President Trump, Build That Wall!

I love the Wall Street Journal, except when it covers issues related to immigration. On this topic, the Journal is myopic, toeing the line pushed by the "mainstream media" that controlling immigration is wrong.

There are economic arguments for immigration and we allow immigration now. What Trump and his supporters are against are illegal or unvetted immigrants, and what they are for is following the law. It is hard to believe that following the law would be so contentious or controversial.

I don't know if this slant in the WSJ was from a memo sent out years ago by Rupert Murdoch, or if there was a litmus test when hiring staff, but I have yet to see a credible defense of Trump's immigration agenda in the Journal despite Trump's win. It is a bit shocking but I guess nothing is perfect.

So let me fill in the blanks for those who somehow think Trump's ideas are outside what voters want, or those who feel that mainstream conservative values are accurately reflected in the editorial pages of the WSJ.

Congress makes immigration laws. If the public debate about legal immigration concludes that we need or want more immigrants, we just raise the number and they will come. I have no problem with Congress studying the current laws and making a decision to allow more people to emigrate. I can't tell you what the number is or should be, because I have not studied it. So the debate has little or nothing to do with the number of legal immigrants.

But what I do know is that people who are here illegally should be deported. That is because we have a quota and a wait list, and jumping the line is not, and should not be, allowed. That is what the rule of law says and I support it.

Following the law is not always convenient, but there is a mechanism for changing the law. Those who want more legal immigration should pursue that option through their elected representatives.

So let's set aside this "red herring" attack on Trump and his supporters that they are "anti-immigrant." They are anti-ILLEGAL-immigrant.

The wall would prevent a lot of illegal immigrants. It also prevents a lot of drug running and the potential for terrorists to exploit a weakness in our border security. A wall will not completely stop the problem of illegal immigration but it will mostly stop it. And more importantly, it will prevent some future influx that is always possible and not predictable. In other words, calculations on the number of recent border crossings are irrelevant. The waves come and go and predictions of next year's illegal crossings or estimates of last year's are not part of the rationale for why we need to build a wall.

Some illegal immigrants travel here as tourists and just don't leave. These people want to live here but don't want to emigrate legally. There is a simple solution for this group: if you remain in the country illegally, say 30 days past your departure date, then you will be deported, and will be denied future entry into the U.S. In other words, one strike and you are out. People who fly here and then try to stay will never get back in, not when they are put on our "do not enter" list, and not when our border is truly secure with a wall.

As far as paying for the wall is concerned, this is another big, fat, red herring. The wall will pay for itself with a simple calculation that many millions of people do every single day, and that is the savings calculation. The cost of illegal immigration is tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Reducing illegal immigration by a factor of ten or 100 would save us future costs which we will definitely have to pay if we don't fix this problem. So while eliminating illegal immigration will not generate new revenue, it will reduce future costs, which is the same thing. Heck, I'd bet that we could reduce the amount of money we spend on border patrols once we have a secure wall and over 20 or 30 years, that alone would pay for the wall. Or maybe we spend less on drug enforcement once we substantially curtail the flow of illegal drugs. But if neither calculation is enough, just throw in free medical care for illegal aliens, or free welfare benefits, or free schooling for their children.

But even if there were no future cost savings, we should still do it. There are lots of reasons why we need a secure border and this is just a cost of being a nation. And if we are to be a nation, we should be a nation of laws. That is what sets us apart from most of the rest of the world, and one of the reasons why so many people want to come here.

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For those that think the wall

For those that think the wall won't work.. Ask Kim Il Jong for some pointers... His works We have to make it safe for everybody in their own homes. Who doesn't want to go Home
Digital Video activist


Since you said wall you must be saying most immigrants, illegal ones, come from Mexico. Well no you are not saying that. You are not even saying a large number of illegal immigrants come through Mexico to the US. But I wander.

There is always someone who points to a brass plaque in the Staue of Liberty and says we are a nation of immigrants. Maybe. My kin were prisoners and cheap exploited labor. They came before the plaque and with the plaque. They all came before the Mr. Ted had the family reunification bill passed. Back then family meant nuclear family. It has become a bad law. President Trump is right to gut it as well as the lottery.

The lottery is Nancy Pelosi's way of saying that white people better be sorry.

Either we are a nation, a concept largely defined by who is a citizen, or we are not. I want us to be. I also think that Europe is ok being, well, European. I am too tired of the rhetoric for immigration knowing no difference between France and the US. I hope we normalize our immigration laws to be more in line with a stable society that asks no questions about race or creed but quizzes incessantly on what can you do for this country.
This Name

Wall is the wrong solution


The intent of my note was to point out the numerous incorrect views that were expressed in your post.

The illegal immigrant issue is complex and attempting to deal with it by applying simple-minded solutions will just get us a bigger mess. For example: building a wall will not accomplish very much, particularly since the vast majority of the illegal immigrants came here legally and just overstayed.

You appear to want to ignore the fact that big business very much likes illegal immigrants. I also am a fan of the WSJ and have been a subscriber for a couple of decades. Your moralistic views on the behavior of the WSJ ignore its basic role as a supporter of big business. You appear to be naively expecting behavior from the WSJ that is inappropriate. They are a business that supports a very specific customer base.

You should recall that GWB was also a strong supporter of immigration reform, but was unable to get legislation passed.

In my note, I don’t state my position, so your views re what I believe is just more uninformed speculation.

Have you ever actually met an illegal immigrant? The way that you characterize them as criminals would suggest that you have not. The vast majority of the ones in Massachusetts are from places like Brazil or Asia, who probably did not come here via Mexico.

Yes – we need to reform our immigration policies and deal with illegal immigrants. It should be done in a manner that truly improves things and not as a racist, hate-filled effort.


Walt Tetschner

Wall is good solution for future


You say that the wall won't work because most illegals come here by other means. But once someone is deported, can they get back in? If there is a way for them to cross the border, they could return that way. So the wall prevents future illegal immigrants even if many do not currently enter that way.

That assumes your "fact" is true, which it it appears not to be. According to Wikipedia, in 2012, 52% of illegals were from Mexico, 21% from Central and South America, and only 12% from Asia. I'm sure the Asians didn't swim over but I would bet a lot more walked across the southern border than you think, and that assumes we can actually know how many illegals there are in the country, which we can't. The estimate is 11 million but it could be much more. But Wikipedia quotes the Pew center's estimate that more than half crossed the border illegally.

Your comments about the WSJ are similarly misinformed. The WSJ is not just "a business," they are journalists. They are supposed to be promoting articles and opinions under accepted journalistic standards. You might think you know their motivations but that is just your speculation. Your strong belief is not proof.

What motivates them has nothing to do with the core of my article, but it was one of the things that got me thinking about the issue.

You said that your response did not state your opinion. This is a strange argument, but fine. If I misstated your views, whatever they are, my apologies.

Finally, your reference at the end to racism and hate-filled efforts is totally inappropriate. Are you calling me a racist or saying that the views I have suggested make me a racist? If not, then your reference is illogical and meant to be demeaning to me and those who share my views. Such arguments are often used by those on the Left and it is a shameful tactic.


Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.

Correcting your comments on illegals

The WSJ is opposed to actions that restrict illegal immigration for a simple and obvious reason: Our present illegal immigration situation is good for business.

The overall effect of illegal immigration has been an increase in the supply of low-skilled workers in the U.S. relative to high skilled workers. This change in supply has contributed to the decline of wages of less educated groups.

Big business interests want cheap labor but do not want workers to have rights. So they whip up scare stories about immigrant “rapists” and “drug dealers” and Muslim “terrorists”. This works to the detriment not only of immigrants but of all workers in the United States.

Your argument about the “cost” of illegal immigration suggests that you have bought into the big business Illegal immigrant story. Reality is that they cost much less and contribute much more than many of the folks that voted for Trump do.

The illegal immigrants that I’ve had/have dealings are hard-working that are enthusiastic about painting my house or cutting my grass during the day and willing to work another job at night.

The motivation for President Trump to beat up the illegals was to appeal to the low end workers with the message that they were taking away jobs. The reality is that the illegals are doing jobs that American workers don’t want to do. Trump’s businesses have been (and continue to be) heavy users of illegal immigrants.

Walt Tetschner

Overlooking illegal acts

Hi Walt,

First, thanks for your comments. They are well thought out, but not persuasive to me.

The Wall Street Journal does not (or should not) be supporting public policy based on such a myopic view as you propose, namely that illegal immigration suppresses wages and provides needed low-skilled labor. That might be acceptable for an organization like, say, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I don't think Rupert Murdoch is motivated personally by low-cost labor, but who knows. In any case, we may never know the reasons for the WSJ's support.

You are evidently willing to overlook the fact that these illegals broke the law because they also benefit our society in some ways. So the "end justifies the means?" If that is your argument, we have lost the rule of law in this country. We shouldn't excuse millions of illegal acts (crimes) because someone can make the argument that we benefit (or some benefit).

I should point out that these crimes are almost always premeditated, not accidents. That makes a difference in my mind, and the only reason I'd have some more flexibility with "dreamers," who at least have the possible excuse that they were minors.

As far as the actual benefit, I'm sure it's a very complicated and subjective analysis, but as I concluded, I don't really care if the cost savings are zero. Now let me ask you a question. You also seem to be arguing both sides of the coin, or maybe you are leaving out something big and important. If these illegals are all working off the books, two jobs, minimum wage, etc., wouldn't you call that textbook exploitation? And if that is so, why wouldn't you want them to be deported so they can go back to their own countries and America has to stop this vast exploitation?

You seem to be arguing that we should keep them here so we can keep exploiting them. Or are you arguing that these "benefits to our society" are going to have to stop but we should also keep them here? You can't have it both ways.

Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.

Walled in

I too am all for thwarting illegal immigration, and securing the border is key to this goal. But much of the illegal cross-border traffic appears to come through tunnels, which an above-ground wall will not stop. If a wall it must be, then do it like Israel and built is going miles into the ground :-)

There are a lot of other simpler actions that can be taken first to make it harder to justify living here illegally. One is to stop issuing driver licenses and bank accounts if you cannot prove legal status. The other is to block international money transfers that do not pass the legal resident test. All of these would simply enforce existing rules, and not cost $25 billion.

One final point: the president is going after legal immigration as well. I read a great news report in which the journalist has investigated the immigrant roots of various lawmakers who have vehemently oppose various legal immigration channels. The hypocrisy is at once hilarious and nauseating.

For a country formed and founded by immigrants, the rhetoric sure is deafening!

Dealing with illegals

I agree that if there are tunnels in which people can cross the border, they should be shut down. I assume these were built for drug runners.

There is really no inexpensive way of fixing this problem that doesn’t include a wall. Your suggestion that we just make it less pleasant and harder for these people will likely do nothing in the short term to stem the flow and it could have devastating consequences in the medium term as illegals might have to turn to crime or the black market to survive.

President Trump’s thoughts or plans on what to do about legal immigration are irrelevant to having this country follow the rule of law. In addition, any of our legislators can propose changes to our laws. The President does not make the laws!

Allen Nitschelm has lived in Acton since 1998 and writes about fiscal issues at the
local and state level. He is a former member of the town's Finance Committee
and is an Associate Publisher of Acton Forum.