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Is Trump’s Border Wall Beneficial?

Is Trump’s Border Wall Beneficial?

Will the border wall reduce the border crisis?
Will the border wall reduce illegal immigration?
Is the border wall racist?
Does the border wall undermine American leadership?
Does diverting funds from the military to build the border wall threaten the military?
Is the diversion of funds from the military constitutional?
Is the border war a threat to the environment?


Supreme Court: Trump Can Use Funds for Border Wall Fight (2019) . The Supreme Court decision

In victory for Trump, Supreme Court frees up $2.5 billion for border wall (2019). From Vox (edited for brevity):

President  Trump was handed a major victory on his signature issue — building a wall on the US-Mexico border — on Friday, as the US Supreme Court approved the use of $2.5 billion in military funding for the purposes of wall construction. In a 5-4 decision , the Supreme Court overturned two decisions by a federal judge that had barred the Trump administration from using military money for the wall. The federal judge had ruled the executive branch could not appropriate money for a purpose not specifically authorized by Congress.

The money in question comes from the Pentagon’s budget; it had been initially approved for military personnel and training purposes. In two separate cases earlier this year, US District Court Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. of Oakland blocked these funds from being reappropriated and put toward building a border wall. The administration argued that such redistribution of government funds was allowable given the president had declared a national emergency at the border in February.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas ruled in favor of lifting the Gilliam’s injunction. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor supported the lower court’s decision.

Justice Stephen Breyer supported neither side, and proposed a compromise instead, suggesting the court clear the administration’s path in setting up contracts for construction without allowing it to start building anything.

Litigation over the funding will continue; the case will return to an appeals court. In the meantime, the Trump administration will be able to tap into these funds and begin construction on the wall, reports the New York Times.

The ruling followed an emergency filing from the administration at a time when the Supreme Court is typically on summer recess. The filing stated that a decision needed to be reached so that the Trump administration could spend the money it wanted to appropriate before the federal government’s fiscal year ends in September.
Judges were asked to consider whether the executive branch, overseen by the president, can bypass funding decisions made by Congress. Traditionally, Congress has had to approve the appropriation of funds; this role was outlined in Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution, which states: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”

Congress had previously allocated about $1.4 billion in border funding; the administration requested $6.7 billion. To get around this difference, the Trump administration announced plans to use other federal funds for the wall, arguing that the fact the president had declared a national emergency allowed for the appropriation of funds.


What the border wall funding fight is really about. (2019). This article provides details on the parts of the border  wall that Trump wants to fund.

Related — Who Secures the Border (2019)

What is a border wall? (2019). This essay takes a broad look at what can constitute a border wall.

Explaining the controversy over the border wall and the Constitution (2019)

The alarming scope of Trump’s emergency powers (2019)

Pro & Con

National Bureau of Economic Research. (2019).Border Wall. What are the economic impacts of a border wall between the United States and Mexico? We use detailed data on bilateral ows of primarily unauthorized Mexican workers to the United States to estimate how a substantial expansion of the border wall between the United States and Mexico from 2007 to 2010 affected migration. We use these effects to estimate a general equilibrium spatial model featuring multiple labor types and quantify the economic impact of the wall expansion. At a construction cost of approximately $7 per person in the United States, we estimate that the border wall expansion harmed Mexican workers and high-skill U.S. workers, but benefited U.S. low-skill workers, who on average achieved welfare gains equivalent to an increase in per capita income of $0.28 per year.

Pro — Immigration

Court decision gives us a chance to strengthen immigration system (2019)

Pro — Constitutionality

Why Trump’s Emergency Border Wall ins Constitutional (2019)

Why Trump’s border wall emergency is constitutional (2019)

Supreme Court right to rule in Trump’s favor (2019)

Con — General

US Today backgrounder on the border wall 

The high costs and diminishing returns of a border wall (2017)

Why building a border wall is a bad idea (2017)

Con — Immigration

Border wall will worsen the border crisis (2019)

Con — Environment

Border wall is an ecological disaster (2019)

No border wall (2019)

Environmental groups vow to fight on after Supreme Court okays (2019)

Six ways the border wall could disrupt the environment (2019)

Border Wall environment impacts (2019)

How Trump’s border wall could hurt the environment (2019)

Con — Constitution

Why Trump’s border wall emergency is not constitutional (2019)

Trump’s emergency is unlawful and unconstitutional (2019)

A response to the emergency: A Constitutional Crisis (2019)

Con — Racism

Border wall is a monument to racism (2019)


Border Wall @ National Interest