In the wake of President Trump’s inauguration, the executive orders came fast and furious, signaling the new administration’s intentions to move quickly on campaign promises. Those included building a barrier on the entire 2,000-mile length of the U.S.-Mexico border.
But another signature line from the campaign – that Mexico would pay for the wall – was proving little more than rhetoric in the weeks after inauguration. Plans to pressure Congress to appropriate the money for it directly, without Mexican involvement, continued in place as of this writing. A leaked Department of Homeland Security document suggested the cost could exceed $20 billion, though estimates of $12 billion were more commonly cited by the administration.
“My understanding is Congress authorized this construction several years ago,” noted Gary Buchs, commenting on Overdrive’s Facebook page. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 in fact authorized 700 miles of security fence along the border, of which 654 miles’ worth was built under the previous two administrations. “We do need a better handle on border security,” Buchs added.
More than half of Overdrive readers support the efforts, however they’re funded.
Gene Richardson, commenting on Overdrive’s Facebook page, did so with “safety for the American people” in mind. “I would be happy to donate a few bucks toward” its construction.
Another 17 percent who might support covering the remaining 1,300 miles of border with a wall did not approve of the plan if it were to hinge on some undetermined “reimbursement” from Mexico. A planned trip for Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto to Washington, D.C., was scuttled by Mexican authorities in the Trump administration’s first week after Trump surrogates floated a 20 percent tariff on goods coming into the country from Mexico as a means of paying for the wall.
The most vocal among responding commenters were those among the 27 percent who did not support the wall effort in any way. “A lot of truckers, including me, run freight south to and away from the Mexican border,” wrote Kenneth Williams on OverdriveOnline.com. “We spend a lot of time waiting for loads coming out. I do not see a real reason to spend the huge expense for a wall. I think our people at the border patrol do a fine job. I believe these political promises are nothing more than a scam to get the vote from people who feel disenfranchised.”
“Let the people in favor of building the wall pay for it – put your money where you put your words,” Rodolfo Rangel cracked wise on Overdrive’s Facebook page, then referencing Richardson’s invocation of safety. “My truck needs a new set of tires. Your donation is accepted for the safety of all the people!”