Robert Reich: Six Reasons Why Trump’s Wall Is Even Dumber Than Most Of His Other Ideas – OpEd

At his turbulent his news event last Wednesday (I won’t dignify it by calling it a news conference), Trump reiterated that he will build a wall along the Mexican border. “It’s not a fence. It’s a wall,” he said, and“Mexico will pay for the wall.”

Here are 6 reasons why Trump’s wall is an even dumber idea than most of his others.

1. The U.S.-Mexican border is already well defended, and a wall won’t improve the defenses. The United States now spends $3.7 billion per year to keep some 21,000 Border Patrol agents on guard and another $3.2 billion on 23,000 inspectors at ports of entry along the border, a third of which is already  walled or fenced off.

2.  The cost of Trump’s fence would be a whopping $25 billion on top of this. That’s the best estimate I’ve seen by a Washington Post fact checker. (When Trump discussed the cost last February he put it at $8 billion, then a few weeks later upped the cost to $10 to 12 billion. )

3.  There’s no way Mexico will pay for it. On January 11, Mexican President Enrique Peña assured Mexicans they would not be footing the bill. “It is evident that we have some differences with the new government of the United States,” he said, “like the topic of the wall, that Mexico of course will not pay.”

4. There’s no reason for the wall anyway because undocumented migration from Mexico has sharply declined. The Department of Homeland Security’s estimates that the total undocumented population peaked at 12 million in 2008, and has fallen since then. According to the Pew Research Center, the overall flow of Mexican immigrants between the two countries is at its smallest since the 1990s. The number of apprehensions at the border is at its lowest since 1973.

5. The decline isn’t because of rising border enforcement but because of Mexico is producing fewer young people and therefore less demographic pressure to migrate to the U.S. In 1965, Mexico’s fertility rate was 7.2 children per woman; by 2000 it had fallen to 2.4; today, it’s at 2.3 children per woman, just above replacement level.

6. There’s little or no evidence undocumented immigrants take jobs away from native-born Americans, anyway. A new analysis of Census data finds that immigrants take very different jobs than Americans. In fact, the United States already allows a significant amount of legal immigration from Mexico under the “guest-worker” program  –1.6 million entries by legal immigrants and 3.9 million by temporary workers from Mexico over the last 10 years – because farmers can’t find enough native-born Americans to pick crops.

Of course, Trump lives in a fact-free universe designed merely to enhance his power and fuel his demagoguery. But you don’t have to, and nor does anyone else.


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Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations, Beyond Outrage and, most recently, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary INEQUALITY FOR ALL.

2 thoughts on “Robert Reich: Six Reasons Why Trump’s Wall Is Even Dumber Than Most Of His Other Ideas – OpEd

  • January 14, 2017 at 9:43 am
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    There are so many brilliant people like Robert Reich in the world. Why doesn’t Trump utilize them to help run the government. I know their genius would only magnify his stupidity and ignorance. Too bad there are so many Americans that are just like Trump and fuel his self-will run riot. I feel sorry for those of us that have a moral compass…we are certainly going to feel the pain while watching Trump rip our democracy apart. Lets just pray that the patriots among our population stand up and fight for our values and ideals. God help us all.

    Reply
  • January 15, 2017 at 6:41 am
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    Professor Robert B. Reich explains why Trump’s wall is an even dumber idea than most of his others,
    and I explain why the Professor is even MUCH MORE dumber!

    1. The U.S.-Mexican border is already well defended, and a wall won’t improve the defenses. The United States now spends $3.7 billion per year to keep some 21,000 Border Patrol agents on guard and another $3.2 billion on 23,000 inspectors at ports of entry along the border, a third of which is already walled or fenced off.
    Jeez Professor… that’s like having only one third of your windows closed and wondering where all the flies are getting in? Come on over to Arizona, I’ll show ya a few hundred miles of border with no wall and very few agents in sight.

    2. The cost of Trump’s fence would be a whopping $25 billion on top of this. That’s the best estimate I’ve seen by a Washington Post fact checker. (When Trump discussed the cost last February he put it at $8 billion, then a few weeks later upped the cost to $10 to 12 billion. )
    Well Professor even the Washington Post Fact Checker admits their estimates ‘are subjective’ and quite frankly I wouldn’t rely on them to get the weather correct either… so truth is… the cost is simply unknown at this time… it’s anybody’s guess right now.

    3. There’s no way Mexico will pay for it. On January 11, Mexican President Enrique Peña assured Mexicans they would not be footing the bill. “It is evident that we have some differences with the new government of the United States,” he said, “like the topic of the wall, that Mexico of course will not pay.”
    Oh really… how about this for starters… simply charge a small crossing fee to come to America, offset the price of the wall with that fee and so on. Nobody said they have to like the idea of paying for the wall!

    4. There’s no reason for the wall anyway because undocumented migration from Mexico has sharply declined. The Department of Homeland Security’s estimates that the total undocumented population peaked at 12 million in 2008, and has fallen since then. According to the Pew Research Center, the overall flow of Mexican immigrants between the two countries is at its smallest since the 1990s. The number of apprehensions at the border is at its lowest since 1973.
    Same thing with polio… there’s no reason for taking the vaccine anymore because polio has sharply declined as well! Wait… maybe the reason for the decline is the vaccine. Maybe the wall will all but put a halt to undocumented (and in some cases disease carrying) immigrants once and for all!

    5. The decline isn’t because of rising border enforcement but because of Mexico is producing fewer young people and therefore less demographic pressure to migrate to the U.S. In 1965, Mexico’s fertility rate was 7.2 children per woman; by 2000 it had fallen to 2.4; today, it’s at 2.3 children per woman, just above replacement level.
    WOW… the above statement makes me laugh out loud… here goes professor… has nothing to do with fertility rates and everything to do with generations, the population of Mexico in 1965 was about 41 million and last year it was about 123 million… they have been reproducing like rabbits… there are simply more young people now than ever before… and always will be!

    6. There’s little or no evidence undocumented immigrants take jobs away from native-born Americans, anyway. A new analysis of Census data finds that immigrants take very different jobs than Americans. In fact, the United States already allows a significant amount of legal immigration from Mexico under the “guest-worker” program –1.6 million entries by legal immigrants and 3.9 million by temporary workers from Mexico over the last 10 years – because farmers can’t find enough native-born Americans to pick crops.
    There’s little or no evidence undocumented immigrants pay taxes like native-born Americans have to and that must stop today! Please come to America… but sign the guest book first!

    Reply

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