As we all know, Donald Trump wants to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. And, while the idea seems absolutely ridiculous to most people, Trump is actually very serious about it.
So on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, instead of mocking or dismissing it, Oliver decided to take a serious look at ‘a serious proposal by a serious presidential candidate’.
Here is everything that’s wrong with the idea, according to Oliver:
Trump has estimated that the wall will cost anywhere from $4 billion (about £2.7bn) to $12 billion (just over £8bn). But, according to The Washington Post, experts have estimated the cost would be closer to $25 billion (just over £17 billion).
And, while Trump insists Mexico will pay for the wall, there is literally no evidence for that. Mexicans have actually flat out rejected the idea (and rightly so).
More than that, Oliver said ‘The Congressional Budget Office estimates that wall maintenance costs will exceed the initial construction costs within seven years’, and called it ‘a big, dumb thing that only gets more expensive over time’ and compared it to getting a pet walrus.
He said: “You think it’s stupid now. Wait until you learn what a bucket of sea cucumbers costs. You’re not prepared for that!”
Where would the wall go? It’s a more difficult answer than some would think.
In 2006, a similar situation occurred when George W Bush signed the Secure Fence Act for the construction of 700 miles of fencing along the border. It caused a lot of problems.
Large parts of the border are made up of the Rio Grande river, and the wall can’t be built to obstruct the flow of the river, per a 1970 treaty.
As a consequence, big parts of the border fence approved were built inland, sometimes actually blocking off U.S. territory. The Guardian called it a ‘costly logistical nightmare’.
Oliver said: “Trump might well argue that having a wall is worth all of this because it will act as a fortress to stop people and drugs flowing across the border.”
However, the most recent report says ‘nearly half of all the unauthorized migrants now living in the United States entered the country legally through a port of entry such as an airport or a border crossing point where they were subject to inspection by immigration officials” – and then they stayed illegally.
Basically, as Oliver puts it, a wall wouldn’t stop them.
Instead, he said buying a $75 electric waffle iron for every American would be a better use of the money than building a wall.
I don’t think I’m alone in saying that is a much better idea.