The reality of the border wall promised us by the president is not as fanciful or far off as the mainstream media would have you believe. The fact is, large sections of wall already exist, funding has been set aside, and portions of the wall are set to go up right now.
Case in point, the government is at the ready at this moment to begin construction on border wall and fencing sections in the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas. A US Customs and Border Protection agent told reporters that construction vehicles were set to start pulling onto the property last week as an excavator sat parked adjacent to the National Butterfly Center.
In January, Congress passed a bill allotting over $600 million to create a section of barrier fence 33 miles long along specific edges of the Rio Grande Valley. At the same time as Trump and top-ranking Democrats battled over wall funding in Washington DC, US Customs went forward with the creation of wall sections that are already fully funded.
The bill, which sometimes describes the structures to be built as “wall” and sometimes as “fence,” has funded portions of border structures which Customs and Border Protection calls a “border wall system,” or a “barrier system.”
There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not Trump’s calling a fence is a compromise. But it’s a compromise that Trump supporters don’t seem to mind.
According to blueprints released by the CPB in September, sections of barrier structures made from concrete are to be built according to the specifications of flood control levees in Hidalgo County and other nearby locations.
In addition to the levee-based portions of wall, a series of 18 foot steel posts are to be built on top, offering a more prohibitive barrier than a simple concrete levee.
In front of these barriers, a 150 foot “clear zone” is to be set up and enforced. Border control agents will train to and focus on monitoring the fenced top of the wall and the 150 foot no-go zone on the southern side.
The effort is not without controversy as the project is planned to run parts of the border wall through national park land near the butterfly sanctuary. Locals who depend on tourism are unhappy, and some have vowed to fight the project if it interferes with their property rights or business interests.
Issues like these have caused the President to invoke the eminent domain privilege of the federal government, which enables lawmakers to take land for national usage and to compensate the owners of that land.
During all of the kerfuffle over the border wall, conservatives living in border states have started their own fund for the border wall. It’s called the “We The People Will Build the Wall” campaign. The effort has collected $20 million since its inception in December 2018. The founder of the fund, Brian Kolfage, is an Air Force veteran and a triple amputee. He says the campaign has taken in nearly 350,000 donations amid heavy derision by opponents of the border wall as proposed by the president.
Proponents of the wall have been heavily ridiculed and blamed for supporting the government shutdown, which was to be the longest in history. Interestingly, conservatives welcomed the shutdown- as they have many before it. They say that a government shutdown means less interference by the government in our lives and in our businesses.
Even more interesting is the fact that the shutdown has actually stimulated the economy. As regulators and other non-essential federal employees take some ill-deserved time off- business owners can breathe a bit easier and actually do more business.
As Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe writes, “Far from suffering a grievous blow because of the 35-day standoff, the US economy had surged. A whopping 304,000 jobs were added during January, making it the 100th consecutive month in which payrolls expanded.”
So, while the Democrats whine and claim that the border wall is, in the words of Nancy Pelosi, “an immorality,” the rest of America seems to be quietly and smilingly getting on with making America great again. Already funded sections of wall are being constructed. Private citizens are pitching in to fund sections of wall, and business owners are taking advantage of the temporary elbow room created by the shutdown to offer more new jobs to workers.