Rogerian Argument Essay on Trump's Wall

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After declaring that he would keep running for the United States presidency in June 2015, Donald Trump made a statement that he would build a wall on the southern border. According to CBC News (2018), he said 'I will build a great wall on our southern border and I'll have Mexico pay for that wall' (Mahboob, 2018). As per a report in Forbes, the idea behind Trump making this statement comes from political consultation to gain more public influence ( Anderson, 2019).

Mr. Trump’s Plans, Budget estimations, and the height of the proposed wall have been changing ever since 2014. It all started on August 5, 2014, with a simple tweet by President Trump, SECURE THE BORDER! BUILD A WALL! Trump’s estimates for building a wall grew from $4 billion to $20 billion in 4 years (Nixon and Qui, 2018).

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Building a wall and President Trump’s ever-evolving comments on it have made it a debatable issue that has become the reason for the ‘shutdown’ of the government in the US.

Mexico and the US started sharing boundaries in 1821 when Mexico gained independence from Spain. The border separating the two countries was formed in 1846 after the American-Mexican war. But the Border formed was virtual with few stone monuments marking the international boundary. This open border helped many immigrants to enter the US illegally. These illegal entries forced both Democrat and republican US presidents to enhance border security. Moreover, attacks in Washington and New York added to it (Contreras, 2018).

According to CBC Reports, out of 3145 kilometers of the US-Mexico Border, more than 1100 kilometers already had a fence when President Trump made his statement. The first physical fence between the two countries was built in 1990 in the San Diego region to control illegal immigration and drug smuggling. The Secure Fence Act was signed in 2006 by President George W. Bush to improve Border security. This Act gave authority to the government to use the power of eminent domain to condemn private property to secure its international boundaries. US Customs and Border Protection released some images in 2011 that proved that the type and structure of barrier used as the border between the US and Mexico differ depending upon the terrain and population of the region ( Mahboob, 2018).

Building a wall had been a trademark of Trump’s campaign. But the idea of building great and expensive walls has changed over time. In 2015, he made a statement to build 50 feet 50-foot-tall concrete wall made up of rebar and steel, which would cost from $4 billion to $7 billion and Mexico would pay for it. In late 2015, he explained that a wall is not required to be built along the entire border because some natural barriers already exist. In early 2016, the proposed height of the wall continuously varied between 35 feet, 40 feet, and 50 feet, but the cost of building a wall grew to $10 billion with emphasis laid on ‘Mexico will pay’. In June 2017, Mr. Trump envisioned a Solar-powered wall that would also help to create solar energy. Soon in July 2017, the idea changed to building a transparent wall to see through it. In January 2018, the height of the proposed wall was reduced to 32 feet, and the cost was raised to $18 billion with Mexico paying for it. In December 2018, Trump tweeted that he was not building a concrete wall but artistically designed 30-foot tall steel slats. Here he also insisted that not Mexico, but Taxpayers are going to fund the wall (Rabinowitz and Steckelberg, 2019)

Pew Research Center surveyed in January 2018 which reports that 60% of Americans opposed the idea of expanding the wall. The proportion that favors the idea of building the wall comprises senior citizens, white Americans, and less educated people. There are plenty of reasons that support the decision of 60% of Americans. But what made the rest 40% of Americans agree that they needed a wall?

The flow of undocumented Mexican immigrants is continuously increasing. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), 303,916 people entered the US illegally in 2017. President Donald Trump believes that the tall wall will control illegal entries in America.

Why do we disagree? DHS also reported that in 2017, more than 606,926 people who entered the US legally, by air or sea, overstayed their visas. Building the wall will not reduce illegal immigrants who

enter legally. The better solution is to have a reliable immigrant reform. So, the wall would not have a positive impact on the border, rather it would lead to more complications.

The Border would control the drug traffickers entering the US According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), 39% of Heroin in the US comes through the US-Mexico Border. Mr. Trump says that the wall will help fight against drugs (Rodgers and Bailey, 2019).

Why do we disagree? DEA reports that although most of the Heroin comes from Mexico, the majority of it is smuggled through legal ports of entry by hiding it in privately owned vehicles. It is also trafficked in transportation trucks mixing with other goods (Rodgers and Bailey, 2019). Building a wall would not control drugs entering via legal ports.

The Border would not disturb the natural habitat and wildlife. A Customs and Border Protection Policy ensures that the “ agency will integrate environmental stewardship and sustainability practices into operations and activities.” This requires a deep investigation of the effects of building a wall on the environment and choosing substitutes that would be least destructive (Schwartz, 2019).

Why do we disagree? More than 2900 scientists signed the paper published in Journal Bioscience which claimed that the wall would “threaten some of the continent’s most biologically diverse regions.” It would impede the free movement of animals and will also affect plants. Also, since regions near the border are spots of ecotourism, the wall would destroy more than 4400 jobs and will cost tourism money (Schwartz, 2019).

President Trump’s statement about the construction of a 2000-mile wall across the US-Mexico Border is all based on illegal immigration and Border security. But it is being criticized due to the following reasons:

Wastage of Government Resources and Public Taxes The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported in February 2017 that the Border Wall Project would cost $21.6 billion. These construction costs do not include any maintenance expenses (Bier, 2017). The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that DHS is planning to spend Public Taxes without evaluating the operational costs and effectiveness of the Border Wall. GAO stressed that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is using an inefficient methodology to enhance security at the border (Zazueta-Castro, 2018).

Ineffective way to control drug smuggling and illegal immigration USA Today presents the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data stating that 90% of Heroin, 88% of cocaine, 87% of methamphetamine, and 80% of fentanyl in the first 11 months of 2018 fiscal year was caught trying to be smuggled in at legal crossing points. Gil Kerlikowske, head of CBP says that Drug traffickers prefer busy ports to smuggle drugs into the US because of the high chances of success (Gomez, 2019). These statistics make it clear that open borders are not the reason for drugs in the US and the wall cannot tackle the problem of Drugs very efficiently.

DHS reported that almost 400,000 people were caught trying to cross the US-Mexican Border illegally in 2018 and more than 700,000 people who entered the US legally overstayed their visas in the same year (Rodgers and Bailey, 2019).

Therefore, people who entered the US legally and turned into illegal immigrants by overstaying their departure dates are almost double that of people who trying to cross the border illegally. This makes it evident that building a wall is not an effective way to control illegal immigration.

The Economic Downside President Trump has always insisted that Mexico will directly or indirectly pay for building a wall. But Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto refused to pay and hence, therefore canceled a meeting. Trump plans to tax America’s business with Mexico to force Mexico to pay for the wall, without realizing that if the US imposes a tax on Mexican imports, American consumers will cover it. Trump also plans to cut off the pay of Mexican Immigrants, which would be a direct slap on Mexicans working in the US (Bier, 2017). Chef and Famous TV personality, Anthony Bourdain says, “Since Americans don’t want to work, Building a wall and insulting Mexicans or deporting them would take away labor supply in agriculture and dairy industry” (Gonzalez, 2017).

Ecology Concerns The Outlined map of the construction of the wall shows that it would pass through the regions protected for Endangered species. The environmentalists argue that the project wall would cut off the National Butterfly Center and would displace rare wildlife (n.d. 2018). The National Wildlife Federation has warned saying that the creation of a wall is “one of the biggest potential ecological disasters of our time” (Schwartz, 2019).

According to Aljazeera, President Trump demanded $5.7 billion to fund the US-Mexico Wall. Democratic Party opposed the demand, which led to the ‘shutdown’ of the US government on December 21, 2018. This Shutdown lasted for 35 days, and on 25 January 2019, Trump declared that both parties had reached a deal to reopen the government for 3 weeks. This shutdown affected more than 8000 federal workers in nine different departments and seven federal agencies, including Agriculture, Commerce, Transportation, and Treasury. Services of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Immigration courts were also affected. Sharice Davids, Democratic Representative stated, “Shutdown has a direct effect on Native American Lives.” National Parks and Museums were also closed or had limited service (n.d. 2019).

There have been 21 shutdowns in the history of the US government. The current shutdown is the longest ever. There had been a 21-day long shutdown in December 1995 during the presidency of Bill Clinton, which is the second longest shutdown to date (n.d. 2019).

‘The Wall’ has been a hallmark of Mr. Donald Trump’s election campaign since 2014. His dreams of making impenetrable, tall, powerful, and beautiful physical walls have always been in the limelight, but his promises to make Mexico pay for it have faded over four years. Mr. Trump is firm on his decision to build a wall across the US-Mexico Border and is turning a blind eye to the harmful impacts of Project Wall.

Mexico is not only a neighbor but also a trading partner of the US. Building a wall would hurt the interdependency of the US and Mexican economies. It would weaken the Free Trade Agreements such as NAFTA. It would create Cultural Divisions (Puente, 2016).

Statistics from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) make it very clear that a wall is not the most effective way of enhancing Border Security.

Building a wall across the border sends an offensive message i.e. ‘ Stay out’. It reminds Mexicans of their lost territories which arouses the feeling of Nationalism in their hearts. It is a slap on Mexicans working in the US. It is an indirect way to weaken the US and Mexican economies.

According to BBC, Senator Schumer (Democratic Party) argues that the Statue of Liberty, which is also known as the Immigrant’s Statue is a better symbol for America. She states that the statue is seen as a sign of hope and welcomes immigrants. She remarked, “We want the Statue of Liberty and not the wall as a symbol of America” (n.d. 2019).


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    3. Gomez, A. (2019, January 16). Fact-checking Trump officials: Most drugs enter the US through legal ports of entry, not vast, open borders. Retrieved March 16, 2019, from
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    12. Schwartz, J. (2019, January 24). Why a Border Wall Could Mean Trouble for Wildlife. Retrieved March 16, 2019, from
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