How Far Will Trump Go For His Wall?

Donald Trump has promised his supporters a wall since day 1, but is it even possible?

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How Far Will Trump Go For His Wall?

Veronica Rohlfing, Reporter

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Immigration. It’s one of the most controversial topics in the political atmosphere today. During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump proposed and advocated strongly for a physical wall along the U.S. – Mexico border to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing into the United States. While many criticize the wall, saying that it will be expensive and ultimately ineffective, many others believe that it is a necessary and effective first step in ending the immigration crisis.

But, it will not be easy for Trump to get what he’s promised. Firstly, it will be expensive. When he first pitched the idea, he said that Mexico would pay for the wall. Many people were skeptical; Mexico has said that it has no interest in funding this barrier. This particular promise seemed to fade out over time, and recently Trump retracted it. As reported by Business Insider, he asked Congress for $5.7 billion. He says that Mexico will end up paying for the wall in other ways, such as through trade agreements.

Now, there’s a new problem for Trump… a newly elected Congress won’t let it happen without a fight. To build the wall, Congress would need to agree to it, and Trump also needs funding from them. Democrats currently hold the majority in the House of Representatives and have offered to give Trump $1.3 billion for his wall (according to Business Insider.)

If you’re keeping up, you’ll realize that 1.3 billion and 5.7 billion are two very different numbers. So, in typical Trump fashion, he declined their offer. Their disagreement led to a total government shutdown until either the Democrats or Trump would surrender. Needless to say, neither did, and the shutdown began at midnight on December 22nd, 2018, with Trump blaming Democrats, and Democrats blaming Trump.

So what exactly does that mean? Well, during a shutdown, most people with government jobs are out of work. Some are forced to work without pay, such as TSA agents. This has resulted in the number of people calling out of work skyrocketing, trash piling up around city parks, vandalism on monuments, and more. Additionally, those who use food stamps are being warned to budget them, as it isn’t clear how they will be distributed if the shutdown continues for too much longer.

On January 12th, 2019, the 2018-2019 government shutdown officially became the longest in U.S. history, breaking the record previously held by 1995-1996 (that shutdown was a result of a disagreement between Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress over funding for Medicare, education, environmental care, etc.) Trump has said that he is willing to allow the shutdown to continue for months, or even years if he doesn’t get the funding for the border wall.

However, Trump doesn’t really think it will come to that. As the POTUS, Trump has special powers that mean he could build the wall without approval from Congress. If he declares a national emergency, he can move forward with the wall and reinstate the government simultaneously. Members from both political parties have cautioned Trump against using his emergency powers, but he has said that he is considering it favorably nonetheless.

But, surprisingly, it isn’t that easy. Many argue that his plan to build the wall could be taken to court, where it would be shot down. Democrats would argue that there is no national emergency, and that to declare one amidst the government shutdown is an abuse of power.

Needless to say, what was once a rallying cry has quickly become one of the biggest American controversies in years. Trump’s wall has Republicans and Democrats further divided than they already were. In times like these, it’s most important to remember that everyone is fighting for what they think is best for America and the people in it.