It has been an interesting couple of weeks for local politics in the state of North Dakota. We have had no less than three comically bizarre laws covered by The Dakota Student, and I could have easily covered a fourth one this issue. But with the recent announcements of Donald Trump’s infamous border wall, there ismore to write about.
With the fulfillment of his immigration policy plans, I feel that now is as good a time as any to discuss the crucial issue that helped our new president get elected and the series of both fulfilled, and broken campaign promises that have come with it.
Like it or not, the border wall was a huge part of President Trump’s platform, and true to his word, he began the process of building the wall almost immediately. Additionally, he has already signed an executive order barring the entry of any person visiting the United States of America from countries recognized as state sponsors of terrorism, for any reason.
Furthermore, he attempted to bar those already with visas or in the process of traveling from these regions back into the country, but the courts blocked this as a result of a lawsuit from the ACLU, among other organizations.
The last part of his campaign promises in regards to securing our borders from potential terrorists from the Middle East, Trump has created a 120 day ban on all refugees entering the U.S. from several countries including Syria and Iran, until such a time that the federal government can determine their safety risk and screen these individuals for potential ties to terror groups.
As a result, Trump supporters can be proud that their chosen candidate has at the very least delivered on three campaign promises in less than a month in office.
While the courts may strike down provisions of Trump’s executive orders, the reason such laws may not be implemented, is not due to a lack of trying by Trump, but rather the natural checks and balances of our legal system.
On the other hand, Trump has failed in at least one area when it comes to wall, in terms of implementation. Trump originally promised rather famously on the campaign trail, that U.S. businesses and American’s would not be paying for the border wall, but rather the nation of Mexico would be the ones to pay for it. Trump was immediately attacked by both the mainstream media and people with a shard of common sense asking “Why would Mexico pay for something that makes life more difficult for Mexico?” and his response was essentially that being a great negotiator he would make Mexico pay for the wall.
As of today, his plan for financing the wall is through tariffs levied against Mexican goods as they enter the United States of America, which does not constitute Mexico paying for the wall, rather the average American.
Tariffs are essentially a value added tax on goods, which makes them more expensive in order to protect national interests, meaning that corporations which sell goods from the affected regions are forced to either raise their prices or take the financial hit associated with the artificially increased cost.
As a result, almost all businesses will choose to raise their prices, and the person who ultimately ends up paying for the wall is the consumer of these goods.
Many people on sites such as Facebook have responded they will no longer buy goods from Mexico, which creates the second problem of tariffs, they only generate revenue if you are actually buying the goods. Should the millions of people stay true to their claims, then Mexican goods will no longer be shipped to the U.S., and therefore not taxed through the tariff system. This means that invariably revenue will go down from the tariffs, and U.S. citizens will be forced to find an alternative way to finance the border wall, which will either come from existing tax revenue or borrowing money from foreign powers to finance the project. Like it or not, Mexico will never be paying for the wall. Rather the American families and businesses will, as always, end up paying for U.S. government actions.
In conclusion, our evaluation of Trump’s fulfillment of his promises is that he has been mostly true to the American people, but whether or not his implementation will stand the test of time or be financed the way it was promised, I am far more skeptical.
At the very least if you were only concerned with the actions Trump promised to take, he has lived up to every single campaign promise on border security, but I strongly doubt his ban on travel will pass constitutional tests, or that Mexico will ever pay for our wall. The cruel realities of the Trump campaign was that every single thing he promised will prove to be impossible, but it won’t be from lack of trying.
Dave Owen is an opinion writer for the The Dakota Student, he can be reached at [email protected]