Trump’s Border Wall Is A Dumb Idea

donald trump
Donald Trump (Gage Skidmore)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall to stop illegal immigration along the entire 1,954 miles of the U.S border with Mexico is one of his most popular proposals – especially because he say he’s going to make Mexico pay for it. The wall is so controversial that former Mexican President Vicente Fox publicly declared that Mexico is not going to pay “for that fucking wall.”

One factor in Trump’s favor is that Congress passed, and President George W. Bush signed, the REAL ID Act in 2005. Section 102 of the act gave the Secretary of Homeland Security sole discretion to ignore all laws when building border walls. According to this controversial provision, the only way a new border wall can be challenged in court is if it violates the U.S. Constitution.

A lot of arguments are being made for and against building the wall, and most of them are being made by people, like Trump, who have little firsthand knowledge of the situation along the border. But many Americans who live along the border in Arizona and New Mexico have come out against it – despite the fact that undocumented immigrants are causing serious problems for them.

“It doesn’t matter how tall of a wall you put up, they are going to tunnel under it, they are going to torch through it,” said New Mexican Erica Valdez, who has a ranch in the southwestern corner of the state. She was attending a March 10 public meeting about border security in Animas, NM.

In the border town of Nogales in neighboring Arizona many residents showing up at the polls to vote in the state’s March 22 presidential preference election also expressed a negative opinion about the wall.

One longtime Nogales resident told an Arizona Republic newspaper reporter that, “No matter how high, how thick or how good you build a wall, the Mexicans will find a way to come across. I will bet anyone they do.”

Another said a wall, “would be a waste of money. How many billions is it going to cost? That’s money that can go to something else.”

And another agreed that a wall, “is not practical. It costs too much money.”

The best way to control illegal immigration, these people agreed, would be to place more U.S. Border Patrol agents on the border.

Updates

On July 31, 2018, the Trump administration said it was waiving 37 environmental laws and regulations to build prototypes of the president’s planned border wall and to replace the existing border infrastructure along a 15-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico boundary near San Diego.

On October 10, 2018, the Trump administration announced it was waiving nearly 30 environmental laws to expedite the construction of additional border wall in Texas.

On December 22, 2018, the federal government began a partial shutdown because Congress refused to send Pres. Trump a budget bill that didn’t contain $5.7 billion to pay for the construction of more Mexican border wall. Trump blamed Democrats for failing to agree to his funding demand, while he ignored his promise to voters that Mexico would pay for the wall.

On January 25, 2019, Pres. Trump conceded defeat and agreed to bill that reopened the federal government without providing more money for him to build his border wall.  The temporary agreement was set to expire on February 15.

On February 11, 2019, Conservation CATalyst, a Tucson-based wildlife-preservation group, released videos of a rare ocelot roaming through the mountains of southern Arizona,  near the U.S.-Mexico border. Local conservationists warned that Trump’s proposed border wall would create a barrier in wildlife travel corridors that traverse the border.

On February 15, 2019, Pres. Trump signed a budget bill to avoid another government shutdown. It didn’t give him with the $5 billion he wanted to build a border wall, so after signing the bill he declared a national emergency in order to reallocate money from elsewhere in the government to pay for the wall.

On February 26, 2019, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a resolution to terminate Pres. Trump’s national emergency declaration. The resolution was then sent to the Republican-led Senate.

Texas Should be Allowed to Secede

texas state flag
Texas state flag

The 2014 Scottish independence vote renewed discussion about Texas seceding from the U.S.

Texans have already seceded twice. The first time was when Texas was part of Mexico. American immigrants living in Texas became upset after the Mexican government outlawed further immigration from the U.S. in 1830 because too many of the Americans wanted to own slaves. The American immigrants were further angered when Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna established a military dictatorship in 1834. Their dissatisfaction with the Mexican central government eventually led to the Texas Revolution in 1835, wherein Texas won its independence from Mexico when it defeated Santa Anna’s army at the Battle of San Jacinto in April of 1836. Texas remained a sovereign nation until 1845 when Texans agreed to join the U.S. as a slave state.

Texas seceded for the second time in 1861 when it reacted to the election of Republican anti-slavery President Abraham Lincoln by joining other slave states to form the Confederate States of America. The secession declaration of Texas said that the United States was “established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.”

U.S. Army defeated the Confederacy, and the major Confederate armies surrendered in April, 1865. It wasn’t until June 19th, however, that Union Major General Gordon Granger was able to notify blacks in Texas that they were now free, as news of  President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, had been withheld from them.

Texas was finally readmitted to the Union in 1870 after it agreed to abide by the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed slavery and protected the rights of former slaves. It was the second to last former Confederate state to be readmitted.

Texas has long been a hotbed of right-wing politics so the 2008 election of the first black U.S. president Barak Obama upset many people. Obama’s reelection in 2012 increased the discussions about Texas seceding again. The Texas Nationalist Movement, for example, has a Facebook page that’s garnered over 190,000 likes. I suspect, however, that many of the people who “liked” this page weren’t Texans, but Americans from other states who think that getting rid Texas is a good idea.

There would certainly be some advantages to the rest of the U.S. if Texas seceded. The state, for instance, receives about 43% more money from the federal government than its residents pay in federal taxes. And the textbooks used by many U.S. school children would no longer have to be dumbed-down so they can be sold in Texas, which is the largest market for schoolbooks. Furthermore, people like George W. Bush, Rick Perry, Louie Gohmert and Ted Cruz would no longer be U.S. citizens. But of course the biggest advantage to getting rid of Texas would be that the Dallas Cowboys would be kicked out of the NFL and could no longer be called America’s Team.

You Might Be A Gringo, If

sombreroThe use of the term “gringo” can be traced back a couple of hundred years to Spain, where it was used to describe foreigners that didn’t speak proper Spanish. Today it’s used in Latin American countries to describe white, non-Spanish speakers. It doesn’t necessarily mean something bad, as it’s only derogatory when it’s used that way.

I live in the Phoenix metro area of the desert Southwest where the word continues to take on new meanings. Like, for example, when it’s used by Phoenix residents to describe a white newcomer to Arizona, usually a former Midwesterner or Easterner, who is completely ignorant of Southwestern culture.

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy:

You might be a gringo if the first thing you say to the waitress at a Mexican restaurant is, “It’s not too spicy, is it?”

You might be a gringo if you think it’s important to have a grassy, green lawn in your yard.

You might be a gringo if you go outside in the middle of the day and lay in the sun – with or without sunscreen.

You might be a gringo if you don’t think there’s such a thing as good refried beans.

You might be a gringo if you’re scared by little lizards.

You might be a gringo if you refuse to live in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops during the summer.

You might be a gringo if you think there should be ground beef, beans and tomatoes in a bowl of chili.

You might be a gringo if you’re afraid to go to Rocky Point, Mexico.

You might be a gringo if you don’t know that two consecutive letter L’s in a Spanish word are pronounced with a Y sound.

You might be a gringo if you prefer flour tortillas over corn tortillas.

You might be a gringo if you don’t know that the letter G used in the words saguaro and gila is silent.

You might be gringo if your house is full of colonial style early American furniture.

You might be a gringo if you’ve never tried a shot of tequila.

You might be a gringo if you prefer shredded lettuce over shredded cabbage on your tacos.

You might be a gringo if you think cactuses are ugly.

And you are definitely a gringo if you put ketchup, instead of salsa, on your breakfast burrito.

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