KID REPORTERS’ NOTEBOOK
Trump Orders a Wall to Be Built Between the U.S. and Mexico
On January 25, just days after his inauguration, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order calling for the construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said that he would build a wall along the southern border of the U.S. to keep out illegal immigrants. Trump also said that Mexico would pay for the wall. Many U.S. voters supported the idea.
Once Trump was sworn into office, he announced that Mexico would reimburse the U.S. after the wall was built. President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico angrily said that his country had no plans to pay for the wall, ever. In late January, the Mexican president canceled a previously scheduled meeting with Trump because of the disagreement between the two leaders.
According to White House officials, if Mexico does not agree to pay for the wall, Trump may impose a 20 percent tax on products imported from Mexico. Such a tax would be passed onto U.S. consumers.
IS BUILDING A WALL THE ANSWER?
During his campaign, Trump said that the wall would cost $12 billion. However, according to a recent study by the Department of Homeland Security, building a barrier along the entire border with Mexico would likely cost around $21.6 billion.
Congressman Ted Deutch, a Democrat who represents my home state of Florida, is among many people who say that building a wall is not the answer to immigration reform.
“I don’t think that we should be making a massive investment to build a wall that’s not going to address the immigration challenges we have,” Deutch told me during a recent interview at his office in Boca Raton. “It’s not going to make us safer.”
Deutch believes that the U.S should reform its immigration system rather than build a wall. He cited the visa system as one way to address illegal immigration. “We can’t allow people who come here legally to stay here indefinitely,” Deutch said.
A FENCE INSTEAD?
Natural barriers and fencing already cover parts of the border between the U.S. and Mexico, so the proposed wall may only be about 1,000 miles long. The entire southern border, which runs through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, is nearly 2,000 miles long.
Fifteen-year-old Will Hagan of Boca Raton thinks that a wall should cover the entire border. “Even though half of the border is [already] protected,” Will said, “I still think that people will try to sneak into our country.”
Susan Jefferson, 14, of Delray Beach, thinks that building a wall is “unnecessary” and would be “a waste of money.”
CNN recently reported that border experts may recommend building a fence instead of a wall. “Fencing has worked for us in the past,” a U.S. border patrol official told CNN. “You never want to have a barrier in place that will obstruct your vision, that prevents you from seeing the other side of the border.”
Trump is still vowing to build a wall and to keep the cost below $21.6 billion.