Since Donald Trump began his successful run for the White House a year and a half ago, his campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again,” and his signature red baseball cap adorned the phrase. One of his first major platform initiatives was immigration, particularly along the US-Mexican border. Voters flocked to his promise to build a wall along the border, a great wall that Mexico themselves would pay to build. Since the election, the wall has come into question often. Would it still be built? Was it only a metaphor? New information received by Reuters seems to point towards President-elect Donald Trump and his team continuing their plans to build that wall.
The History Of Trump’s Wall
Trump first made mention of the wall along the Mexican border in the speech that announced his candidacy in June, 2016, according to Politifact.com
“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively,” Trump said, announcing his candidacy on June 16, 2015.
“I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.”
The idea of the wall itself became quite literally a rallying cry for his supporters, even more so as establishment politicians pushed back heavily against the idea, criticizing it as expensive and unrealistic. The further pundits belittled the notion, the louder the chants at Donald Trump rallies became, with large crowds crying,”Build the wall! Build the wall!” Attainable or not, it appeared to be what his voters wanted.
The Post-Election Wall
Since securing victory on November 8, and in the months leading up to the vote, there has been a lot of discussion about what exactly Trump had in mind for the wall. Cost estimates have run from two to 11 billion dollars and some had even begun to wonder if the wall was ever an intention from Trump and his team in the first place. In a post-election interview with NPR, according to Steve Benen of MSNBC.com, Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich said the following.
“He’ll spend a lot of time controlling the border… He may not spend very much time trying to get Mexico to pay for it. But it was a great campaign device.”
Gingrich was not speaking directly on behalf of President-elect Trump, but seemed to be hinting at what many had suspected earlier, that either much of the campaign rhetoric was just chest beating, or that at least the plan for the wall would be scaled back significantly.
The Latest Developments
Today, according to an internal agency memo reviewed by Reuters, Julia Edwards Ainsley reported that The Department of Homeland Security was requested by Trump and his transition team in a December 5 meeting to forward an array of documents and analysis, including “all assets available for border wall and barrier construction.” This would indicate that there is still at least interest in the border and its reinforcement. The Reuters report went on to say the following.
“The team also asked about the department’s capacity for expanding immigrant detention and about an aerial surveillance program that was scaled back by the Obama administration but remains popular with immigration hardliners. And it asked whether federal workers have altered biographic information kept by the department about immigrants out of concern for their civil liberties.”
An existing section of the wall between the US and Mexico in Texas [Image by Eric Gay/AP Images]
Not only building the wall, but the impact of illegal immigration on our economy, and the threatened deportation of illegal aliens in the United States became a major part of Donald Trump’s platform as a candidate. His request for information about the border was met with detailed reports from US Customs and Border Patrol, that “identified more than 400 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border, and about the same distance along the U.S.-Canada border, where new fencing could be erected.”
One thing has seemed to be consistent thus far when it comes to Trump policy-uncertainty. Until his inauguration on January 20, the president-elect and his team continue to master the art of suspense and intrigue. It worked in the election and that may suggest more of it to come, but according to The Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by Reuters, it appears Donald Trump and his team will continue his plan to build a wall.
[Featured Image by Gerald Herbert/Cropped and Resized/AP Images]