While on the campaign trail, President Elect Donald Trump said he will build a wall between Mexico and the United States and make Mexico pay for it. Most pundits laughed and claimed it would never happen and some Americans were outraged and called him a bigot or racist. Others said it would just be too big of a project to ever dream of completing or that it would not really stop people from crossing the boarder as they would just find a way around the structure no matter how big. I would like to challenge that point of view and propose a new case for Trump’s “wall”.
The people, who claim that America will not be able to built a wall and get Mexico to pay for it, are under the assumption that Trump’s meant a literal wall like the Great Wall of China or the former Berlin Wall. At no time did Donald Trump present actual engineering blue prints for a physical wall. Perhaps Donald Trump makes a point of choosing his words carefully and crafting his promises in a way that leads people to envision what ever comes into their mind as the solution. If Trump says he will build a wall and get Mexico to pay for it then the people who want this to happen will imagine he is talking about an actual giant wall. People who are in favor of illegal immigrants will also imagine a giant wall preventing them from getting what they want. This way of thinking is naive and lacks depth of thought.
Obviously a actual giant wall is not impenetrable especially when it is bordered on two ends by large navigable bodies of water. Anyone can see that people would just go around it if they can’t go over it. So why would Donald Trump propose a ridiculously expensive project like this and say that Mexico will pay for it? My guess is that he never intended to build a physical wall and it was just his purposely designed lack of details that led people to think this. Donald Trump is no dummy, he is a negotiator and a business man who calculates his every word and makes it look like it’s off the cuff. There are walls that can be both physical and tall that are not simply made of concrete and steel. There are doors that people can walk through that are not built on hinges with deadbolts and door knobs.
The details of Donald’s trumps wall are in between his spoken words, words that the mainstream media loves to tear apart. The following is my case for a functional wall that will prevent illegal immigration and how it could be built and paid for in just four steps.
Step One: Physical
Increase active military presence along our borders. We have many military bases along our southern boarder such as Fort Bliss, TX, Fort Huachuca, AZ, Douglas AFB, AZ, Yuma AAF, AZ to name just a few. The cost to relocate more military units to these bases would be high but not too high since there is already some infrastructure there. This initiative could be funded simply by pulling just half of our military assets back from conflicts overseas, which cost the U.S. Tax Payer $150 billion annually, and reallocating that money to the task of securing the border. Reducing our military footprint overseas by 50% and reassigning them to the job of securing our boarders would effectively increase the Customs and Border Patrol budget by 553%.
The purpose of our standing federal military is to protect our nation from enemy’s both foreign and domestic. There is already a operation for the US military called Joint Task Force-6 that has been around since 1989, and still exists today, which has the purpose of securing our southern border in support of the DEA and Department of Homeland Security. My unit at Fort Drum, NY was training for that mission down on the Mexican boarder in 2003 before we were re-tasked to deploy to Afghanistan.
Step Two: Tall
Use nonlethal unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV), and tethered balloons to provide surveillance 24/7 along the boarder and the waters within 12 miles of our shore line. These assets would be used to identify and track people or vehicles crossing the boarder illegally. There are thousands of military and civilian unmanned systems currently operating overseas on the tax payer dime. These assets could be brought home and deployed along the southern and norther boarders. It is much cheaper to operate these systems in the United States than it is in combat theaters so the cost of operations would be offset by the savings.
Combine these assets with quick reaction forces from the Boarder Patrol and U.S. Military and it would create a virtually impenetrable wall of protection. The intelligence gathering skills gained from fighting in the middle east would come in handy in determining the level of threat that specific border incursions presented. Based on pre determined threat factors the use of military versus boarder patrol would be determined.
Step Three: The Door
The “big beautiful door” to let in legal immigrants that Donald Trump talked about is a metaphor for immigration reform. Improve our immigration systems to provide fast, safe, legal entry into the United States for work and travel and create better paths to citizenship for those who wish to stay permanently. One of the steps to entry on a work permit would have to be a active job offer in writing from an employer who will also report all earnings to the state, local, and federal tax authority.
This is probably the most vital step in preventing immigrants who are “good people” in their own country from entering the United States illegally. By entering the United States illegally you automatically give up your “good people” status and become criminals guilty of improper entry which is punishable by fine or up to 6 months in prison on the first offense. People who are already in the United States without authorization must be fined and deported as criminals. These people may request reentry under the new program after having a background check to ensure that thier only crime was thier initial improper entry.
Step Four: Mexico Pays for It
Much of the cost of this virtual wall could be paid for by charging all immigrant workers a flat rate U.S. income tax on all wages earned in the United States. This tax would be deducted automatically from their paychecks and not subject to tax deductions. According to the Pew Research Center “the U.S. civilian workforce included 8 million unauthorized immigrants in 2014”.
8 million people working, above the table, earning just the poverty level income ($11,880 for a single individual) and taxed at a standard tax rate of 10% (the bottom bracket in our current system) would provide a tax revenue of just over 9.5 billion dollars. The 2016 budget for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (Page 37) was 13.56 billion dollars. That tax revenue alone would be an offset of 70% to the current budget or an increase of 70% on top of it.
Under these assumptions we could build a virtual wall and get Mexico along with other countries to pay for the it, at least in part.