Since the beginning of his 2016 presidential campaign, one of President Donald Trump’s main promises and “priorities” has been to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico in an attempt to prevent illegal immigration and increase national security. However, throughout his entire time in office, he has barely begun construction of the wall.
According to the BBC, “No one really knows how much the construction of the wall would cost but experts estimate that it would range around 12 to 70 billion dollars,” which is far over the government’s budget in regards to paying toward the wall. Not only this, but most illegal immigration is not due to people crossing the border, it is from visa “overstayers”, which is when a foreign person who used a visa (which is an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave or stay for a specified period of time in a country) to get into the United States stays longer than the period of their authorized stay.
Trump shut down the government on December 22 because he and Congress could not reach an agreement on an appropriations bill to fund one-third of the federal government for the 2019 fiscal year. The government shutdown lasted over a month and was the longest shutdown in U.S history. On Friday, January 25 Trump signed a three-week stopgap bill which will reopen the government until February 15.
Many students have opinions on how Trump handled the shutdown, the pros and cons of building the wall and whether or not it is even worth it.
Junior Giovanni Fuentes politically identifies himself as an independent and although he supports a few of the benefits from building a wall, overall he does not support the construction of Trump’s wall and believes that there are more disadvantages to building the wall.
“It [would be] more difficult for people to illegally enter the country, it could also stop a few drug traffickers, [and] it would overall provide a bit more of national security,” Fuentes said. “However, [it] stretches the government’s budget way too thin. It also partially marginalizes a minority group. By building the wall, President Trump presents himself as not open to immigrants [which] causes less cooperation [with law enforcement] from the Latino community”.
“Money dump” is just one phrase junior Lucas Codispoti used to describe the construction of Trump’s wall. He believes that building a wall is a waste of money and would not only be extremely expensive to construct, but cost even more to maintain. “Government contractors have already created nine wall prototypes and when they were tested by Homeland Security they were all breached with ease,” Codispoti said. He and many others believe that building the wall is a waste of money.
Some students do believe that there is a crisis at the border. “There are drugs flowing through the border [and] human traffickers and gang members such as MS-13 come through border and it can be very difficult to identify them before they are in the country,” junior Ely Constantine said. He believes that national security is more important than the cost of getting it, which is why he believes Trump should be funded to build the wall.
Many students believe that the wall is a waste of money and should not be built. Although there are plenty of benefits to come from building the wall, there are more disadvantages which students believe outway the benefits and that the wall is not worth it.
“[Trump] is doing well in keeping his promise to his supporters, but doing a huge disservice to the rest of the country. By shutting down the government he stopped millions of government employees from receiving their paychecks and put people who heavily rely on government aid in jeopardy.”