The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Can Trump's Border Wall Work?

English: Trump Hotel in Las Vegas (tilt and ve...
 Trump Hotel in Las Vegas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      As I indicated in my previous post, today's post will present my reasoning why Donald Trump's idea of the border wall between Mexico and the United States not only could be highly effective, but also could potentially be a very good idea that would be embraced by the governments and citizens of both countries.  Before you shut me out on this, keep in mind that this post is nothing to do with Trump the man and candidate, but is simply my argument why the border wall might be better than many people think.  To my knowledge none of what follows here is what Donald Trump has said, but this is my speculative vision on the possibilities of a wall as I imagine it.

The Concept of the Wall

      The border wall is one of the pivotal points of appeal for many regarding the campaign of Donald Trump.  When I first heard him announce the idea I laughed.  Many called the idea totally absurd and impractical while millions of Americans fed up with illegal immigration embraced the idea of a border wall that would stem the flow of Mexicans and others coming through Mexico to make their way to benefit from whatever the United States had to offer them without going through normal legal channels.  Then the more Mr. Trump touted the wall and the subject became the main point of conversation in media and among the other candidates, the more I began to think about how this would all work.

       The rhetoric has been entertaining:  "We're going to build a wall.  It's going to be beautiful. It's going to have a big beautiful door where people can come in legally.  You're going to love it."  Okay. "And Mexico's going to pay for it."  Huh?  How does that work?

English: Great Wall of China near Jinshanling ...
 Great Wall of China near Jinshanling  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why Would Mexico Want to Pay for the Wall?

        The Mexican government would undoubtedly be resistant to paying outright for a wall. Convincing them to do it would require a powerful presentation that would have to demonstrate the benefit of doing so.   There are many potential ways of making Mexico pay for the wall through what could be considered punitive measures.   Trump has already suggested some potential ways of getting the money for the wall.   We could impose taxes on remittances on money from the states going into Mexico, tariffs on goods coming from Mexico, turning trade imbalances to our favor, and other means.  Other possibilities might entail charging additional fees to those coming to the states or taking away foreign aid that the U.S. gives to Mexico.   A combination of measures such as these would likely over a few years provide the funds needed to build this pipe dream of a wall.

        But what if the United States could convince Mexico that building the wall would work greatly to their advantage in the end?  If the wall concept were marketed in such a way that the Mexican government could understand that such a wall would provide a huge economic stimulus that could result in massive regional development on both sides of the border then they might be persuaded to take the idea far more seriously.  Creating a powerful partnership between our two nations could lead to an unprecedented agreement that would create a dramatic impetus to both economies.  They would have to be convinced and we would have to be willing to work with Mexico in every possible way to assist them in cleaning up corruption and the drug cartels.  It could all come to fruition if the vision were made real enough.  Again I say it would come down to some effective marketing and persuasion.  Dedication to the ideals of the mission and a sincere effort to cooperate would be paramount to the success of this venture.

Economic Stimulus

       The "beautiful wall" would need to be attractive in appearance as well as contain surveillance technology that would suit our modern times.  We would not want an ugly metal or concrete apparatus such as some of you might have seen in places such as El Paso or San Diego.  After all we shouldn't want to create the image of a prison wall or a DMZ zone between warring countries.  This is not a wall to attempt to stop heavily armed militaristic invading forces, but a deterrent intended to keep people from entering the country by means that evade legal procedure.  A properly constructed wall could virtually stop all or most flow of drugs or other contraband into the country.

       When I envision the wall when Trump talks about it I think of one of the Trump properties--a modern thing aesthetically designed fulfilling its purpose in a practical manner.  The wall would be expensive, but all things considered it would have great viability in the present as well as the long range future.

         A dynamic project such as this would create a surge in job creation not only for the construction trades, but for all businesses in the locales where the wall was being built.   Part of our deal should include Mexican workers as well as labor from the U.S. side   It might be safe to say there would be an economic boom in the job market as well as nearly all aspects of the economy in the border cities and even having a farther reach beyond those cities most directly affected.

         Cleaning up the cities on the Mexican side to make them safer and with sounder infrastructure would encourage an infusion of investment from private sources.  These cities are far larger than their counterparts on the U.S. side and have a great potential to become destination spots for tourism and convention trade.  As these cities become more attractive, the cities on the U.S. side would likely experience similar growth.

       The bottom line is that large projects require sizable investment, but if approached in the proper manner the pay off can be enormous.  Through the tandem effort of the United States and Mexico we can turn the border region into an economic behemoth.   Remember--it takes money to make money.  If the border is managed well we can sustain that economy for decades to come.  There is no reason that Mexico should not assist in these efforts as they can experience great benefit in doing so.

Map showing the border region (U.S. Dept of Health & Human Svcs)

Regional Development

       As money pours into these regions we should see vast improvements in the infrastructure on both sides of the border.   Airports would need to be expanded or improved in order to accommodate increased numbers of travelers to the region.  With a safer Mexico that would likely result in more ground traffic there would be more improvements to the highway systems.   Development would not be confined only to the border, but likely extend to far greater distances.    Greater prosperity would lead to more tax revenue which then can be diverted into projects that benefit the citizenry (and hopefully not line the pockets of corrupt opportunists).   Investments would be encouraged which would lead to new businesses and expansion of existing businesses.

       We might also look at this another way.   The wall concept has become famous throughout the world.  If the wall is built and it is indeed beautiful--a sight to behold--then the wall could become a draw like other famous landmarks throughout the world.  An impressive modern highly technological feat of ingenious engineering might become our Tomorrowland version of The Great Wall of China, Stonehenge, or the Roman Colosseum. This factor alone would create development in the border region that could impact the U.S. and Mexico in significant ways.

        A wall covering every inch of the border does not make sense as in some areas it would be impractical and not economically feasible.  Since I'm not specifically familiar with all of the terrain involved, but do have some general knowledge that there are mountainous regions, I realize a wall crossing the entire border should not be done.  In some areas such as the Big Bend National Park area in Texas--an area with dramatically beautiful scenery as well as ecological considerations--building a wall would be a travesty.  There is other technology and methodology that can be used in any of these cases.  For the most part though, especially in the areas where there are the highest numbers of border incursions, the wall would not be much different than constructing a highway or a large building.

        Experts have most likely looked at this issue from many aspects and  what has not yet been determined would have to be figured out.  It can be done and it can be done well.

A Possible Dream?

       Okay, perhaps I've gone overboard with my imagination.  Or have I?  My mind becomes fired up when I start thinking about this, but this is the way I operate when something of this nature fuels my thinking.  I'm a dreamer--perhaps even a visionary.  But please don't say this is something that can't be done without telling me exactly why.  If you believe that the wall is just a foolish pipe dream and none of what I've described here is possible in your mind then tell me what I'm missing.

        This post has already gone longer than I like my posts to go so I'm going to stop here for now to  allow my ideas to settle in your minds.  I do have one more point to make about this big wall idea as I have imagined it, but that is going to wait until Friday when I will present a more idealistic aspect of this vision.

         And if you are convinced that I am off base and this idea can never work, I have a special message for you.  But you will have to wait for that next post to hear my message to the doubters.

          Do you think I might be onto something or am I spouting off silly thinking?   Please tell me one way or another why you think the way you do about this.   Is there anything that you think I've missed regarding the positive benefits of the border wall as I've explained it?   Is there a fallacy in my thinking that knocks down this fantasy wall?
       



36 comments:

  1. The idea of a wall that big seems way over the top, although if it kept out illegal immigrants, it might be worth it. However, we build a wall, they'll just dig tunnels.
    Surprised Canada hasn't put up a wall to keep us out...

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    1. Alex, did you read the points I made and actually consider them? A correctly built wall with advanced technology would essentially preclude tunnels from happening.

      How many illegal aliens have gone to Canada aside from draft dodgers and others who break U.S. law?

      Lee

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  2. Oh yeah, a beautiful graffiti covered wall. It's gonna be a thousand miles of spraypainted tags. I agree with Alex, they'll just build tunnels. The wall was a disaster in Berlin. I like the idea of keeping illegals out but I am not sure walling our southern border is the way to go. They will just find a new way to come in. Probably by container ship to the ports.

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    1. JoJo, I refer you to my response to Alex. Sure, illegals might look for other ways to come in, but a wall in tandem with enforcing laws and diligence in seeking out illegals, prosecuting them, and then taking the proper action would start being effective. In the past years we have been very lax about illegal immigration.

      Lee

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  3. I plan to not comment on politics nary a bit for 2016.
    You have put a great deal of thought into the wall. I don't think it is feasible. To get it built, so many will have to be swayed.

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    1. Ann, if arguments for the wall are powerful enough then swaying the doubters might be very possible.

      Lee

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  4. Not sure about the concept of the wall; I think I would rather favor legislature that made English the official language of the United States and stop providing translators to those that haven't bothered to learn English in all the years they have lived here, no matter what country they came from and no matter if they are illegal or not. Having lived 10 minutes from Tijuana, I often felt I lived in a foreign country though it was still in the United States since everyone around me spoke anything but English. I say if you are going to come here illegally or legally, at least learn the language.

    betty

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    1. Betty, I totally agree with you about the English thing. We no longer provide any incentive for immigrants to learn English and that creates a very divisive atmosphere. I lived in San Diego back in the early 60's and I can't recall seeing signs in Spanish or hearing Spanish spoken beyond Tijuana. Now where I live near L.A. I often feel like a foreigner in my own country. Instead of adapting to the traditional ways of the U.S. the new immigrants want to change us to be like the countries from where they came. I don't think this is good change.

      Lee

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    2. I don't live in California, Florida, or anywhere else where there are a lot of Spanish speaking immigrants, so I don't know if they are trying to change us or not as you said. You'd know better. Also, do they actually have that much personal power to do so? Instead, I would question the "greed" of American entrepreneurs, large corporations, and people who need cheap labor. "They" are the ones packaging their products with instructions in both English and Spanish because "they" will make more money if Spanish speaking people can read the products and be more likely to purchase. That is the way I see it.

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    3. Anita, there is little doubt that corporate greed plays into the immigration dilemma. They seem to think their choices come down to using the cheap immigrant labor or exporting the jobs to countries where people will work more cheaply. Until this problem is addressed with some other plan I see no good alternate solution in sight.

      As far as power to change things it's not so much the personal power to create drastic change but the subtle change that comes with the growing immigrant population. We now have to accommodate cultural differences with changes in social institutions. In places like L.A. the influence is obvious and in some ways it's kind of cool, but it's also very expensive and difficult to attempt to accommodate everyone.

      Lee

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  5. Honestly, if they put as much effort as you had in musing about this, they probably could make it work and have it be helpful to many people. But that's rose colored glasses and I have no idea how far Trump has thought into his idea of "build a wall!"

    It's actually a bit hard for me to be that concerned about it either. I'm all the way up in Michigan so we don't get many illegals from the south, and I'm pretty sure all the Canadians come here legally given the water separating us.

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    1. Patricia, indeed Michigan has some immigration issues that could prove far more problematic in the future--and it isn't Canadians.

      Lee

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  6. You certainly have put a lot of thought into this, Lee. You do list some positives, but I just can't see this happening. People will find new ways to sneak across, regardless. Stricter law enforcement is a better idea, IMO, but as long as greedy people continue to hire illegals for slave wages, the problem will not be resolved. I visited Berlin in 1969 and saw that wall first-hand. It was dismal! The whole world celebrated when it finally came down.

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    1. Debbie D, if the incentive for coming into the country illegally is taken away then that would likely eliminate illegal immigration for the most part. Enforcing the laws is a necessity. A "big beautiful wall" should not in any way resemble the Berlin wall. Of course they were only interested in oppression and not building up a region or an economy.

      Lee

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  7. I hope this is a pipe dream. . .Trump is building a tower here much to my dismay (I think his buildings are like him, too slick and shiny) What's next - a wall between Canada and the US? It says something about the disillusionment of US citizens that they are even considering electing such a virulent candidate, whether he wins the presidency or not. Is the US that desperate? Remember, Lee, I am an ex-pat for a reason, hence I have my opinion. I have family in the States, so I do care what happens to our used-to-be friendly American neighbour.

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    1. DG, I think you are exactly right about the disillusionment of the voters and most everyone else. It's not so much out of desperation that we seek radically different candidates, but a desire for a true revolution of change that would put us on a better road than we have been on for the past 30 years. I don't know where the world is going in the future, but I don't think the frustration of the individual is the domain of the U.S. alone.

      I've stayed in one Trump hotel--the one in Las Vegas--and I thought it was exceptional and quite beautiful. I'm not the only one who likes the appearance of Trump properties.

      Lee

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  8. You refer to technology advances - they have been more into computer games and other important things, not into anything as mundane as a wall. You could build the wall over a line of 30' deep piles, drilled into the ground and filled with concrete. That would drive up the cost more than somewhat, and escalate the need for tunnel depth. I believe that Genghis Khan used ladders to flood his hordes over the beautiful and Great Wall of China.

    How about pursuing your idea of regional development by using the money for the wall to co-operate with Mexico on projects that will increase employment for its people? They have no reason but necessity to make the difficult trip here. We could also make it harder for our arms merchants to send guns and ammo to the narco-gangs down there, and our addicts could stop buying their product. We could stop sending hardened criminals to Central America after they finish their sentences in our prisons.

    I am sure that you could use your intelligence and education toward potential solutions to illegal immigration, Lee, without trying to justify this wall. Even Trump is backing away from it.

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    1. Jack, plans for the wall combined with technological have already been considered and some technology has been implemented. The Saudis have already began building a similar wall between their border in order to deter an incursion by ISIS. The knowledge is out there and so is the money to put it all into action.

      The expense of construction such as the 30' deep piles and other measures would make sense and not be exorbitant if the nature of the wall was planned accordingly. Plus a combination of technology of detecting underground activity as well as a concerted cooperative effort between both governments could virtually eliminate the tunnel problem.

      The co-operative efforts that you suggest is indeed noble, but we've had decades to implement such programs. And indeed some action has been taken, but not enough. We have to reevaluate how things have been done and could be done, but still I think the wall as I've described could coalesce movements toward development on a scale never before seen between the countries.

      Besides, this post is primarily an exercise in imagination where I was trying to figure out how the wall could work, not so much to justify it. The wall will not stop illegal immigration, but it will redirect the efforts of our government in establishing and maintaining a sensible immigration policy that might come close to nearly stopping it.

      I'll be addressing more in my Friday post.

      Lee

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  9. I hadn't thought about the economic end of it before this, and you make some decent points. I think the major flaw is that it is hard to believe that Mexico has the will to do anything that doesn't involve some level- if not several- of corruption. Until Mexico is motivated to make a better society of themselves, I don't know that either your or Jack Eiden's good ideas stand a chance.

    The best wall is a- not going soft on the war on drugs IN THIS COUNTRY- find ways to evaporate the demand, and b- USE e-verify for what it was made for, and FORCE all employers to abide by it on penalty of being put out of business and imprisoned.

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    1. CW, you're definitely right about changing the mindset of the Mexican government as well as our government. We also need to address the issues of drug trade and the cartels. We're not going to stop people from using drugs so we should legalize and tax them. Legitimizing the drug trade will cause the cartels to find new ways to operate as we take the money from them. Both governments need to focus strongly on eliminating or at least deterring cartel and gang activity.

      Changing hearts and minds is a huge challenge, but if the incentivation is strong enough I think we can head in the right direction.

      Lee

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  10. I like Jack Eiden's suggestions ... benefit to both sides which is what you've suggested too Arlee. CW Martin also suggests ways of bringing about benefits - for the US as well as Mexico. Maybe Obama and the pres of Mexico can get together.

    It's one helluva huge dilemna - perhaps the focus needs to NOT be on keeping people OUT even though I know you're speaking of keeping illegal this and illegal that out and protecting borders ... yet if the focus can be changed somehow that all benefit and that it's not us and them. We have all manner of illegals in our country (South Africa), bringing in drugs, collusion with the cops etc .. and may I say that I've an idea of your next BOTB song ... which I won't mention here unless you say I can ...

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    1. Susan, Jack and CW both are offering some suggestions that would have to happen in order to make other things fall into place. The issue is not just a wall, but a major adjustment in thinking. I do think we have to focus on keeping certain people out as we have legitimate concerns about terrorism and movements that want to institute a drastic change in our economy and lifestyle and this is a change that I and most other citizens don't want whether they know it could happen or not. I don't want divisive thinking but an attitude of working together. As I mentioned above I delve into this a bit more in my Friday post.

      By all means give me your guess. I think you've got it right without even hearing it.

      Lee

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  11. Another brick in the wall? Thanks for response - yes a multi layered conern as say re terrorism etc...

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    1. Susan, since you had already guess Leonard Cohen in my previous post I really thought you had the right guess. No, the song is not "Another Brick in the Wall", but that is a really good guess too.

      Lee

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    2. Thanks Lee and sorry for the typos in message - sld read 'concern as you say re terrorism etc' ... mmmm, I was almost certain it was Another Brick in the Wall ...

      Delete
  12. Having lived in a border town all my life I can attest the character of crossers has vastly changed over the years. These are not nice people looking for a better life any more. Every country that looks after its own people (good and bad) will benefit us by keeping them on their own side of the wall. Of course, some might go on home if the freebies are rescinded; whereby freeing up the billions it might take to build the wall in the first place.

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    1. Diedre, undoubtedly you've crossed over to the Mexico side and can attest to the fact that those towns could use economic boosts to improve infrastructure and business. The Mexican border towns can be very fun to visit, but anymore I'm kind of scared to go into Mexico based on news reports and warnings from the U.S. State Department. I think the Mexican border towns could have a lot of potential if made safe and better over all.

      Enforcing laws and taking away freebies would have a tremendous effect on people staying illegally. If they really want to be here they should and probably will be willing to go through the proper channels..

      Lee

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    2. Indeed, we've crossed a great many times over the years and enjoyed the beach at a small fishing village where a few people still lived in cardboard boxes. We always brought them things like clothing, food, etc., and had to pay a bribe at the border to do so. It's just too dangerous anymore. I know folks who still cross over for affordable meds and dental care, can you imagine?

      I agree emphatically; don't come here to squat.

      Delete
  13. Lee, I think you've hit on some very good points in this post, more than I first thought of on the subject. We definitely need to do something to secure our borders to keep those intent on destroying America. I mean after all we have enough liberals as it is doing that within our country, but we know there are others who want to kill Americans, to create chaos, and tear down our way of life. So, why allow these evil people to take up residence here? Enough is enough! I can't wait to see what happens, if Trump is elected. Nicely written!

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    1. Cathy, thank you and I appreciate that you've read this and have taken time to think about it and comment. The Progressive or Socialist agenda needs more voters on their roles to create an undefeatable voting bloc. People who rely on freebies is what they want.

      Lee

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  14. I love your idea Arlee. It is so articulate and detailed. Illegal immigration is still illegal. While I understand there are some situations where people have to flee their country it is not right for borders to be disregarded. When people go through the proper channels to go to another country despite all the hurdles it is unfair for them that others don't.

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    1. Sheena-kay, I love your comment! Thank you! There are official border crossings and immigration check-ins. If people come to visit they need to go through the proper channels. If they want to come here to work and live then it's all the more important for them to check in especially if they expect to benefit from tax-funded services. It's just the way civilized countries handle things.

      Lee

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  15. walls don't build partnerships but actually do the opposite. it is always difficult when dealing with so many illegal aliens but the wall will not help at all but make hints even worse. It will not be pretty and will will create an isolationist feel. The Mexican government will not pay and I don't blame them one bit. It feels bullying and will not bring pRatanership but only the middle finger. Sorry but his wall is a bad idea and Trump is a bully

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    1. Birgit, maybe you didn't read my post carefully or perhaps I just didn't convey my vision well enough to you. This post was not meant to be about Trump or a personality, but I'm merely creating a vision of a wall that could create an effective partnership that would benefit all parties concerned. I'm for developing Mexico and the United States in a cooperative way where we have a partnership. It would take a much longer post to completely convey the vision, but I thought I laid out some basics that could make Mexico seriously consider the idea if they could sit down to share in the vision.

      Lee

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  16. I have spent my life trying to build bridges not walls. And yes, I did read every word of your post. If you want folks along both sides of your border to have economic benefit bridges can do everything a wall can. So why not bridges?

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    1. Jan, all of the border crossings have bridges, gates, or some proper means to cross over. Some will ignore the provided means and sneak across ignoring law and disrespecting the U.S. Building a healthy economy is the best bridge we can build, but it takes governments and attitudes on both sides of the fence.

      I welcome my next door neighbor to come into my house, but he needs to knock on my front door and ask if he can come in.

      Lee

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Lee