The Wall has become the symbol that represents a core group of Donald Trump supporters whose primary focus is eradicating Mexicans from the United States. Sure, many pretend it is about border security and immigration control, but the underlining driving factor is that some believe cultural diversification means the use of the Spanish language and the Mexican culture in U.S. communities. They fear Mexicanism in the U.S.
Had The Wall (I purposely capitalize it) been about border security then there would be a discussion about visa-free agreements who allow citizens of certain countries free access to the U.S. without background checks or travel papers and whose citizens have committed terrorists attacks in the United States. Three British citizens have been convicted of carrying out terrorist activities in the United States. Yet, British citizens can enter the U.S. without a travel visa.
Likewise, the Canadian border is as porous as the Mexican border, but unlike the Mexican border, the FBI has encountered more people on terrorist watch lists in the states bordering Canada then in the states bordering México. For example, according to an FBI report from August 2016, 68 people on the terrorist list were encountered at land borders. Of those, 43 were in two states, Michigan with 26 and New York with 17. During that same period, none were encountered in Arizona or Texas. However, little to mention of the dangers the northern border poses is discussed by the politicians. The target remains the Mexican border.
Also, according to a March 2017 Pew Research report, undocumented immigrants from México has been in decline since 2007. About one million less undocumented Mexican immigrants live in the U.S. today than in 2007.
Yet the debate of “hordes” of Mexicans crossing the border remains the narrative.
The facts about Mexican immigration and border security does not fit the narrative of The Wall and thus it is ignored.
Donald Trump has proven that The Wall is his signature agenda item. The leak of the telephone call between the Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto and Donald Trump clearly demonstrates this. Trump tried to get the Mexican president to stop countering that México would not pay for The Wall because Trump clearly understands that his base sees The Wall as its signature item.
The Wall symbolizes the fear that some voters hold that the United States is becoming too Mexican for them. Diversity and the English-language debate are manifestations of this notion. But The Wall is an expensive proposition.
Prior to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the Trump administration was having a difficult time bringing together the Republicans on the expense of The Wall. Although the Republicans hold the majority in Congress, their base on fiscal responsibility is stronger than the nativists who want to limit immigration. The Republicans are likely to come together on border security tied to tightening government expenditures over time, before funding a wall.
This is because it is near impossible to add an estimated $20+ billion to build The Wall while reducing taxes and imposing federal limits on expenses. Now, the federal government is looking at spending upwards of $290 billion for hurricane relief just on Harvey and Irma.
The unbudgeted federal expenses have made The Wall an impossibility if the Trump administration wants to deliver on its other agenda items, like tax reduction.
As such, building The Wall was unlikely at the time Trump was elected and now it has become an impossibility, thanks to two Acts of God.