Trump’s wall plan is use­less, ex­perts say

The Myanmar Times - - World -

EVEN as Don­ald Trump vac­il­lates be­tween ton­ing down his harsh an­ti­im­mi­grant rhetoric and reach­ing out to mi­nori­ties, he re­mains un­shak­able on one cen­tral cam­paign prom­ise: build­ing a wall on Amer­ica’s south­ern border with Mex­ico.

“We are go­ing to build a great wall to stop il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, to stop the gangs and the vi­o­lence, and to stop the drugs from pour­ing into our com­mu­ni­ties,” the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date said as he ac­cepted his party’s nom­i­na­tion last month.

It’s an idea ex­perts say is as use­less as it is un­re­al­is­tic – though that has hardly given Mr Trump pause.

“I will build the great­est wall that you have ever seen,” he said at a re­cent rally. “That’s a Trump wall, a beau­ti­ful wall!”

Mr Trump says his success as a con­struc­tion mag­nate guar­an­tees he can build such a wall but has pro­vided few de­tails.

The 3200-kilo­me­tre (2000-mile) US-Mex­ico border runs from the At­lantic Ocean to the Pa­cific, cross­ing arid, sparsely pop­u­lated ter­ri­tory as well as ur­ban cen­tres thick with in­hab­i­tants.

Af­ter ini­tially promis­ing to build a new bar­rier run­ning the en­tire length of the border, Mr Trump now says only half ac­tu­ally needs to be cov­ered be­cause the phys­i­cal ter­rain acts as a nat­u­ral bar­rier along the rest.

But if he’s clear about the length, what about the height? Mr Trump has var­i­ously men­tioned 35 feet (10.5 me­tres), 40 feet, 55 feet and even 90 feet.

He is just as vague about the cost – US$4 bil­lion, then “6 or 7 bil­lion, maybe 12”, be­fore fi­nally set­tling at “around $10 bil­lion”.

Ar­chi­tects and engi­neers dis­miss that fig­ure as en­tirely un­re­al­is­tic.

Mr Trump dis­misses such con­cerns, how­ever, point­ing to China’s an­cient, 13,000-mile-long Great Wall.

Key dif­fer­ences that make the com­par­i­son ir­rel­e­vant go un­men­tioned – that China’s wall was built over cen­turies at a hu­man cost that’s un­think­able to­day.

Be­yond the in­tractable ob­sta­cles fac­ing a Trump wall, its ba­sic sense re­mains highly ques­tion­able.

More­over, as a 2006 study by the Pew His­panic Cen­tre found, nearly half of il­le­gal im­mi­grants in the United States enter through clas­sic en­try points such as air­ports be­fore sim­ply stay­ing on their ex­pired visas.

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