by Ruth Riddle:
The current activity on the Trump Wall is the building of prototypes, for which $20 million was appropriated in 2017. Six contractors (out of 2000 bids) were awarded about $3.5 million to build eight prototypes. The prototypes are being tested by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and design elements selected for inclusion in the final specifications. A second bidding process in 2018 will determine the companies that will construct the wall.
Not all border areas require a wall. Natural barriers, from mountainous ranges to raging rivers, also prevent illegal crossings. Former DHS Secretary Kelly advised a Senate committee that sensors, drones and various technology could substitute for a wall.
Under the Secure Fence Act (SFA), which had bi-partisan support in 2006, there are still 47 miles of authorized fencing, and President Trump plans to use this authority to recommence wall construction. However, the current Democrats are opposed to funding for the wall, which is estimated to cost $2.6 billion in 2018.
Total project costs range from $8 billion to $40 billion. Project timetables span from three years to seven. And, as with any construction project, the more delays, the higher the costs.
The maxim, time is money, could not be more true. In the case of the border wall, construction costs are not the only financial consideration. Delays in construction of the wall will allow illegal immigration to continue. These costs have been totaling a staggering $113 billion annually. Thus, the construction costs of the wall, which will lead to reduced illegal immigration, will result in a HUGE net savings for the United States.
Other benefits of the wall are 1) jobs and 2) safety of American citizens. Job estimates during wall construction range from thousands to tens of thousands. Ironically, many of the laborers will be Mexicans. Sadly, some American laborers will refuse to work on the wall. Subcontractors supplying wall materials will number in the hundreds. However, Mexican cement giant CEMEX, which has production facilities on both sides of the border, has insisted, under pressure from the Mexican government, it will not supply cement for the wall.
American safety comes in two forms: 1) criminal behavior of illegal immigrants and 2) drug and human trafficking. Everyone remembers Kate Steinle, shot down in San Francisco by a five-time deported illegal alien. Illegals in the United States are prone to criminal activity, due to their desperate situations.
Thousands of tons of drugs, from marijuana to heroin to cocaine, come across the border. Access is gained by tunnel, by backpackers, by truck ramps that breach the wall and by plane. Arizona’s border has become a favorite for drugs and human traffickers, because populated areas and freeways are near the border.
The wall will add a significant barrier to entry. Its design must consider tunneling and all the other ways the current fence system is breached. The sooner it is constructed, the better. In many areas, the border is wide open. Money is being wasted on illegals, many of whom are criminals, and drugs are flowing throughout our country.
NEXT WEEK: THE TRUMP WALL-PART 3-THE PROMISE