Mark West: Is Trump’s Wall What Is Best At The Border?

Original article submitted to IPR by 2018 Arkansas Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Mark West:

In the midst of our nation’s longest partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump gave an Oval Office address in making his case for the necessity of a wall along the United States’ border with Mexico. The next day President Trump stormed out of a meeting with Congressional leaders, still at odds over how much money should be dedicated in the upcoming budget for border security. President Trump took immediately to Twitter to lodge his complaint:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!</p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href=”https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1083099784012091396?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>January 9, 2019</a></blockquote>
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If you ask the President, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are to blame for the shutdown, even though he pledged to take the mantle for it during their meeting in late December. President Trump has gone as far as threatening an emergency declaration in order to build a border wall, which raises a host of controversies on its own.

A standoff like this leaves libertarians stuck between a wall and a hard place. The wall being their opposition to President Trump’s wall on the Mexican border and the hard place being their support for the government being shut down, even if just partially.

Shutdown aside, we must asses what began this impasse to understand why it is the political albatross we are facing today.

President Trump descended the escalator to announce his intention of running for President in 2016 with a promise to build a big, beautiful wall. As the campaign progressed, his promise morphed with a guarantee that Mexico would pay for the wall he wanted built on the border. Mexican officials have publicly rejected this part of the deal from it’s inception.

Fast forward to early 2018 when the Democrats came to President Trump with a deal offering to exchange $25 billion in wall funding for a path to citizenship for Dreamers. The deal seemed set until signals reached the Senate that President Trump wasn’t going to sign the deal and the bill failed as Republican Senators voted it down to avoid facing primary challenges.

Another bump of the jump button and we arrive at our current budget battle that has shut the government down as President Trump wants $5.7 billion for border barriers while the Senate budget only allotted around $1.6 billion. Apparently, the chasm dividing our government is $4.1 billion.

This last gasp at keeping a promise that probably shouldn’t have been made led to the President’s necessary aim of convincing us that our border is in an emergency situation and the only solution must include a new wall.

You read that right, I said a new wall. One of the larger fallacies in this debate surrounds the belief that no barriers are on our border with Mexico. Approximately 650 miles of border wall exist and another 1,200 miles of the border is the Rio Grand River. Let’s not forget the Barry M Goldwater Range Air Force Base and Big Bend National Park portions of the border as well.

USA Today took a helicopter trip to scout out the border, beginning at the Gulf of Mexico and ending at the Pacific Ocean. I would encourage anyone interested in the debate to hop on the flight with them and check out the unique and diversified geography that makes up the border.

What this standoff should really be focused on is funding for an incomplete project that suffered from lacking funds and an appropriate definition. Why would a border wall project not be more defined? The Border Patrol wanted the leeway, and got it with an amendment in 2007, in determining what sort of barrier would work best in each topographical region along the border. I would argue that anyone who has looked at the entire border can understand that desire. A one-size-fits-all solution, like those red ball-caps, isn’t going to work.

However, calling the current border situation a crisis or national emergency seems like a bit of a stretch to me. I don’t believe the data supports it and without an appropriate cost-benefit analysis, it may also be unsupported fiscally as well.

First, illegal border crossing apprehensions have dropped 81% since 2000. Second, around half of immigrants living in the country illegally are VISA overstays. Third, we do not have an accurate and independent cost-benefit analysis that can be reliably cited for argument’s sake.

I would like to see if Democrats would be up for additional funding for repair, renovation, and connecting of the current barriers where possible, but I would also like to see the new wall conversation die on a craggy, desert, path along the border.

34 thoughts on “Mark West: Is Trump’s Wall What Is Best At The Border?

  1. dL

    However, calling the current border situation a crisis or national emergency seems like a bit of a stretch to me. I don’t believe the data supports it and without an appropriate cost-benefit analysis, it may also be unsupported fiscally as well.

    That’s some weak sauce…

  2. Anthony Dlugos

    “The wall being their opposition to President Trump’s wall on the Mexican border and the hard place being their support for the government being shut down, even if just partially.”

    One of these choices is realistic and will demonstrate Libertarian concern for the powerless, with potential electoral political upside.

    The other is a Gult Gulch fantasy, obtained under threat, and will demonstrate nothing but a potential desire for Thunderdome.

    Not a hard choice.

  3. dL

    One of these choices is realistic and will demonstrate Libertarian concern for the powerless,

    What choice is that?

  4. Anthony Dlugos

    Opposition to the wall. The LP losing nothing by consequently opposing the “government shutdown” given the conditions its occurring under and who is orchestrating it.

  5. Tony From Long Island

    Is there really going to be a regular IPR poster who is in favor of this stupidity?

  6. paulie Post author

    We’re also asking authors to include an image at the top of articles, let me know if there is any difficulty with this.

  7. paulie Post author

    I have discussed this today with Vermin Supreme and the wall is passe. We must BUILD THE DOME over the USA and maybe we can make the aliens pay for it. There will also be Free Ponies for all!

  8. paulie Post author

    It all came about because Anna Sofia Canetti pointed out that most of the “illegal” “aliens” arrive by airplane so a wall is not enough, not even a surroundwall like we plan to build around the Trump Earthpit Moscow, Idaho, the next residence of Donald J. Trump. For true homeland security will need a dome over the USA. Vermin added that he had long since thought of the dome, but more in terms of weather/climate control rather than homeland security. But now we have cast the DOME in new light the chant will go out in domed stadia from coast to coast and border wall to border wall “BUILD THE DOME!” and “FREE PONIES FOR ALL”! Who’s gonna pay for it? “ALIENS!”

  9. robert capozzi

    I don’t unalterably oppose a wall in principle, though I don’t like the optics. I certainly don’t support one at this time for fiscal reasons.

  10. Anthony Dlugos

    I wouldn’t unalterably oppose a wall either. I just can’t imagine the set of circumstances that could exist whereby I would support one. And I definitely would oppose it coming from the current occupier of the White House, given the philosophical and political baggage that comes along with agreeing with him.

    This is where NAPist “principle” gets in the way for someone who chooses enter the political arena . The author expresses dismay that the “brass ring” of “shutting down” the government…or even part of it…has to be tied to Trump’s demand for border wall funding.

    I frankly don’t see the issue. I’m not tying my desire for smaller, fairer, and more just government to a racist, xenophobic misogynist. Who’s not for smaller government anyway. And certainly not a haphazardly reduced government that is being reduced under threat via scaremongering.

  11. paulie Post author

    I certainly don’t support one at this time for fiscal reasons.

    Lots of other reasons to oppose it too. I do in fact unalterably oppose it on principle.

  12. paulie Post author

    I frankly don’t see the issue. I’m not tying my desire for smaller, fairer, and more just government to a racist, xenophobic misogynist. Who’s not for smaller government anyway.

    Me neither, and my non-initiation of force principle includes things like not stealing land from property owners who don’t want a wall on their property, not treating immigrants like trespassers on the government’s property meaning the whole country including the property of private individuals who actually do want to house/employ/serve/trade with them etc, in addition to not extorting the money to pay for it.

  13. Anthony Dlugos

    “I do in fact unalterably oppose it on principle.”

    Dr. Jeffrey Pelt, The Hunt for Red October:

    “Listen, I’m a politician which means I’m a cheat and a liar, and when I’m not kissing babies I’m stealing their lollipops. BUT IT ALSO MEANS I KEEP MY OPTIONS OPEN.” (emphasis mine)

    In electoral politics, never oppose anything on principle, even if you have them.

  14. paulie Post author

    In electoral politics, never oppose anything on principle, even if you have them.

    I only do electoral politicking in self-defense.

  15. dL

    Dr. Jeffrey Pelt, The Hunt for Red October:

    “Listen, I’m a politician which means I’m a cheat and a liar, and when I’m not kissing babies I’m stealing their lollipops. BUT IT ALSO MEANS I KEEP MY OPTIONS OPEN.” (emphasis mine)

    The Hunt for Red October:
    Capt. Vasili Borodin:
    I will live in Montana. And I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits, and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck… maybe even a “recreational vehicle.” And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?

    Captain Ramius:
    Oh, yes.

    Capt. Vasili Borodin:
    No papers?

    Captain Ramius:
    No papers

    No walls is why Ramius and Borodin defected. No defections, and Jeffrey Pelt has no options to keep open. Of course, last time I checked, Ramius defected back to Lithuania. He can get the same authoritarian bullshit back home…

  16. dL

    never oppose anything on principle, even if you have them.

    Nope. Opposition to the commie wall is of paramount importance. If the government shutdown is being used as a bargaining means to get the wall built, then you don’t support it. By the same token, you don’t support capitulation to Trump merely to get the government checks flowing again. See how easy that is.

  17. paulie Post author

    Trump’s pre-empting of national network news and entertainment programming on Tuesday was a not so hidden gimmick for his re-election campaign fund.

  18. paulie Post author

    No deal. Let Trump eat his shutdown. It will not end well for him. His eminent domain and and potential national emergency have significant legal opposition too, so let the courts shake all that out. He’s underwater on the wall, underwater on the shutdown, underwater on general popularity, and Republicans are already peeling off on ending the shutdown. They will continue to peel off and it will accelerate until veto-proof, which I think is a couple of weeks maybe, not months. All the Democrats have to do here is not fold, because there will be pressure on them too, and they will send Trump to a humiliating defeat….

    … just as numerous investigations – not just federal but state level as well, State AGs, congressional, special prosecutor, etc – are all closing in on intersecting circles of Trump administration, Trump inaugural, Trump transition, Trump campaign, Trump organization, Trump foundation, Trump family, Trump businesses…basically everything he has done since college and dozens if not hundreds of his associates. RICO, obstruction, emoluments, espionage…. that’s just the tip.

    Once Republicans gain a whiff of independence from Trump they will crave more.

    Meanwhile: global economic slowdown amidst Trump trade wars, tangential prosecutions overseas stemming from Panama Papers and Deutsche Bank, stock markets still teetering….

    Will the con man Trump skip town ahead of the sheriff? Stay tuned….

  19. paulie Post author

    Trump poops on the floor, pre-empts prime TV programming to interfere with yet another FBI investigation…more LULz

  20. paulie Post author

    America held hostage, day 22… Mr. President, steel slats are not the metal bars we want to see you behind…

  21. Mark West

    I guess I should chime in.

    I’m in opposition to the wall on libertarian, NAPish, principles.

    I’m trying to build a case that will draw in some of those sitting on the fence.

    I wasn’t trying to assess whom is to blame for the government shutdown, I was simply trying to show that President Trump has sent mixed signals on the issue.

    I don’t support President Trump, it just happens that he has done a couple of things recently, i.e. signalling a withdrawal from Syria, with which I agree.

    And Paulie, my bad, I’ll add pictures going forward. Other places I post with want to add the pictures themselves. Sorry for the miss on my part.

  22. paulie Post author

    I wasn’t trying to assess whom is to blame for the government shutdown, I was simply trying to show that President Trump has sent mixed signals on the issue.

    That one is easy. Trump said on video very publicly to blame him. He said it several times just so no one would be mistaken. Included in several of the videos I posted above.

    I don’t support President Trump, it just happens that he has done a couple of things recently, i.e. signalling a withdrawal from Syria, with which I agree.

    Trouble is it’s not at all clear whether or when that will happen. If it does it may only be to Iraq and overall he has increased US troops in mideast and worldwide. You can never trust anything he says until it happens or even then. And it’s an open question, IF he does it, if his reason for doing so is to to help Erdogan and or Putin. But yes, getting out of Syria would be good and overdue, although we should not pretend that it may not unleash events that may bring about a bigger US intervention later.

    Which could also be his real reason if he thought that far ahead…although I doubt he has.

    And Paulie, my bad, I’ll add pictures going forward. Other places I post with want to add the pictures themselves. Sorry for the miss on my part.

    I can add the pics, not that big a deal. Better if you do it. More importantly save it as a draft if it’s an editorial, we have rules against publishing your own editorials but we can publish other people’s so if you save it as a draft I can republish it under my byline with credit to you as the original author like I ended up doing here (but after the fact).

  23. paulie Post author

    Sorry that’s complicated. Two solutions

    1) Be contributor instead of author, I can see when a draft is finished because it says pending at that point.

    2) Or join our email list and let us know when it is done.

  24. Chuck Moulton

    I see Paulie is still suffering from Trump derangement syndrome. If you want to place bets on whether Trump will be removed from office, please let me know. I delight in taking money from suckers.

    As always, I’m no Trump fan. But many people here and elsewhere grossly overestimate how crazy he is. And he’s done a few good things.

  25. paulie Post author

    Only Trump fans have the real Trump Derangement Syndrome. No bets on whether he will be removed. I wouldn’t bet against it either, but he might succeed at sweeping it under the rug (like when Bush Sr pardoned everyone connected to Iran-Contra) or in becoming dictator.

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