‘Smart’ wall can prevent another government shutdown

Ragan Lewis, Opinions editor

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The Government had been shut down for over a month, beginning Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018 when the United States Congress and President Donald Trump could not agree on an appropriations bill, or called a spending bill, for the 2019 budget. This past Friday, Trump agreed to a stop-gap funding bill, or a law to temporarily fund the government, without the billions for the border wall. The Government is reopened, but for how long? The temporary measure only keeps the Government open until Feb.15. Many members of Congress have a pessimistic view, fearing another shutdown. While some have a positive view, believing they will be able to come to an agreement. But what should that be?

My proposition is, let him up the amp on border security. We could create something like a ‘smart’ wall, patrolled by drones and sensors with human monitoring in strategic areas after more training and strengthening of the human aspect. Funding should go up for our border security to help get the ‘smart’ wall started. The other part would be for Trump to back the DREAM Act, Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, and maintain DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, as it was before it was discontinued recently.

Security should be one of the country’s top priorities, our current border control is run by the border patrol. They are, like everyone else, human. During the past year or so, more and more scandals are coming up ranging from drug trafficking to serial killing. While at many places on the border there are fences, there are many others that the terrain makes it hard to monitor and impossible to build structures like a fence, much less a wall. These areas are patrolled by these men and women, and that could be a problem. Nobody takes them seriously, so they don’t take themselves seriously. To be able to make this security firm and respected should be the first priority, because even with a smart wall, it needs a strong foundation.

A border wall will be costly, ranging from $8 billion to $70 billion, according to Liberty Vittert, a visiting assistant professor in statistics from Washington University writing for Fox News. While this number varies widely between politicians and news sites alike, a basic number including only materials, labor and land compensation, about 60 percent of border land is privately owned, is still in the billions. We are not yet throwing in the anywhere from $150 million a year to $750 million a year in maintenance costs. Also not including the salary of those who will monitor the wall, and if it is more border patrol agents with an average salary of $52,000 per a year. This wall will be very expensive.

Our country is full of undocumented immigrants, many of them were children when they came over. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was created by the Obama administration to help the “dreamers”, the childhood arrivals. DACA provides relief for Dreamers who have no criminal history and in school, or who serve in the military. The Trump administration has tried to end the DACA program and though many human rights have filed suit against the administration and won some Dreamers to renew their status, this doesn’t apply to all of them. We need to put this back in place, and give them an opportunity to become citizens. With the DREAM Act, it doesn’t give them a 100 percent chance of becoming a citizen, but if the person follows the rules and continues on the path planned they will become citizens and that will make the public trust the government again. While the ‘smart’ wall will be expensive too, in the end, the gain from it will be more valuable than from a physical wall stretching almost 1,200 miles. Even though the construction would give as lot of people jobs, it would still cost more than its short term benefits.

Because they would be putting in place more defined lines for becoming a citizen, the government would seem like a more trustworthy entity in our lives. Seeing as the consensus from most debates I hear about politics is they are sketchy and too much drama, I think the government needs something the public can trust them to do. Stabilizing the border patrol and helping the children of immigrants would definitely do the trick after all the publicity. I believe we need to push for a ‘smart’ wall, for DACA and for the DREAM Act to be passed, all of this will make this country stronger.

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