of Mexico told The Guardian that “Mexico, under no circumstance, is going to pay for the wall that Mr. Trump is proposing,” while two former Mexican presidents said the country wouldn’t pay a cent for, in the words of Vicente Fox, “that fucking wall.”