Donald Trump delivered a statement last night (Jan. 8) from the Oval Office laying out his argument for funding a wall along the US’s southern border with Mexico. Funding for a wall has been the sticking point in federal budget negotiations and has led to the government being shut down for the past few weeks.
Rhetoric from the Trump administration around “border issues” has been growing more more dire and fearsome in recent weeks, despite a lack of factual basis for the supposed concerns. While it is true some people entering the country illegally climb over current fencing, sometimes in full view of photojournalists, the amount of crossings has been on the decline for years (paywall). That’s why Trump opponents have become louder and louder in pointing out the sheer ludicrousness of the wall. Even Trump’s visions for his proposed wall have changed over time. From the monolithic concrete vision he commissioned prototypes for, just last week the phrasing had shifted to, in his words, “a see-through wall made out of steel.” Those are often called “fences”—which already exist across much of America’s southern border.
The network of border barriers in its current incarnation covers over 650 miles of the US, stretching in portions through desert, towns, and ending in the sea.