Letter to the Editor:
On Jan. 25, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that instructs the secretary of Homeland Security to “take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border … To most effectively achieve complete operational control” of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Although Sen. Mitch McConnell estimated the cost at $15 billion at most, reliable estimates range from $26 to $37.1 billion, given the remote and rugged terrain to be covered.
This wall is being built at a time when Pew Research identifies an historic low in immigration not seen since the 1940s. The U.S. Border Control also reports the lowest apprehension rate in 50 years, because of the low rate of illegal immigration.
The negative and possibly irreversible environmental and community effects of the wall have been documented in multiple scientific studies. In order to build the wall, as many as 38 federal laws will be waived, including Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Migratory Birds Treaty Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978, etc. etc.!
I’m eager for this administration to help create well-paying jobs with fair benefits, which will necessarily provide terrific profits for corporations. However, I feel that these billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money would be better spent on rebuilding the infrastructure inside our borders.
The University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems reported in 2011 that it would cost about $384.2 billion to repair our drinking water system. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education reported that 53 percent of public schools require significant repairs, costing $197 billion.
In February 2016, USA Today reported that 50,000 U.S. bridges were structurally deficient. The Federal Highway Administration estimated it would cost $20.5 billion to repair the bridges.
Examples of needed infrastructure repairs could go on for many pages. Using taxpayer money to fulfill a campaign promise to build this border wall is an outrage. I urge all of my fellow citizens to contact our elected officials to urge them not to support funding for the border wall.