Robert Reich threw some well-reasoned shade at the president-elect on Friday, calling the Republican’s plan for a wall on the southern border “even dumber than most of Trump’s other ideas.”
Robert Reich, former secretary of labor under former President Bill Clinton and Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government professor is a longtime critic of Trump, and he’s rarely hesitated to speak out against many of the Republican’s planned policies.
This time Reich hits Trump in the wall: the expense, the insanity, and the utter lack of need for it.
On his blog, Reich pointed out six very good reasons that the U.S. simply does not need, nor can afford, to build a wall on the Mexican border.
First, Reich points out that the border is already well defended:
‘1. The U.S.-Mexican border is already well defended, and a wall won’t improve the defenses.’
Reich references a report from the Department of Homeland security that shows that the U.S. currently spends $3.7 billion a year to pay 21,000 border guards, and an additional $3.2 billion on ports of entry inspectors. He also adds that the a third of the border is already walled or fenced off.
Reich then mentions the cost of building a wall:
‘2. The cost of Trump’s fence would be a whopping $25 billion on top of this.’
According to The Washington Post, the cost of a new wall would be $25 billion. Trump estimated $8 billion initially, then said $10 to $12 billion. Donald Trump is trying now to convince Congress that Mexico will reimburse the U.S., and is trying to get the cost of this wall covered under regular appropriations. Sure, they’ll pay us back.
Naturally, Reich brings up this idea that Mexico will pay for it.
‘3. There’s no way Mexico will pay for it.’
Mexican president Enrique Pena has said in the past that he won’t pay for the wall, and reasserted this to his constituents again on Jan. 11.
Then Reich mentions how unnecessary adding a wall to our already sufficient border control will be.
‘4. There’s no reason for the wall anyway because undocumented migration from Mexico has sharply declined.’
According to The Department of Homeland Security, says Reich, the number of undocumented immigrants peaked in 2008 at 12 million. Since then, the number has fallen. According to Pew Research Center, the number of Mexican immigrants has dropped to the lowest levels since the ’90s. In fact, according to Pew, more Mexican immigrants are returning to Mexico than there are moving to the U.S.
And that is due to Reich’s fifth point: Mexico’s population is growing at a slower rate than ever.
‘5. The decline isn’t because of rising border enforcement but because of Mexico is producing fewer young people.’
Reich notes that the population growth of Mexico in 1965 was 7.2 children per woman, which is now at 2.3 children per woman. There is less pressure to leave Mexico for economic reasons.
And finally, Reich notes that there really isn’t any reason not to welcome Mexican immigrants, because the truth is, they don’t actually “take jobs” away from native-born Americans.
‘6. There’s little or no evidence undocumented immigrants take jobs away from native-born Americans, anyway.’
Census data finds that immigrants fill different job roles than Americans do. Currently, as Reich points out, there is already significant legal immigration under our guest worker program, including temporary workers. American farmers simply cannot find enough native-born Americans to pick crops. As many as 1.6 million legal immigrants and 3.9 million temporary permit workers are allowed passage into the U.S. to fill this vital need.
Reich sums it up by noting that Trump doesn’t like to acknowledge the facts, he just likes to push buttons on financially stressed Americans.
‘Of course, Trump lives in a fact-free universe designed merely to enhance his power and fuel his demagoguery. But you don’t have to, and nor does anyone else.’
You can read Reich’s entire essay on his Facebook page:
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