​Trump's wall-building dream in difficulties

​By Sajjad Malik
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, January 11, 2019
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File photo taken on Jan. 10, 2018 shows the eight border wall prototypes between Mexico and the U.S., Tijuana, Mexico. [Photo / Xinhua]

If you live in the United States and are a federal government employee, it's time to worry. A partial government shutdown due to lack of congressional spending approval is affecting around 800,000 people; the number indirectly hit might be even bigger.

It all started with a difference over the merits of a proposed wall to barricade the southern border with Mexico and prevent illegal crossings. President Donald Trump has tried to convince opponents his wall is an answer to every problem – ranging from drug to terrorism. The Democrats being disinclined to buy into that argument has produced deadlock.

Trumps' presidency has been mired in controversy from the very start. Even an initiative to secure the border, and thus the nation's safety, has become problematic. It shows the dysfunctional nature of his rule.

Among his first decisions after election was to impose a travel ban on the people from selected countries due to the fear of allowing in potential terrorists. It backfired and created needless friction and legal consequences, not to mention emotional distress for many innocent people.

Instead of learning from this bad experience, the president has steadily moved deeper into the political quagmire.

His fresh challenge started over the issue of funding for the contentious wall. Failure to win over his congressional opponents resulted in the closure of several federal government departments on December 22, and there is still no solution in sight. Trump certainly hasn't offered any ideas on how to resolve the imbroglio without giving up the whole wall idea.

He has not declared a national emergency, which was something that had been feared; however, the threat remains for such an extreme step could be the only option to gain the required funds.

The amount in question is above $5 billion. The president has made it clear that unless the funds are made part of federal spending, he will not sign the bill covering the overall budgetary allocations.

The Democrats who regained control of the House of Representatives in mid-term elections last November, aren't blinking, either. Instead, House Leader Nancy Pelosi called the wall "immoral."

Actually, the primary reasons offered by Trump for the wall are only partially tenable. For example, Trump says that drugs are pouring into the country over the southern border. Facts show that, though over 90 percent heroin comes in U.S. from the drug pushers in Mexico, more than 80 percent hard drugs overall enter through legal port of entries.

Hence, a wall has nothing to do with stopping those drugs which are ravaging communities right across America.

Trump and his supporters also believe that terrorists are in via that same porous border. Again, available data doesn't support the claim. The State Department said in July 2017 that it has no information of any terrorist group infiltrating from Mexico.

However, the presidential claim that illegal migrants sneak through the Mexican border is true to a large extent – especially in the context of the recent groups of people from Honduras traveling right up to the border and camping nearby.

The real problem is not about having some kind of barrier to stop illegal border entries, but the way Trump has sought to have it built – first making it a campaign promise in order to win the 2016 election, and now trying to achieve it by "my way or highway" style to fortify his reelection bid.

The man has been on a roller-coaster ever since the day he announced he was joining the presidential race, and has refused to come down even after winning. He is unable to rule quietly. There seems to be a constant tendency towards controversy and seeking to bash opponents with harsh rhetoric.

The success of a government can be gauged by the amount of comfort it brings to the people. In case of Trump, he starts the day by shooting a tweet and sits back to see the reaction, until he is ready with another salvo.

Since the issue of the wall is highly politicized, the two sides should change their approach. The offer by Trump to have a fence or steel structure could at least be worth discussing.

While the president may need some support to escape the pit into which he has fallen, the Democrats should also abandon their fears that giving Trump his wall will also supply a second term in office.

Sajjad Malik is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit:


Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.

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