Hey, Donald — listen up.
You've been president for less than a week now, and already you're moving forward with your absurd and wildly unnecessary plan to build a wall along our border with Mexico — and have them pay for it at some point. (Might want to talk to them about that, by the way; they don't seem to into the plan.)
But you seem to not understand some really important things about the U.S.-Mexico border. For instance...
It's really long.
Like, close to 2,000 miles long. You've said building the wall would be "easy," that it can be done "inexpensively" — anywhere from $4 billion to $12 billion "if you know what you’re doing.’’ But to build the gigantic wall you envisioned along even half the border, you're probably going to have to plunk down something more like $38 billion. Worth it?
There's already kind of a wall there.
The United States border with Mexico already features 650 miles of fencing. It's 18 to 26 feet high, costs billions of dollars and is easily scaled, according to the Washington Post. It is, according to the New York Times' Lawrence Downes, a "monument to futility."
The "great wall" is a logistical nightmare.
You've said you'd build the wall "very nicely"; "I'm very good at building things," you said. But beyond the sheer magnitude of the materials and manpower you'd need to complete this project, there are a lot of other logistical concerns you may not have considered.
For instance, did you know that some treaty obligations and flood zones along the border would require that the wall be built well within the U.S. in some cases? How would you make Mexico pay for that, and what would happen to the no-man's land that'd be created between the wall and the actual border? And what about the portions of the border that run through public lands held by national parks? Or border land that's privately owned?
Building a "great wall" is not as easy as it may seem.
It's also pointless.
Here's the kicker, Donald. Even if by some feat of will you get this thing built, it won't really have accomplished anything. As Reason pointed out, net migration flow from Mexico has been negative since 2008. Illegal immigration from Mexico is declining and a report in the Journal on Migration and Human Security found that the number of people overstaying visas exceeded the number who entered across the southern land border between 2008 and 2012. As such, your border wall won't be a reform that'll stop those so-called "bad hombres"; it'll be an exclusionary racist symbol — one that Mexico seems pretty adamant about not paying for.