TUCSON, Arizona – The “great wall” that the new president of the United States wants to build along the border with Mexico may
be crossed over with just a simple and cheap wooden staircase.
Whether it is a concrete wall, a steel fence or a simple fence, the “beautiful” and costly wall was a key pledge of Donald Trump’s campaign and on Wednesday made news headlines after he signed an order to begin construction in a matter of “months.”
Along the border between the US and Mexico, which covers California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, there is currently a 354-mile-long (569 kilometers) wall, as well as a 299-mile-long (481 km) barrier to prevent the crossing of vehicles and people.
However, undocumented immigrants and drug trafficking continue to cross the wall.
During the 2016 fiscal year between Oct. 11, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2016, the Border Patrol arrested 415,816 undocumented immigrants along the border with Mexico, an increase on the 337,117 people arrested in the previous year.
In the same fiscal year, 1.29 million pounds of marijuana and 5,473 pounds of cocaine were seized, mostly from Mexico, the southern neighbor that Trump wants to make “100 percent” responsible for the cost of such a wall.
“Our relationship with Mexico is going to get better,” the president said Wednesday in a speech at the Department of Homeland Security, where he announced
his immigration measures including building more detention centers and cutting federal funds to sanctuary cities that try to protect undocumented immigrants.
The idea of building a wall on the border with Mexico, under the argument of “national security,” is not a new one.
In fact, as early as 1994, the Clinton administration approved the construction of fences in the so-called Operation Gatekeeper measure.
In 2006, the concept regained momentum with then-President George W. Bush, who gave the green light to the construction of a large wall across parts of the border.
However, several critics say that erecting a border wall is ineffective, as undocumented immigrants, driven by survival instincts, can climb the wall with improvised stairs, while drug traffickers smuggle a large amount of drugs through underground tunnels.
Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro said on Wednesday at a press conference that the proposal for the wall is more a “symbol” than an effective tool to increase security at the border.
When examining the enterprising methods that drug traffickers use, doubts about the true benefits of a wall increase.
Traffickers have used catapults placed on the Mexican side to launch drug packages through the air to the American side. They have also placed improvised ramps where cars cross the wall, used ultra-light aircraft and even drilled holes in the existing barriers to pass drugs and people.
Omar Lucio, the sheriff of Cameron County in Texas, which shares a border with the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, believes that a border wall will not stop the activities of Mexican cartels.
“If the wall is 20 feet (6 meters) high, there is a 22-foot (6.7 m) ladder. The smuggler will look for one way or another to get through,” the police chief told EFE.
In the specific case of this county, which connects with the Gulf of Mexico, the sheriff believes that a small concrete wall will do little to stop illegal traffic by sea.
“We have had speed boats loaded with drugs, drug packs that are being dragged from the sea to the coast,” he explained.
Even so, on top of all those opinions, the new tenant of the White House seems convinced that the wall will increase security and that the US will get back “control of its borders.” – BERNAMA