|A Monument to Ineptitude||
12 January 2021
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
President Trump today will visit a border town, Alamo, Texas (not to be confused with the Alamo, where the famous defeat of the Texans by the Mexican army occurred). His purpose will be to highlight his wall along the southern border. His handlers are hoping this will divert attention from his attempt to overthrow the government of the US last week. It probably won't because of the votes related to impeachment that are going on. Yet if they were any good at their jobs, they would not put Mr. Trump anywhere near the wall because it has been an abject failure.
First and foremost, building a wall in response to a boom in illegal border crossings is a debatable policy response. It might work, or it might not. Yet when Mr. Trump came to office, such crossings were at a 50-year low. There was no wave of "bad hombres" (to use Mr. Trump's term) leaving Chichuahua for Texas, Baja for Alta California. It was pointless.
Second, the most common way for illegal entry into the United States begins as a legal entry. Simply put, people come to the US and over-stay their visas. During the 1980s, there was a huge number of Irish citizens (people a color Mr. Trump likes) in the US who arrived at JFK and LAX with 6-month tourist visas who were working at various jobs 18 months later. A wall does not stop that.
Third, the border between the United States and Mexico is 1,954 miles long from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. A gap of more than 3 feet anywhere along the line renders the wall pointless. White House Spokesman Judd Deere said the visit would mark Trump's "completion of more than 400 miles of border wall -- a promise made, promise kept -- and his administration’s efforts to reform our broken immigration system."
The Dallas Morning News points out that this is complete nonsense. The paper reported this morning "At last count, some 452 miles has been built. About 12 miles of that is along segments of the border without any barrier before. The rest replaces shorter and less sturdy barrier." It works out to about 3 miles of new barrier per year of the Trump era. That paper adds, "By the time he leaves office, it [the border] will be about 40% fenced."
Finally, the promise made was that Mexico was going to pay for the wall. The truth is not a single peso arrived to cover the billions of dollars spent. Most of the money was taken from the defense budget with dubious legality. Once again, the Dallas Morning News stated, "The project has cost $15 billion so far, just $4.5 billion of that provided by Congress. Trump diverted the rest from the military budget when lawmakers balked at full funding."
Meanwhile, the Rio Grande Valley where Alamo lies has one of the worst Covid-19 infection rates (and therefore hospitalization and death rates) of any place in the country. And of course, there is the small matter of the insurrection he led on Wednesday.
So the president's visit to the wall is an apt way to memorialize his disastrous single term in office. It was unnecessary. It was inappropriate for the problem it allegedly addressed. It was inadequate. And it was not paid for as promised. It is designed as a distraction. It will stand as a monument to his ineptitude and incompetence.
© Copyright 2021 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.