How to Discuss the Wall

Prevent illegal immigration and combat the drug problem in America.

These are the chief concerns of those advocating for the construction of a wall along the southern border of the United States. But how realistic are these concerns? When considering the Depart of Homeland Security estimates the construction of the wall will cost $21.6 billion, before maintenance and upkeep are added on, does the wall seem like a worthwhile solution?

Some people get lost debating the merits of immigration, legal or otherwise. It is easy for one person to say terrorist may be crossing the border and for another to say immigrants are simply looking for a better life. Neither point is relevant to the wall. You should not let this debate be diverted on to that topic. Deterring immigration is the purpose of building the wall.

Would the Wall End Illegal Immigration?

Illegal immigration quadrupled in the years following 1990. That is to say, of everyone who lived in the United States, as of 2007, four percent were unauthorized to do so. That’s twelve million people from various countries. Since that time, the rate has steadily declined, still lingering above eleven million people. But how many of them crossed at the border?

In turns out that much of the unauthorized migrant population crossed the border legally… before overstaying their visas. In 2006, Pew Research Center reported that nearly half of the U.S. illegal population had entered the country in a manner a wall would have no hope of preventing. Ten years later, that number had risen to sixty-six percent according to the Center for Migration Studies website.

Can the Wall End the War on Drugs?

It seems clear that a twenty foot wall would obstruct the flow of drugs into the United States. However, that assumes that the nation’s proximity to Mexico actually plays a significant role in the escalation of the nation’s drug problem. The average life-expectancy in the United States has been decreasing for the last two years. The culprit? Opioid abuse.

There is a drug problem in America. Each day, 115 people die from opioid overdoses. It should be common ground that this problem has to be addressed. However, the origin of much of the opioid abuse no longer begins with heroin, as it did in the 1960’s. According the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as recently as 2008 and 2009, 86% of people who used heroin had began by recreationally using opiate medicine. Whether obtained from family, friends or personally prescribed to them, what led to abuse was the prevalent use of opiates as pain relief.

This has led some doctors to question the role they have played in surge in drug abuse. However some, if not much, of the blame may rest with big business. Companies like Purdue Pharma, have been accused of failing to accurately report the addictive properties of products like OxyContin, pushing them as a pain-relief solution while not warning doctors or patients of the potential side-effects.

How to Discuss the Wall?

The nation is on track for a conservatively projected trillion dollar annual deficit. Conversations regarding the wall should begin with this context. Regardless of a person’s sympathy for immigrants or drug-abusers, most people should agree the nation should avoid going broke.

The illegal immigrant population largely came here legally. Many of our drug fatalities begin as product of how pharmaceuticals and medical professionals conduct business in the U.S. A wall stops neither of these things. That’s to say nothing of the fact that much of the southern border is lined with mountainous peaks and wide rivers, too things which make building a wall impractical or ever impossible.

Simply ask the question, do you want to pay $21 billion when the nation is already a trillion dollars short for a wall that won’t even get rid of half the illegal immigrant or drug-users?

If the person you’re speaking to says “yes”, there is no point in speaking to them, anyway.

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