Letter to the Editor:

I wanted to compile a 2018 Top 10 list of President Donald Trump’s lies, but paring a list of thousands down to 10 proved too formidable a task.

Instead, I would like to focus on one whopper of current interest: the wall will staunch the flow of drugs, illegal aliens, terrorists and criminals into the United States. 

Such a promise would be off the scale on a standard bull­ s--- meter, but in order to fully appreciate the mendacity, let’s break it down.

First of all, the wall itself is not a physical structure that grew 10 feet higher when Mexico refused to pay for it. As many have suggested, it is a metaphor. The wave at a football stadium elicits fan participation. Similarly, the wall activates and unifies the president’s base. It is a rallying cry, the personification of racism, allowing “good” people to express their hatred for brown people as they hide behind the banner of border security.

With respect to drug trafficking, no border wall will subvert supply and demand, any more than a river’s dam will defy gravity. Eventually, if water is not released, it will either breach or circumvent the dam. Eventually, drug traffickers will find a way to get their product to consumers. Drugs enter the United States by road, rail, air and sea.

There are 48 land crossings referred to as ports of entry (POE) into the United States. The San Ysidro POE alone accounts for 14 million vehicular crossings every year. Customs agents have an average of 40 seconds per vehicle to determine whether drugs could be hidden within commonly shipped goods or secret compartments; an impossible task. 

Closing the border, as Trump has threatened, would jeopardize $1.4 billion per day in commerce. In between POEs, 224 tunnels have been discovered under existing walls, burrowing as deep as 100 feet. Catapults, air cannons, planes and ultralight aircraft deliver their goods above the border. All manner of ships, boats and submarines have been conscripted for the maritime drug trade.

If there is an immigration crisis, it is not illegal entry. Most undocumented immigrants entered the United States with valid visas, then overstayed. Due to Mexico’s declining birth rate and robust economic growth, the current trend is for undocumented Mexican immigrants to return home voluntarily.

Poverty and violence have fueled emigration from the Northern Triangle of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Lack of economic opportunities has enabled gangs such as MS-13 to conscript their nations’ youths, which fuels the drug trade and escalates the violence. These countries, however, also are experiencing a decline in their birth rate and improvement in economic growth. Sufficient domestic employment will eventually remove the incentive for emigration. 

Trump has vowed to substantially reduce aid to these countries in retaliation for their lack of effort in interdicting the caravans. This would only serve to exacerbate the problem. Supporting economic development in the Northern Triangle would reduce immigration and be more cost effective than building a wall across our southern border.

Despite our president’s claim, there is no credible evidence for terrorists entering the United States through Mexico. Women and children in the caravans are fleeing violence, not exporting it.

In summary, the wall is not really a wall, only a figment of Trump’s delusional imagination. In an alternative universe, if such a structure were to be built, it would not accomplish any of its objectives.

Terrance Moe