The more the ideas for the border wall with Mexico become concrete, the more problems that emerge. Donald Trump has asked Congress to allocate an initial amount of $1 billion to start work on just 62 miles of his 2,000 mile “big, beautiful wall” that will save the nation from the large bands of marauding undocumented Mexican rapists, murderers, drug dealers, and thieves that are currently roaming the streets of America terrorizing the lawful, god-fearing, peaceful residents.
But as he found with his Muslim immigration ban and Trumpcare, when it comes to government, things don’t happen just because he says so. Getting approval for his request to include the wall costs in with defense spending requires some legislative maneuvering because of the way that budgetary requests are processed.
President Trump wants Congress to add defense funding and money for a new wall along the Mexican border in a near-term spending bill intended to keep the government open past April 28, but Capitol Hill Republicans signaled they will reject the idea to avoid a shutdown as well as the deep cuts that the new spending would require.
Several senior Republicans said Tuesday that Trump’s wall request is not likely to be included in the stopgap budget plan, which would merely authorize current spending levels to continue past April 28 — but instead will be considered during separate negotiations later this year to add new spending to the current budget.
“Congress will decide what they want and what they don’t want,” said Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), one of a half-dozen Republicans engaged in spending negotiations to reject the request. “I don’t think we need a shutdown argument, period. I don’t know any rational person who wants a shutdown.”
But there are other major problems with the wall, not the least of which is the geography.
Roughly half of the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) U.S.-Mexico border is in Texas and marked by the winding and twisting Rio Grande. A 1970 treaty with Mexico requires that anything built near that river not obstruct its flow. The same treaty applies to a stretch of border in Arizona, where the Colorado River marks the international boundary.
Interior secretary Ryan Zinke said that the Rio Grande is going to be a problem.
At the same time, Zinke suggested the wall would not be as big or impassible as the president believes is necessary to stop illegal immigrants.
“The border is complicated, as far as building a physical wall,” he said. “The Rio Grande, what side of the river are you going to put the wall? We’re not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.”
He’s right. Putting the wall north of the river would effectively cede the river to Mexico. Losing access to the Rio Grande would be a huge blow to the Americans who live near the river. So if the wall is not going to be on the US side or in the middle of the river, then is it going to be built south of the river and thus within Mexico? That is even less likely to happen than Mexico paying for the wall.
No doubt all the strategic geniuses in the Trump administration are working hard to come up with a solution to this problem. Trump may give it to his son-in-law Jared Kushner to solve, in addition to his roles in completely transforming the federal bureaucracy, bringing peace to the Middle East, streamlining Veterans Affairs, and solving the opioid crisis. Is there nothing that that man cannot do?