Dear Mr. President: Here’s What I Think of Your Wall

Dear President Trump:

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Aude-Marie Alexandra ’18

Since you can’t see the light, I’ve decided to let you know why your wall is a bad idea. Where to start? The wall was estimated to cost at least $25 billion. If the United states has $25 billion to spare, that money is enough to build 1,500 new elementary schools, send more than 300,000 people to college, or install renewable energy to power more than 5 million homes. But instead of using that money to help hard working American families and help the country move forward, you decided to build a wall to keep immigrants out.

The wall won’t do what you want it to do. 40% of undocumented immigrants come into the country by plane. Unless your wall is going to have a magnetic field to stop planes from coming in, it has no utility. The country already spends approximately $7 billion annually on border patrol agents and inspectors at the ports. There are vehicles, aircrafts, watercrafts, camera towers, and even aerial drones. This is why one of the former directors of customs and border protection said that building a fence along the entire border with Mexico was “one of the dumbest ideas I heard when I was commissioner.”

In 2014, about 8 million unauthorized immigrants worked for the U.S civilian work force and helped develop the country. They still only represented 5% of the labor force, so there was still plenty of jobs and space for both Americans and immigrants. An analysis of Census data finds that immigrants take very different jobs than non-immigrants. In fact, the United States 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 American citizens to pick crops.

There is also no reason to upgrade the security at the border right now. The Department of Homeland Security estimated that the total undocumented population peaked in  2008 but has been decreasing ever since. 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 also at its lowest since 1973. This decline isn’t due to increased security at the border but because Mexico’s fertility rate decreased from 7.2 children per woman to 2.3 children per woman today.

I understand that these illegal immigrants have cost the country some money too, but America wouldn’t be what it is today without immigration. Also, illegal immigrants don’t only come from Mexico either, so unless you’re planning on building a fence surrounding the entire country and forbidding planes from coming in and out, there is no definitive solution to stop illegal immigration.

I know you have promised your voters something, and you have based your political future on this wall. You probably won’t take advice from a sixteen year old international student, but before you spend the money, consider my argument.

So, President Trump, do you really think your wall is a good idea?

Sincerely,

Aude-Marie Alexandra’18

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