Past Features

July 22, 2016

Begging the question

Which is better? How will we know?
Bloomberg -- July 21, 2016  
Trump's Big, Beautiful Wall. Well, Not a 'Wall,' Exactly
    The wall is the central metaphor and reflexive policy refrain of Donald Trump's campaign. The wall is national security, keeping out terrorists. The wall is immigration control, rebuffing undocumented immigrants. The wall is a crime fighter, repelling rapists and thugs. The wall is a trade barrier on cheap imports, and it's a blockade on the illegal traffic of drugs.
    In a dangerous world, Americans are safe within the wall.
    The 2016 Republican platform, adopted in Cleveland, embraces Trump's "big, beautiful, powerful wall" in all its glory. "The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic," the platform commands. [...}
    Perhaps Republican Representative Chris Collins of New York knows where the bricks and mortar are buried. Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump. He threw a lifeline to Trump at a time when other Republican officeholders were trying to sink the television star.
    What does Collins say?
    “I have called it a virtual wall,” he told the Buffalo News in May.
    That's right, a big, beautiful, powerful wall that you carry around in your iPhone. Or a pair of goggles. Or just your head.

Glenn Spencer -- American Border Patrol
The Border Bottom Line
    Donald Trump succeeded because he built things that made money - the bottom line. What is the bottom line for a border wall?
    The law says the job of DHS is "the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States..."
    The Republican platform says the wall must "stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic." What about ultralight airplanes?
    Unless and until we find a way to evaluate border security in terms that make sense, we could be wasting our time --- and money.