President Trump is determined to build a wall along the U.S.–Mexico border, and will continue to press Congress to fund it. On April 25th, he tweeted: “Don’t let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL. It will get built.” While Trump has apparently decided to postpone the battle for funding, and not risk shutting down the federal government this week over his initial funding request for the wall, it’s too soon to declare victory. As Congress looks toward the federal budget for the coming year, you can make a difference by calling your elected representative and telling them why you think the border wall would be expensive, ineffective, and harmful to communities across the United States—as well as for U.S. relations and interests in Latin America.
Credible estimates put the cost of the wall anywhere from $8 billion to $70 billion. What’s more, this costly use of public funds will not substantively make the U.S.–Mexico border more secure; the majority of illicit drugs enter the country through the ports of entry and a wall would only slow down a border crosser for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, as the cost estimates rise, the number of migrants arriving at the U.S.–Mexico border has dropped significantly. In fact, in the past several months, the change has been so striking that the Trump administration started claiming victory for its hardline approach (even though it undercuts its argument for building a wall). While it is true that the February and March saw a decrease in migrant apprehensions at the border, it is also too early to draw any conclusions from the drop. These decreases are not a vindication of hardline policies. Many migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border are fleeing violence and seeking refuge in the U.S., which is legal and should not be deterred.
As this debate continues in Congress, WOLA has created a tool to help you find your elected representative, and compiled a list of resources to help you make the argument against the wall: