Great Wall of the Southwest
The most well known of President Trump’s campaign pledges was to construct a wall on the southern border of the United States. This because a rallying cry at Trump’s rallies (Build that wall! Build that wall!), but polls indicate that most Americans do not favor the construction of a literal wall. The idea has also not been enthusiastically embraced within the halls of Congress. However, President Trump signed an executive order that would begin construction of a wall, but construction of a thousand foot long concrete fortification would require Congressional approval (and funding!). The debate in Congress will likely center on three questions: 1) Would a border wall be effective in curtailing illegal immigration?, 2) Is reducing illegal immigration a desirable policy goal, and 3) How will we pay for the wall? It can be difficult to really get a sense of what building a wall of this size would entail. The following article breaks down the estimated costs, the magnitude of the materials that would be required, and the logistical hurdles of the construction project. In recent days, President Trump has indicated that he would support construction of a metal barrier fence, but the president has gone back and forth on this detail in the past. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/02/11/trumps-dubious-claim-that-his-border-wall-would-cost-8-billion/?utm_term=.87a8a3c3aeed (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. The following article is a Q&A on how the wall would work and whether or not it would effectively reduce illegal immigration. Consider it a starting point as you look for your own information: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38755757 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. The second article address to what extent illegal immigration is actually a problem for the United States in the first place. It contains several articles from commentators debating the issue: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/09/03/is-immigration-really-a-problem-in-the-us (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. This last article address one proposed plan to pay for the wall. President Trump has consistently stated that Mexico will pay for the wall, but this claim has been viewed with great skepticism from across the political spectrum. Mexican officials have repeatedly stated that they will not pay for the wall and the Mexican president recently canceled a trip to Washington D.C. in response to Trump’s comments. Recently, Trump suggested that the wall would be paid for via a 20% tariff (import tax) placed on Mexican imports. Many economists fear this would ignite a trade war and argue that tariffs don’t work and that the cost is passed on to American consumers in the form of higher prices. The following article discusses a well known trade war from the 1960s, the so called “Cognac-Chicken War” between the United States and western Europe. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1992-11-06/news/1992311204_1_chicken-war-trade-war-tariffs (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. There’s a lot for you to look over here. Read all of these articles, but focus your position paper on ONE topic. Would the wall be effective, should we use tariffs to pay for it, or should we even be trying to prevent illegal immigration at all? You could go other directions as well, but whatever you do be sure to focus your paper on a singular position.