In the game of poker, you have different moves you can make to apply pressure to win the hand. In the case of the current government shutdown, President Trump has repeatedly ‘played‘ some of those moves. He has not only ‘raised the pot,’ but he also has even ‘checked-raised,’ and now it appears he may even be ‘going-all-in‘ by shoving all his chips to the center.
President Trump began his sales-pitch of building a ‘Southern Border Wall’ on the 2015-2016 campaign trail. He sold America on this wall by creating the chant “Build-That-Wall” and “Mexico will pay for the Wall” in most if not all of his campaign rallies. As with many things in life, times and circumstances will change, and sometimes there is precious little that can be done about it.
This past week a friend of mine put up a fascinating analysis of what installing a true wall across over 2000 miles would look like. From San Diego east to Yuma, Arizona would not be that difficult. However, once you leave Yuma and start running east, now you get into some severe issues with terrain. For instance, South of Sierra Vista, Arizona, Bisbee, and Tombstone, you have the Chiricahua Mountains that run nearly to New Mexico. This mountain separates the United States from Mexico. These mountains are so cavernous, steep, and dangerous; you can barely cross them on foot, let alone by any sort of vehicle. I’m not an Engineer, but I have personally been around this mountain range, and I can all but guarantee you that it is not possible to build a wall or even a fence across much of this range.
Then you get into the issue of land grabbing by the government for the construction and maintenance of a wall across the open portions where a wall can be constructed. When you get to New Mexico (near El Paso), you now are confronted with the Rio Grande, River. The border here is the center of the river, who is going to claim what for a border? Sands continually move, during the rainy season, the river often comes nearly out of its banks on a daily basis during monsoon season.
I have no clue, but I can all but bet that when the President begins instituting “Imminent Domain” laws on these ranchers, you’re going to see a flurry of lawsuits.
There was a time when I was all for a wall. Now I am rethinking this situation, mainly since the President has pretty much boxed himself into a corner. Trump wants some $5,000,000,000.00 for this construction, and then it’s only for a little over 200 miles of the building of the wall. Let’s imagine this for a moment. The United States installs the technology needed to track these illegals as they cross. We already have some it in place, so let us finish it off. We already have hundreds of immigration law enforcement on the border. Let’s hire another 1000 border control guards. That’s right, 1000 new green jumpsuits. Pay them $80,000 a year. Folks we are talking about $80,000,000.00 a year in salaries. We can pay these guys and gals for some 20-years before we ever approach the 5 Billion dollars the President is currently looking at.
I can tell you that you’re not building a wall in the Big Bend region of Texas either.
Personally speaking, I’m all for completing the construction of fencing where it will work, technology for the rest and sealing our border. This needs to be done. But in turn, we need to do it in the most practical manner that is the most cost-efficient for the long term. The fact is, billions of dollars could be used for more drones, more surveillance equipment and hundreds of more agents for decades to come.
President Trump has boxed himself into a corner with the hundreds of campaign rallies and the continual recitation of “Build that Wall” along with “Mexico will pay for it.” Today he is attempting to convince Americans that Mexico will be paying for it through the new trade agreements. I honestly don’t think that America is going to swallow that line, much less sign on to it.
The Democrats are trying to sell us on ‘polling says that America doesn’t approve of a wall by a wide majority.’ The Republicans are trying to claim that it is the Democrats who don’t want a wall. The truth is; neither party wants a wall. Why? The Democrats want to leave everything open to increase their illegal voting rolls to ultimately claim Texas as a Blue State. The Republican’s have been lobbied hard by corporate America because they want to keep the flow of cheap labor. Throughout the Midwest for instance, most of your packing houses for pork, chicken, and beef are major utilizers of cheap immigrant labor.
The $64 question now becomes, do we want to have battles for land over the next 20-years in courtroom dramas? If we don’t do that, then do we cede the Rio Grande River to Mexico when we construct a wall down the middle of it? If we are truly sealing off the United States, then what about the 1500 miles of West Coast beachfront? While we are at it, what about the coastline beginning near Harlingen, Texas and running to the great State of Maine?
Reality is that the $5 Billion dollars is not the issue at all. This is a philosophical issue which America needs to decide once and for all which side of the wall we come down on. Yes, pun intended!
As for the government shutdown, the longer it drags on, the more the negative public relations will harm the Republicans. A solution needs to be found for the White House and soon before this begins harming our 2020 chances.