Donald Trump, Racism Against Immigrants, Ridiculous High Cost For Wall
“I can’t even begin to picture how we would deport 11 million people in a few years where we don’t have a police state, where the police can’t break down your door at will and take you away without a warrant,” said Michael Chertoff, who led a significant increase in immigration enforcement as the secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush.
Finding those immigrants would be difficult, experts said. Police officers across the country would need to ask people for proof of residency or citizenship during traffic stops and street encounters. The Border Patrol would need highway checkpoints across the Southwest and near the Canadian border. To avoid racial profiling, any American could expect to be stopped and asked for papers.
To achieve millions of deportations, the Obama administration’s focus on deporting serious criminals would have to be scrapped, said Julie Myers Wood, a director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE, under Mr. Bush. “You would not care if the person had a criminal record,” she said.
Large-scale raids, rare under Mr. Obama, would resume at farms, factories, restaurants and construction sites, with agents arresting hundreds of workers and poring over company records. And prosecutors would bring criminal charges against employers hiring unauthorized immigrants.
Mr. Sternfeld, who has led major wall projects across the country and approached the Trump family last summer, suggested that Mr. Trump was overly optimistic about the cost and was underestimating the complexity of the undertaking.
Running the numbers, Mr. Sternfeld said a 40-foot-tall concrete wall using a “post and panel” system that went 10 feet below the ground — to minimize tunneling — would cost at least $26 billion. The logistics would be nightmarish, including multiple concrete casting sites and temporary housing for a crew of 1,000 workers if the job were to be completed within Mr. Trump’s first four-year term.
Maintenance would be an additional recurring expense, said Walter W. Boles, an engineering professor at Middle Tennessee State University who specializes in concrete construction. Deep trench work would also be necessary for keeping a wall of that height from toppling, he said, and seismic sensors to detect digging would be wise for preserving its integrity from below.
Setting aside the need for congressional approval and a likely fight with Mexico over financing, many who study borders doubt that a mass of concrete would accomplish its purpose. From the ancient Great Wall of China to Israel’s modern security barrier, walls rarely prove totally impervious to people set on traversing them.
Walls tend to be crude solutions to complex problems and are evidence of geopolitical failure, said Michael Dear, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in the border with Mexico.
“People always find a way to go above or below or through a wall,” said Professor Dear, the author of “Why Walls Won’t Work.” “It’s just political window dressing and rabble-rousing of the worst order.”