Editorial: Trump’s wall

Laiken Jordahl Photo: Laiken Jordahl, who’s with the Center for Biological Diversity of Tucson, shared pictures of saguaros that have been felled at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument near Ajo.

Column By Mike Bibb

During a recent journey to Puerto Penasco – aka Rocky Point – Sonora, Mexico, I had visions of thousands of Central American immigrants charging towards our southern border.  Men, women, children, dogs, cats, chickens, and everything else that walk and crawl were surely about to overwhelm the small U.S. Border Patrol staff at Lukeville, AZ, a port of entry located about 30 miles south of Ajo, Arizona.

Upon approaching the port from the north – the U.S. side – I could easily see the newly constructed 30-foot high steel barrier separating the two countries.   It stretched for miles in both an easterly and westerly direction, eventually fading from view. 

The Port of Entry at Lukeville is an operation of the U.S. Border Patrol Customs and Protections, a federal law enforcement arm within the Department of Homeland Security.  Lukeville is the Arizona division point between the BP’s Tucson and Yuma sectors. 

However, unlike Tucson or Yuma, it has not been exposed to the waves of illegal border crossers, mainly due to its geographical location.  Lukeville and Sonoyta are not situated along a major highway system heading north/south within Mexico.  Plus, it sits within the Sonoran Desert, whose summers can produce furnace-like temperatures; a natural obstacle in itself. 

When reentering the U.S. and being processed through the port, I inquired of one of the port officers if any kind of work was being conducted on the wall.  There were ample amounts of material and equipment contained within a nearby construction yard.

Photo By Mike Bibb: Trump’s wall climbing the hill between the two-saguaro cacti is located along the US/Mexico border, about 30 miles south of Ajo, Arizona.

“I don’t think so.  Looks like they’re packing up” was all he said.  Which indicated to me one of two things – either that particular segment of the wall had been completed or work had been intentionally stopped by Washington.

Like many things involving political give-and-take, it’s the ordinary folks who often benefit or suffer from the inconsistencies of partisan rancor.  One side of the congressional aisle vehemently supports a certain piece of legislation, while the other side is just as obstinate in its opposition.  When compromise fails, a president can intervene with an executive order. 

This is exactly what happened in this case.  President Joe Biden issued an executive order halting work on the wall, leaving contractors, workers, suppliers, and anyone else associated with the project in a lurch.  In much the same manner when he ceased further work on the Keystone Oil Pipeline. 

In an era of instant communications, news travels fast.  Once the word was out the southern border of the United States was virtually wide open, anyone who wanted to could cross into America with few restrictions.  

The flood of Undocumented Aliens (UDAs) has become overwhelming.  Apprehensions are down dramatically while BP Officers tend to more domestic issues.  Presently, detention facilities are filled beyond capacity, resulting in near-instant releases into our society,

As a consequence, our peace and safety have been compromised by a president who still refuses to visit the southern border and a vice president who shares similar sentiments. 

For a guy who promised to bring healing, transparency, and unity to a divided nation, he sure has a funny way of showing it.

Editor’s Note: The Trump administration erected 452 miles of border fencing, however, only 80 miles of fencing was constructed where there were none before, including 47 miles of primary fencing and 33 miles of secondary fencing built to reinforce the initial barrier. That means the majority of the 452 miles replaced existing structures built by previous administrations. The mostly bollard fencing varies between 18 to 30 feet in height and cost $15 billion to erect.