Do not be misled: I absolutely believe the Federal government must secure the borders and reform our embarrassing immigration system.
But a border wall is a terrible idea for a few reasons:
- It will cost a lot of money up front and take a long time to build
- It will cost a fortune in yearly upkeep
- It is insufficient to guarantee border security
For the $25 billion or so they are estimating it might cost, we could buy a LOT of border patrol officers and equipment. That will buy a lot of surveillance drones, or a network of thermal sensors. Just going by upfront cost, the border wall is a poor investment in terms of cost and capability.
Finally, infrastructure is not a one-time expense. The more infrastructure you have, the more you must maintain. This problem is magnified when you have someone actively seeking to destroy the infrastructure (as inevitably, someone will attempt to dig under and bore through the wall in many locations).
The only real value of the wall is symbolic. And is a wall like the Berlin Wall a symbol we want to have associated with the USA? The passive defense a wall provides is a poor investment and provides less capability than more active security measures like drone patrols or sensor networks, satellite surveillance, or what have you.
And while border security is important, we could make it much easier to secure the border if we:
1) made illegals absolutely ineligible for government assistance or licensing
2) insisted on education only in English for primary schools.
3) required national verification of lawful status for any and all employees
4) Made it MUCH MUCH easier for people desiring to become Americans to immigrate legally.
Some of the most patriotic Americans you will ever find are those who had to WORK and WAIT for their citizenship. They realize how precious America is and value that citizenship very highly. We want more people like that living here.
Our current system provides the exact opposite of correct inventive: it makes it easy and inconsequential to immigrate illegally, and it makes it unreasonably difficult to follow the law and do it "right." Any attempt to fix our immigration system that looks at only one half of the issue is a misguided attempt that will surely fail.