Guest Editorial: The Real Cost of the Wall

By Alexander Lomax

Xenophobia is expensive.

This shouldn’t be news to any moderate or liberal Arizonan. After all, we’re well accustomed to dealing with the fallout and brand damage from extremist bills such as SB1070. We’re probably still paying off the myriad lawsuits from Joe Arpaio’s weaponization of it. So when Trump used “Build the wall” as his clarion call in the 2016 election, the writing was already on the wall: this will cost the taxpayers mightily.

The financial result? A lack of bidding competitiveness has shown that Trump’s border wall came at a cost of FIVE TIMES more per mile than Presidents Obama and Bush. It has become the ultimate symbol of the crony capitalism that permeated the Trump presidency. Meanwhile, in a surprise to no one who didn’t vote for Trump, videos have often shown that immigrants have been able to scale the wall. The only surprise is that ladder shops haven’t yet populated the Mexican side of the wall.

There are more costs that can’t simply be paid for via borrowed money. The construction of the wall has been performed without any consideration for endangered species or ecospheres. 93 endangered or threatened species live within that corridor, and clearly issues like water tables, soil erosion, and the like were very low on the priority list. As nature has often showed us, we do not know the domino effects of our actions when we disrupt a local ecosphere.

Also in the bulldozer’s path was sacred lands of the Tohono O’odham tribe. The irony of European immigrants screwing over our most native peoples to keep out Mexican immigrants is palpable and sad. I had hoped that our subjugation of our native peoples was in the past, but I was wrong.

But hey, he kept a campaign promise. So there’s that.