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Cy Taylor is a sophomore international studies and modern languages (Arabic) major from Alma, Georgia

On Feb. 15, Donald Trump declared a national emergency to free up billions of dollars to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

As of Feb. 19, 16 U.S. states have sued Trump in an effort to stop his recent attempt of funding a border wall.

The lawsuit, California et al. v. Trump et al., states, “Contrary to the will of Congress, the president has used the pretext of a manufactured ‘crisis’ of unlawful immigration to declare a national emergency and redirect federal dollars appropriated for drug interdiction, military construction and law enforcement initiatives toward building a wall on the United States-Mexico border.”

However, being sued is nothing new to the current U.S. President. It was stated on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump has been involved in thousands of lawsuits throughout his lifetime.

All that is happening raises the controversial question, should the U.S. build a wall along the southern border?

To answer this question, I am going to discuss a few aspects of Trump’s promised border wall.

The cost of a border wall

Andrew DePietro, finance writer for GOBankingRates, stated on Feb. 15, 2019, “Trump claims that the cost would only amount to $12 billion. But even that amount isn’t that low when compared with the $2.3 billion spent on physical barriers for the entire period between fiscal years 2007 to 2015."

Additionally, an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security estimated the cost of the wall to be much higher at about $21.6 billion, and even that could be an underestimation, according to the Brookings Institution.

The effectiveness of a border wall

There are many factors regarding the effectiveness of a border wall that are often overlooked.

Data by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection show more than two-thirds of land along the border does not belong to the federal government. This is a problem due to many people not willing to give up their land without a fight.

Bill Addington, the owner of a ranch in Hudspeth County, Texas, told Andrew Becker from Reveal/The Center for Investigative Reporting, “Trump will build a wall on my land over my dead body.”

Additionally, many people, myself included, believe a wall is not the most effective barrier.

As stated by Dianne Feinstein in the San Francisco Chronicle, "it’s a fact that nearly half of all undocumented immigrants come to the United States legally but then overstay their visas."

Also, another problem with a solid wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is the fact it can be climbed over or dug underneath.

As researched by U-T San Diego, more than 180 tunnel attempts have been identified by law enforcement officials since the first cross-border tunnel was documented in Arizona on May 17, 1990.

Adding on to the effectiveness of Trump’s promised wall, “A cinder block or rock wall, in the traditional sense, isn’t necessarily the most effective or desirable choice,” Border Patrol agents told Fox News.

Trump’s History of Racism (Before and During his presidential campaign)

Trump has made many controversial comments and tweets regarding Mexico and Mexicans time and time again. Fair warning in advance, any mistakes found among these Tweets are due to the typing proficiency of Trump and his personal assistants.

Examples of Trump’s controversial comments and tweets:

realDonaldTrump. (2013, June 5). "Sadly, the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics-a tough subject-must be discussed."

realDonaldTrump. (2014, July 10). "When will the U.S. stop sending $'s to our enemies, i.e. Mexico and others."

realDonaldTrump. (2015, February 24). "The Mexican legal system is corrupt, as is much of Mexico. Pay me the money that is owed me now - and stop sending criminals over our border."

(2015, June 16). “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said in his speech. “They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Immigration Statistics

"As a percentage of their respective populations, there were 56 percent fewer criminal convictions of illegal immigrants than of native-born Americans in Texas in 2015," Alex Nowrasteh, author of Criminal Immigrants in Texas, writes. "The criminal conviction rate for legal immigrants was about 85 percent below the native-born rate."

Also, on a nationwide scale, states with larger numbers of undocumented immigrants tended to have lower crime rates than states with lower numbers of undocumented immigrants, Michael T. Light and Ty Miller, authors of Does Undocumented Immigration Increase Violent Crime found.

Conclusion

To conclude, Trump’s main focus is on drug cartels, terrorism, rapists and crime while ignoring the people seeking a better life for themselves and their families.

In the end, building a border wall won’t solve shit. The only reason Trump declared a national emergency is to try to assert some authority because Congress did not give in to his demands.

Cy Taylor, The George-Anne Opinion Writer, gaeditor@georgiasouthern.edu

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