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Dan K. Thomasson: Walls don't work

Dan K. Thomasson, Tribune News Service on

Published in Op Eds

WASHINGTON -- Building walls to keep your neighbor out or you in is not a viable solution to anything in the modern world. If the Berlin Wall taught us anything, that was it. It is just a plain and simple stupid idea and an enormously expensive one.

How costly?

Donald Trump now says it is an $18 billion project. But not long ago his estimate was $4 billion. And it is probably safe to say that will become substantially more if the barrier gets approved and goes forward. By the way, we're not talking about an end project, only 350 miles or so to hook into an already completed section.

This isn't the Great Wall of China, which has strong architectural value, just big slabs of steel reinforced concrete set on edge at least as presented by the backers. Wonderful!

Just as dumb is the idea of trading the futures of young aliens from the south who were brought here without a say in the matter and would be sent back to lands they now consider foreign and often hostile. So what if many of these men and women called "dreamers," have much to offer the United States? Some would advocate we would at least get benefit out of the wall. What? An eyesore and the constant reminder of tyranny it brings with it (most experts don't believe it will be effective). It simply goes against the American culture.

But the wall is the price Trump wants to charge for working out an arrangement to granting the dreamer's permanence. He has avowed that this symbol of utmost security must go forward. After all, didn't he promise it to his backers during the campaign ...you know all those American voters who complain they are losing jobs they really don't want anyway. He did and it was one of his most consistent selling points to voters who were sons and daughters of immigrants themselves.

There are far cheaper ways of tightening border security that would be far less debilitating to the American image as we like to portray it around the world. Some of them don't even include deportation but a way of providing opportunities for those who have shown themselves to be good, taxpaying workers despite lacking documentation. Many of these probably will be employed in building the wall if it happens.

There is no certainty that Trump and his minions in Congress will be able to pull off the reforms (make that restrictions) quickly as they try to stare down possible, sizable losses in this year's midterm elections. Clearly, the recent White House overtures for some sort of accommodation on immigration stem from this concern and the need to reach it before lines harden as campaigning begins in earnest.

With a number of key Republicans announcing they won't run again, GOP leaders express mounting anxiety that their majorities in both houses of the legislature might be slipping away. Rep Darrell Issa (R-Ca), one of the latest to abandon his seat this fall, put it succinctly when he said that while he needed to spend more time on his family and personal business, one couldn't ignore the political realities of the situation. He and other California Republicans had been designated among the Democrats' most targeted.

 

With the Hispanic American vote substantial and growing in red states, Republicans see their own political viability as seriously threatened. Latinos –not counting aliens -- have become the nation's largest minority but still have responsibilities in their homelands. That is particularly true among non-citizens who support parents still in places of their origin through jobs in the United States

The American workforce is chock-a-block with the non-documented, an enormous number of whom are doing jobs Americans disdain as evidenced by a visit to any construction site large or small. To disrupt this wholesale without provision of relief could mean a major blow to the economy down the road. The administration has announced it was targeting 7-Eleven stores for its use of aliens, among the largest of these actions in immigration history. The White House also said it would oppose a federal district court injunction holding off the dream act.

But it all may be academic given the most imprudent racist remarks I ever heard a president make disparaging Haiti, Guatemala and African nations. He called them "shitholes" saying America should be accepting more immigrants from Norway. Democrats were outraged and even his allies blanched.

About The Writer

Dan Thomasson is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service and a former vice president of Scripps Howard Newspapers. Readers may send him email at: thomassondan@aol.com .

(c)2018 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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