by Ruth Riddle:
The Trump Wall is an imperative for three reasons: 1) it is a necessary component of immigration reform, 2) it helps ensure the safety of Americans and 3) it was a campaign promise that must be fulfilled.
Immigration enforcement consists of: 1) deterrence, 2) prevention and 3) detection. Deterrence is the perception of people who want to enter the USA illegally. If they perceive the president will not enforce immigration law, they are more likely to risk illegal entry. If, as is the case with President Trump, the immigration message is strict legal enforcement, the would-be illegal immigrants will be less likely to risk illegal entry.
Deterrence has been highly successful under the Trump administration. Illegal immigration peaked following the 2016 election and plummeted through April/May 2017, resulting in a decline of 64 percent. The Trump Effect needs to be bolstered by prevention, which requires the Trump Wall.
Constructing a wall involves: 1) land acquisition, 3) environmental impacts, 3) wall design and 4) wall placement. The border is 2000 miles long, spanning California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The current 653 miles of wall on mostly federal land is located mainly in California, Arizona and New Mexico. This span is composed of 18-foot iron fences and corrugated metal, mixed with vehicle barriers and barbed wire.
Wall construction began in the 1990s, when 14 miles of fencing was installed along the California border between Tijuana and San Diego. In 2006, George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act (SFA). Since that time, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) installed the existing barriers. Work stopped in 2009, when Barack Obama took office. There are 47 miles of authorized fencing that remain to be constructed. In other words, construction of the wall can recommence under the authority of the SFA.
Some of the land was acquired through eminent domain, whereby, in accordance with law, local governments can force property owners to sell land for the benefit of the public. Eminent domain law requires the government to compensate the property owners at or above market values. Eminent domain will be necessary for much of the rest of the border wall. Despite the requirement to purchase land at full market value, exercising eminent domain tends to be a slow and costly process, due to legal claims by property owners.
Additionally, environmental activists will sue the DHS, citing habitat destruction of endangered species. In fact, there are cases pending. The current director of DHS, guided by the expertise of President Trump, will be better equipped to tackle the opposition from property owners and environmentalists. With red tape reduced throughout government, delays that have impeded government projects in prior administrations are less likely to occur under President Trump.
NEXT WEEK: THE TRUMP WALL-PART 2-Current Activity on the Trump Wall