Trump’s Impossible Wall

There is a special place within Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric for the construction of a wall between Mexico and the United States, which Trump says he would begin to erect the day he hypothetically arrives at the White House. It would span 1,989 miles (about 3,182 km), from coast to coast. From the look of it, it would be a Pharaonic job, which according to the Republican candidate, would cost about $8 billion. However, experts estimate that it could cost up to $20 billion, without considering the cost of maintenance or guards. For the real estate mogul, that would not be a problem, because, he assures, Mexico would pay the cost. A few weeks ago, Trump left Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, in bad shape when the Mexican president was unable to speak like he used to in the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) during the period in which he rebelled against empire.

That said, is it even possible to build a wall of that size across the southern border? Damià S. Bonmatí published a piece on Univision’s website that highlighted various challenges to carrying out construction of that phenomenal barrier. Among the natural obstacles is the fact that the majority of the border between the United States and Mexico is not land, but water. The Rio Grande or Rio Bravo separates the two countries for 1,254 miles (about 2,000 km), which is almost the distance between Mexico City and Guatemala City. How would it be possible to construct that immense wall over water? Currently, there is a wall that extends a few hundred miles from the water in United States territory. Would Mexico have to pay for a project completely in foreign territory? Bonmatí also notes that the large border extensions in Texas are private property, and that there are ranches that would be negatively affected by a wall that limits communication. In the case that the enormous fence were built there, the federal government would have to expropriate property and compensate the owners.

Not only is the Rio Bravo there, but the adjacent area consists of rugged terrain ranging from rugged mountains to deserts and deep canyons, making construction difficult, a factor that would raise costs to new levels. How could migrants be prevented from slipping through the canyon or desert? How much would the maintenance and monitoring cost? There is yet another problem: In some areas where border fences have been constructed, these barriers have caused floods as they impede the flow of water after strong storms. Bonmatí notes that the wall would also mean dividing the border fauna, like in southern Arizona, where the wall would divide the habitat of jaguars and other animals.

Trump would confront the rejection of the population that lives close to the border. One survey from various sources carried out last April showed that 72 percent of Americans do not want a wall in their communities. The wall would also impact indigenous territories. Bonmatí points out that the Tohono O’Odham tribe lives on both sides of the border, and a wall would separate families that have relatives in Arizona and Nogales. For centuries, members of the tribe have moved between the north and south in order to take their children to school, go to the doctor, or visit relatives. Trump’s project would destroy this familiar and social fabric. Added to what was mentioned above, the high cost of deaths would be incurred, as we know very well that nothing and nobody will stop the flow of migrants, who, in one way or another, would try to circumvent this vast and useless work if it were built.

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