Talking about “the wall” is now like banging your head against one. President Trump did a fantastic job selling the idea to the public, but the debate on controlling our jungle-like immigration system has shifted and now he needs to adjust. Otherwise, the border will be no more secure when he leaves the White House than when he arrived.
That means he needs to stop yelling about “the wall,” where Democrats are completely uncompromising and screaming “racism” for entirely political reasons. He needs to start talking about “more wall,” which all the border patrol agents I spoke to in Texas (mostly Latinos, by the way) are asking for.
There is no “the wall” that will ever get built — not least because Trump has never explained what it would look like or where it would go. But more importantly, there is already “wall” in place. We just need more of it, and depending on where it goes, it’s going to look different.
In the Rio Grande Valley sector at the southern border of Texas, more people are illegally crossing into the U.S. than anywhere else. There are sections of wall there — 25 feet of concrete and steel — that work to slow down or stop aliens, aiding in their apprehension by agents.
When I went there two weeks ago, they said they want more of that wall to fill in gaps where it hasn’t been built. They also want more money for cameras and additional agents.
This has nothing to do with Trump. The pieces of wall that are there now were recommended by the border patrol in the 1990s and were built in 2008.
But Trump on Saturday, after caving on the government shutdown, tweeted again about a “a powerful Wall” necessary to keep illegals at bay.
Okay, maybe? But if Democrats are simply going to call that “racist” and never say yes to building it, force them instead to say no to what the border patrol wants.
If they do, then we can once and for all drop the lie that Democrats are “for border security.”
Border agents aren’t asking for “a powerful Wall.” They’re asking for more of what they already have, which Democrats said yes to in the past. Some in the conservative media aren’t helping by making dumb demands about “the wall,” insisting we replicate the barrier Israel has up around Gaza. Yes, Israel has a “wall” there, but guess what: It’s 40 miles long on mostly flat desert. You can’t build that over the 1,000 miles of canyons, mountains, and forest that make up our border with Mexico.
Trump moved the country in the right direction on immigration. His repeated “We either have a country, or we don’t” argument in favor of border control was essential to his victory and should go down as one of the great political lines of all time.
But he dragged his feet on fixing the problem when he had Republicans controlling both houses of Congress. Now he has to deal with Democrats who, if unwilling to build “the wall,” should at least be forced on the record to opposing what the Border Patrol wants: “more wall.”