Two years after former President Donald Trump left office, his border wall is "morphing" in strange ways as Republican state governments continue to throw money at it — all while accomplishing next to nothing, wrote Francis Wilkerson for Bloomberg Opinion.
One of the biggest examples of this, noted the piece, is unfolding in Texas.
"Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been busy spending state money — in hundred-million-dollar chunks — to erect his own political statement on the Texas-Mexico border," wrote Wilkerson. "Abbott’s wall, which the Texas Observer calls a 'colossal waste of money,' has generated contracts for GOP campaign donors and a talking point for Abbott’s political future. But Abbott’s wall is running into some of the same difficulties that plagued Trump’s wall. As USA Today reported in 2017, 4,900 privately owned land parcels in Texas 'sit within 500 feet of the border.' Thus, building a wall provides annuities for an army of lawyers as well as for construction firms. The Texas Observer estimates that at its current rate, completing the state wall would cost around $17 billion."
Meanwhile, Wilkerson noted, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) — who — has introduced legislation called the Finish The Wall Act to mandate Trump's plan for construction resume, and just prior to leaving office last month, Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) built an illegal "border wall" made out of shipping containers topped with razor wire, right through an ecologically sensitive conservation area. Federal authorities then forced him to take it down.
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The one thing all of these schemes have in common, wrote Wilkerson? They can all be defeated by a ladder — something that also defeated Trump's original border wall design.
"Smugglers with a taste for more elaborate gear can deploy an inexpensive power saw to get through," wrote Wilkerson. "The Washington Post reported last year that traffickers had done exactly that — 3,272 times in the preceding three years. Some of the openings they created were large enough to drive a vehicle through. Occasionally, authorities find a tunnel that enables passage beneath the wall." And a report by the Cato Institute found that "the border wall was breached 4,101 times — more than 11 times per day. This was far more than the number of breaches in any of the prior six years and double the number of breaches for fiscal year 2016 before any of the Trump wall was built."
"It's a paradox, isn’t it?" wrote Wilkerson. "Apparently, the more wall you build, the more it is breached for illegal access."
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