A Border Wall for $55 (Each)

All this recent talk about walls got me thinking. History books are full of examples of the need for and the laborious building of walls around cities, countries and various structures.

The Wall of Jericho was built thousands of years before Christ and kept the city’s population safe. For a while anyway.  The City of Troy was protected from Greek invaders by a huge wall. That is, until the Trojan War and the infamous Trojan horse ployThere is the Great Wall of China, all 13,000 miles of it, that kept out invaders who sought to overthrow several Chinese dynasties. The wall around the Alamo foiled early Indian attackers but later proved to be pretty ineffective. And, then there was the Berlin Wall which divided East and West Germany for 28 years and then destroyed in spectacular, televised fashion in 1991.

The point, of course, is that walls do protect those inside, but they are not necessarily forever.

Today, to keep out what President Trump calls “the criminal element,” another history-making wall project is proposed. The president  has often said he needs $5.7 billion to build it but now comes news reports that to actually complete Mr. Trump’s vision for a wall Congress would have to approve a total of $18 billion for its construction.  (This is all part of the administration’s new master plan for U.S. border security that carries an estimated price tag of $33 billion over a 10-year span.)

Let’s face facts. The problem of our porous borders has been around for decades with only occasional band-aid fixes along the way. We all know what happens to a problem that is ignored. It gets worse and increasingly costlier to manage.  That’s where we are today with our immigration problem.

We have to start somewhere to fix what is broken and we’re working from a disadvantage following years of neglect. Politicians from both sides of the aisle agree – America has a border problem.  But to what degree? Is it a “humanitarian and national security crisis” as the president insists or a simple, “humanitarian challenge” and “manufactured crisis” as the democratic leadership calls it?

The realty is somewhere in the middle of all the partisan political talking points. But one thing is for sure, our politicians are too caught up in their own egos to find a way to a.) keep the country safe and b.) manage those who would like to enter and live in our country legally.

The scenes we see on the nightly news – refugee families crammed into tent cities along the U.S. – Mexico border and reports that some separated and traumatized children may never see their parents again – are heartbreaking.  Sure looks like a crisis for those people who left their homes, trekked hundreds of miles north and now live in tent cities with no amenities.  Some of those migrants – maybe even many of them –would probably make stellar American citizens if given the chance.  But we have yet to find a reliable way to ferret out those of the criminal persuasion. Not all should be allowed in but not all should be kept out.

The lack of definitive and long-ranging action from official Washington is either pure self-absorbed politics (Let’s make sure not to give in to the other side!) or callous disregard.  Either way it sickens me.

Both democrats and republicans seem to agree that more money is needed to hire additional U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, more sophisticated surveillance technology and more inspection equipment for our ports of entry.  The democrats vehemently say they do not want and will not fund a wall. Yet a bill introduced in the democratically controlled house in early January includes $1.3 billion for “new fences” in the Rio Grande Valley area and “secondary fencing” in San Diego and other locations. So, the party of Pelosi agrees, a border barrier, albeit not so long or tall, is needed.

The sticking point is that word – wall – and the price tag the president has slapped on it.

Let’s do some math.  When all is said and done the wall will cost $18 billion? That sounds like a boatload of money, doesn’t it?  But divide $18 billion by the 326 million men, women and children in the U.S. and … well, that comes out to about $55 dollars apiece. When you think of it that way, would you pony up $55 dollars per person in your household to help break the political stalemate, end the prospect of more government closures and insure fewer people illegally crossing over our border with Mexico?

I’m sick of all the politics.  Where do I send my $55-dollar check?




  1. Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 10:18 am

    Reader Peggy Huber writes:

    Where do we send the check?
    Thank you for your editorial. Right-on!

  2. Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Reader Jerome Paul Shea writes:

    Sadly, Diane, it looks like great minds sometimes do disagree.

    Repeat after me: IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY. And again, IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY. As someone recently said, Little Donny is determined to get his Big Beautiful Wall and he will hold OUR breath until he gets it. So this is a power struggle, pure and simple, just like between parents and their teenager who will keep throwing a hissy and sulking until they wearily give up and buy him that Mustang.

    We must NOT cave in to this poster boy for arrested development. Your column this morning is just what Little Donny wants to hear. I’ll bet he was thrilled (“It’s working! It’s working!”).

    As an aside, there are better uses for those billions; the Democrats have already shown a willingness to spend a bunch–wisely, not stupidly–on border security. Not that Trump gives a rat’s ass about border security. The only thing Trump cares about is Trump (how much more evidence do we need for this, Diane?): getting his own way to salve his ego and to look like a tough guy in front the Trumpistas.

    Don’t buy the kid a Mustang. Let’s instead practice tough love.


  3. Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Reader Bob Ferguson writes:

    Diane- After reading your Op-Ed editorial, “If we chip in, we can buy a border wall for $55”, my wife, who is German, mentioned the Berlin wall came down in 1989, not 1991 as you stated.

    BTW, love your weekly editorials which are normally spot on.

    Bob Ferguson

    • Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 10:27 am

      Reader Jerry Little writes:

      Yes…and I offer to pay your share Diane.

    • Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 10:31 am

      Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson,

      The research on this subject is contradictory. Some of it declares the wall came down in 1991….others say it BEGAN to come down in 1989.
      Upon further study I believe the 1991 reference was to when it was completely destroyed. (although remnants remains to this day as a tourist reminder)
      Thanks for pointing this out.

  4. Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 10:27 am

    Reader Michael Martinez writes:

    Mexico can pay my and my family’s share.

  5. Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    Reader Joya Colucci Lord writes:

    >>”When you think of it that way, would you pony up $55 dollars per person in your household to help break the political stalemate, end the prospect of more government closures and insure fewer people illegally crossing over our border with Mexico?” >>

    Yes. I’d even throw in an extra $55 for Tiggz. (the cat)

  6. Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    Reader Susan Silver writes:

    It’s more than the money…it’s lies about a crisis, it’s precedent, it’s drumpf changing the deal upon whim of Rush Limbaugh so no

    • Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 1:24 pm

      Reader Kurt K Guy replies to Susan Silver:

      But it is a crisis. It doesn’t matter if illegal immigration is up or down the fact is the agents are overwhelmed. Yes, it’s easier to let them flood in to avoid responsibility for their care, but that’s not a “compassionate” solution. It creates an incentive for more illegal entry which creates an illegal market which creates victim of trafficking, rape, drug muling and other issues.

      • Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 1:24 pm

        Susan Silver replies:

        There was a 21 billion dollar offer which passed to fix all aspects and deranged donnie nixed it so …there u go

        • Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 1:25 pm

          Kurt K Guy replies:

          Yes, let’s move forward, but the utter hatred for Trump is all that seems to matter.
          Whether you love him or hate him sound policies should win. Everyone in the past acknowledged and voted for funding of a fence, wall or barrier.
          I’ll listen to the boots on the ground. A wall is needed in some areas, a fence in others and technology/manpower in others.
          Than let’s compromise on immigration. Maybe more, vetted, work visas? Some immigrants just want to work, send money home and have no interest in becoming an American citizen. So, let’s give work visas on need per our economy.

  7. Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    Reader Kyla Thompson writes:

    No. It’s not the money. We have needed comprehensive immigration reform for 50 years. Every president and Congress have dropped the ball on this and have never made it a priority. You can build a wall, but you still have the outdated immigration laws for EVERY immigrant. Not just Mexicans. I live 325 miles from the Mexico border. There is no crisis. Even the ranchers on the border plead for help from theft and crime (which is legitimate and increasing), but they do not believe a wall would work. Higher ladder, deeper tunnel. Remember, El Chapo built a 30′ tunnel and it was AIR CONDITIONED. The focus on the wall is only an obsession to complete a very stupid campaign promise. The fact that so many people believed that Mexico would pay for it boggles my mind. Get off the wall and use the money to reform our immigration laws!

  8. Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    Reader Otis Jiry writes:

    Take $25 billion from the military budget (which is highly overblown) and build the damn thing , which will be a waste of time and money, plus will incur tremendous cost overruns before all is said and done.

  9. Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Reader PAT KELLEY WITTORF·writes:

    Clearly, from reading the comments, the emotional issues are blocking any rational response to the root cause of the problem. Too many people have allowed the rhetoric that has fanned the flames of hatred against Trump to blind them to the basic issue.
    No sane person with an IQ higher than their shoe size believes unfettered ingress to our country is a good idea. The problem seems to be the fact that the solution rests with politicians… politicians are people who rely on their popularity among their constituents to be re-elected time and again and they, therefore, spend an inordinate about of time and energy ensuring they say and do NOTHING to annoy ANYONE, which is a sure and certain formula for getting little or nothing accomplished. “

  10. Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Reader Madeline Michele Hovey writes:

    No wall

  11. Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    Reader Linda Ellis writes:

    Democrats pay what Trump is asking for the wall every 10 days to subsidize illegal aliens.

    Let that sink in. #socialistclowns

  12. Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Reader Felisa Cardona writes:

    Or for $55 each we could actually fund something that helps Americans instead of an old outdated “security” method.

  13. Diane Dimond on January 14, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Reader Nancy Nicolary writes:

    Dear Ms. Dimond,

    Just wanted to let you know that reading your Saturday, 1/12/19 column, renewed my faith in humanity – or at least in the fact that someone else out there (especially in the media) can express views that I can totally agree with, and I actually look for your column which calms me!

    When I briefly viewed the front page of Saturday’s paper, I wanted to throw it out this time – I was up to my chin in negativity in the news (seriously, I subscribe to the paper for the word games!). Specifically after learning how Governor Grisham has jumped head-over-heels into her new position by starting the spending spree, and her desire to open the borders to all…. I commend you on your amazing ability to put your beliefs into unoffensive words! My inner voice is struggling while writing this email to you, while wanting to honestly express myself.

    Truly, I hope that you will be writing for a long time … so that it’s not just the word games that I will look forward to. The Journal, unfortunately, has many columnists who are able to inject their opinions offensively without regard to those of us who view differently. You write offering enlightening information for readers to ponder.

    Thank you,
    Nancy Nicolary

  14. Diane Dimond on January 15, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Reader Darlene Nelson writes:

    So you want an address for your $55 toward wall?
    Are you prepared to also send in $440 for my neighbors who have six children, a house to keep up while she works part time and goes to college to be an R.N. Her husband has a job also.
    Are you prepared to sent in an extra $110 for my husband and myself? We are healthy 83 & 86 year olds but need that money for insurance, medications, food, etc. Are you prepared to send in extra for a number of my friends in nursing homes & assisted living barely make it go? I could go on & on.
    We have none for an expensive, unneeded, immoral wall.
    The way to stop pouty bullies is NOT by giving in to them!!
    Darlene Nelson.

  15. Diane Dimond on January 16, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Reader David Cooper writes:

    I’d gladly give my $55 if walls would solve the problem. I’d rather have American sovereignty restored and solve the problem once and for all!

    Remembering a Sovereign America

    Six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese occupied Attu and Kiska Islands with several thousand troops. When the American people learned of this occupation of sovereign American soil on those Aleutian Islands in the territory of Alaska, they were infuriated.

    Seventy years ago this past May, the United States sent elements of the 7th Infantry Division to Attu to right this situation. After a fierce battle which cost almost 600 American lives, most of the nearly 2400 Japanese troops on Attu were annihilated. Those on Kiska were withdrawn before Allied troops attacked there. The affront to our sovereignty, as well as the small military threat, was over.

    Today, over twelve million undocumented persons (latest Yale study puts the range between 16 and 29 million) occupy American soil, where is the outcry that would have been heard in the middle of the 20th century?

    A sovereign country has the right to determine who is in the country and who can be a citizen. All the Congresses and administrations of the past half century share the blame for surrendering our sovereignty.

    The solution is to enforce our existing laws and to pass legislation where necessary to eliminate the three “legs of the tripod” that support the “magnet” which attracts illegal immigrants:

    1. Allowing undocumented immigrants to work,
    2. Giving periodic amnesties, and
    3. Most importantly, our choosing to allow “birthright citizenship”!

    The last has been contentious since we finally have a President who recognizes the stupidity (making the same mistake over and over) of our current practice, which could probably be changed with an Executive Order. Here is an example why:

    A couple who are professors at Oxford come to The United States of America to teach for ten years on work visas. They have a son shortly thereafter who completes third grade in school before they all return to England. Years later the son comes to America to attend graduate school. While here he is arrested for failure to register for the military draft. This would not stand! The son is a British subject, not an American subject. He is no more subject to our draft laws than his father would have been.

    A complete immigration reform needs to include a viable guest worker program which would withhold a certain portion of the wages to be paid until the worker returns to the country of origin. Because of the culpability of all three branches of our government in creating this migration mess, provisions to allow those here illegally to have a grace period before they must leave, during which they can have restricted work permits, should be part of a comprehensive overhaul. A provision for the so called “dreamers” could also be included, but their future citizenship would have to involve completing civic service provisions, and they would then be shuffled into the pool of those seeking immigration visas.

    Restoring American sovereignty is possible, but will require common sense and a willingness to work together to fix this problem.

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