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Fecteau: Trump’s Border Wall is a Red Herring

Friday, January 27, 2017


Here we go again. Will Mexico pay for this border wall President Donald Trump keeps talking about? According to Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, the answer is yes, but how? Not quite sure. Despite the talking points, Mexico will not likely pay for a supposed "incredible” wall (as Trump called it), spanning about  2,000 miles, intersecting rugged terrain, and running through private property. Nevertheless, Trump does have reasonable alternatives that should be explored instead of myopically focusing on a mere symbolic wall. 

At least temporarily, Trump must go with hat in hand to Congress to fund this ‘wall’ at taxpayer expense. There might be some pushback from members of his own party. Fiscally conscious Republican members of Congress may have a heart attack after seeing even the low-balled price estimate ranging in the billions. 

However, no one can even agree on the price. Some argue it is much higher than any figure endorsed by Trump of $12 billion on the campaign trail (one of many figures). CNBC reported that the wall could realistically cost upwards of $25 billion including maintenance. This is strikingly distinct from Trump’s estimate and vastly different than Mexico paying for it – if they will. 

Does the United States really need a wall? No, Trump’s wall is simply a red-herring, counterproductive distraction, and complete waste of money. According to a 2015 Pew Research report, undocumented immigration has been negative since 2009. In other words, Mr. Trump wants to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to build a wall to keep out non-existent, undocumented immigrants from coming into our country – only in America. 

More affordable, realistic alternatives exist. Currently, low-skilled workers have few, if any, avenues to come to the United States with the exception of undocumented immigration. One of the best ways to reduce undocumented immigration could be through a novel approach called a W-Visa. 

The idea of a W-Visa was talked about in-depth in the past, but never came fruition. Because of the long wait, sometimes spanning years for a worker visa, if at all available, an expedited W-Visa would incentivize low-skilled Mexican immigrants to come to the United States legally. This would alleviate some strain on those patrolling the border, and empower the United States to focus on the more undesirable, undocumented immigrants coming illegally into our country. 

Mr. Donald Trump has never been honest about this wall. The price tag is simply too low and Mexico likely isn’t paying for it – though we will find that out later. Trump's empty campaign promises may just haunt him the next presidential election. Instead, Trump should focus on the W-Visa program to reduce undocumented immigration on the border, providing an expedited, legal path to a better life – a win, win for everyone.  

Matt Fecteau ([email protected]) of Pawtucket, Rhode Island was a Democratic candidate for office in 2014 and 2016. He is a former White House national security intern and Iraq war veteran. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewFecteau


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