In addition to the social issues surrounding immigration reform, President Donald Trump’s wall will have massive environmental and economic impacts if constructed. These problems include cutting off of water flow and endangering wildlife, as well as the estimated cost of $12-15 billion.
In addition, it has been widely reported that the wall will not likely be effective in preventing illegal immigration. Thus, these risks and this cost outweigh the benefits of “making America great.”
In regards to the environmental impact, architects speaking to Scientific American “have called the border wall a ‘pharaonic project’ and a misplaced infrastructure priority. Environmentalists say it will continue to cut off the flow of water and wildlife in a changing climate.”
This means that the wall will harm ecosystems that exist along the border. The lack of water in recent years has already harmed the plants and animals in the border region. Further restricting this essential resource will severely hinder the organisms in the desert region.
Moreover, building the wall and the other necessary infrastructure that comes with the wall would “plow under saguaros and other fragile desert plants,” according to a decade-old study published in BioScience. If the cutting off of resources does not eliminate the plants and animals, then direct damage from construction could kill the native organisms.
In terms of economic impact, the wall will do more harm than good. The area that the wall is expected to cover is “about 1,900 miles (3,100 km) long and traverses all sorts of terrain,” according to BBC News. This massive extent of territory is one of the reasons that the wall is so expensive. It should also be noted that there is already a fence that spans a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border.
BBC states that “the 650 miles of fencing already put up has cost the government more than $7 [billion], and none of it could be described, even charitably, as impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful or beautiful.” This method has been ineffective in stopping the issues surrounding immigration and cost the government a lot of money. Building this wall and in the process adding approximately half the cost of the measure that is already in place will likely be a waste of financial resources.
Furthermore, Trump plans to make the leader of Mexico pay for the wall, which will not likely happen. Trump insists that “he will ‘compel’ Mexico to pay for a border wall by blocking remittances and canceling visas unless Mexico makes a one-time payment of $5 billion to $10 billion to the U.S.”
However, the remainder of the substantial financial burden will fall in the United States. And since Mexico will likely not contribute to the project, the United States is looking at a huge financial endeavor. It is unlikely that Trump’s method of compelling Mexico to pay for the wall will work.
“The Patriot Act and subsequent federal law governing remittances in the Dodd-Frank bill were never intended to be used to threaten to cut off the flow of migrant worker remittances for foreign policy aims,” said Brookings Institution fellow Aaron Klein.
Thus, the United States government should not use the money that immigrant workers earn in order to build an international border. Nor should their wages be used as a reason to make Mexico responsible for funding the border wall. The cost of the wall and the infrastructure to be built along with it, such as roads, should and likely will be the responsibility of the United States government and the American taxpayer.