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Journey To Aztlan: Chris Trotter on why the Democrats should let Trump build his wall

Journey To Aztlan: Chris Trotter on why the Democrats should let Trump build his wall

By Chris Trotter*

It all looks so ridiculous. From the rest of the world’s perspective the current partial shutdown of the US Federal Government – over a Mexican “border wall” – piles irresponsibility upon absurdity. It was President Richard Nixon who, in 1970, warned against allowing America to become “a pitiful, helpless giant”. Nearly fifty years later that giant, the world’s “indispensable nation”, seems to be sliding into dementia.

One of the most tragic aspects of dementia is the sufferer’s loss of memory. Adrift in the fog of an eternal present, all awareness of where one has come and where one is going evaporates. Such would appear, from the rest of the world’s perspective, to be the most apt diagnosis of the present difficulties confronting President Donald Trump’s America.

The rest of the world (and a great many of America’s own citizens) would, however, be wrong. The problems besetting the United States are not the result of its people having too little awareness of the past and the future, but too much.

Where to begin?

Why not in San Diego, Texas, 1915 with a collection of jailed Mexican revolutionaries? Together, they conceived a plan to reconquer the Mexican territories ceded to the United States in 1848 (after two years of war) by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. They were seeking to recover Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico, along with vast additional chunks of the American South-West. In what would become known as the Plan of San Diego, these revolutionaries plotted to enlist Mexican-, African- and Native-Americans in their bloodthirsty reconquista. In the process of establishing their new “Republic of the North”, every white American male aged between 16 and 60 was to be killed.


Not really. Between 1910 and 1920 not only was Mexican society convulsed by revolutionary upheavals, but so, too, was the relationship between Mexico and the United States. All along the Rio Grande, incursions, raids, skirmishes – sometimes escalating into pitched battles – pitted revolutionary militias against local ranchers, the Texas Rangers and, ultimately, the armed forces of United States. These events (which provide the backdrop to the Netflix series “The Son”) became known as “The Border War”, in the course of which sizeable contingents of American troops twice invaded and occupied Mexican territory. The second of these incursions followed a cross-border raid by the revolutionary leader, Pancho Villa, whose forces attacked and burned the New Mexican town of Columbus on 9 March 1916.

This is the context in which the infamous “Zimmerman Telegram” was secretly cabled to the Mexican Government by the German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman. In it the German Government offered to help the Mexican Republic reclaim its lost territories in the US South-West – but only if it agreed keep the American army pinned down on the USA’s southern border and, consequentially, out of Europe. It was the Zimmerman Telegram (helpfully decoded and forwarded to Washington by British military cryptologists) which finally persuaded President Woodrow Wilson to bring the USA into World War I alongside the Allied Powers.

Clearly, the Mexican-American border is about a great deal more than illegal immigrants and drug cartels. Americans living on the eastern and western coasts of the United States may possess only the haziest memories of high-school history lessons about the Mexican-American War. But, for middle-aged Americans living in Texas and New Mexico, the Border War was a vivid feature of their grandparents’ youth.

Pancho Villa’s raids and their aftermath were concurrent with Gallipoli, the Somme and Passchendaele. One hundred years later, we still remember them. It is, therefore, fanciful to believe that either Texan whites or their brown compatriots have forgotten the Border War. Not when upwards of 300 Mexican-Americans were lynched by enraged white vigilantes as US authority was steadily reimposed along the border.

The story does not end there.

In 1969, as civil-rights activism was peaking in the United States, young Hispanic Americans (who then referred to themselves as Chicanos) reinvigorated the reconquista dream by appropriating to their cause the symbolic power of the origin myth of Aztec civilisation. By equating the territories lost to the United States with the legendary home of the Aztecs – “Aztlan” – the purveyors of Chicano nationalism were able to infuse their “anti-imperialist” struggle with the potent legacy of indigenous America’s pre-European cultural achievements.

Aztlan may have faded from the memory of contemporary Hispanic Americans who daily face a raft of much more urgent demands on their attention. For those right-wing white Americans who see themselves as the beleaguered victims of adverse demographic trends, however, Aztlan has taken on the character of a looming, existential threat.

Their fear is not that some twenty-first century equivalent of Pancho Villa will come roaring across the border hell-bent on razing El Paso or Santa Fe. (Although, the near panic generated by the “caravan” of Central-American migrants wending its way north towards the Rio Grande does makes you wonder!) The great concern of the Right is that the birth-rate of Hispanic Americans greatly exceeds that of Whites. Unless the “flood” of migrants from the south is checked, Aztlan will be brought into existence not by bullets – but babies!

Thus was the nationalist rhetoric of Chicano radicals: rhetoric directed at the white supremacist assumptions of the border state governments of the 1960s; transmuted into the prime-time gold of right-wing Anglo paranoia. It was no less a luminary than CNN’s Lou Dobbs who made Aztlan known to “mainstream” America. In an impressive piece of political conjuring, Dobbs (now working for Fox News) took this colourful example of radical sixties romanticism and reassembled it into a frightening conspiracy theory in which the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is undone by the children of millions of illegal immigrants, and the US-Mexican border advances all the way to the Mississippi. It should come as no surprise that Dobbs is one of people President Trump listens to most attentively.

Donald Trump’s border wall is, thus, very far from being the political obsession of an eccentric New York billionaire. The idea of constructing a substantial physical barrier along the entire length of the Mexican-American border is not a new one. Though Nancy Pelosi may not know it, the idea found favour with President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) who was, according to the history books, a “progressive” Democrat.

A historically literate American Left would not have chosen this particular ditch to die in. Though he may not mention Aztlan, or the Border War, or Pancho Villa, President Trump knows very well how the Anglos of the American South-West feel about the border with Mexico. How it large it looms as a constant and deeply worrying reminder of the fragile historical contingency of the United States “manifest destiny”.

If the Democrats were smart, they would let the President build his wall.

*Chris Trotter has been writing and commenting professionally about New Zealand politics for more than 30 years. His work may be found at He writes a fortnightly column for

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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I'm not even sure it's 'his' wall! The Wall has been around for decades; under both parties watches, and if The Wall is anybody's today - it's The Peoples. They voted Trump in on a platform of "Build that Wall!" and they are entitled to get what they voted for - aren't they?

I'm not sure it works that way under their two house system. I seem to recall the Republicans blocking many policies that Obama campaigned on too.
Realistically it is a pretty far right policy and the only chance he had was when the Republicans ran both houses. That would have been the time to do it, the fact he didn't implies that the Republican's weren't keen on it either.

Yes most seem to have missed that point

Let's be honest he campaigned on Mexico paying for a wall. Which they never will, and his new trade deals won't pay for them either. Yes both sides have had their own border security rallies over the years, and this isn't any different. Both sides are still all for challenging illegal immigration, they just want to tackle it vastly different ways while also holding the President to account for shutting down the government while seeking money for something he campaigned was going to cost the American people nothing.

Whats Mexico achieved ?
Raised significantly the numbers of hispanics in the US today & growing ever larger
Been to California lately ? It’s demographic has changed vastly
Forget a wall Mexico has achieved more by demographic change in the USA
Laughable watching Trump talk to Mexican born border guards !
Go check out modern day LVegas with Hispanics not only doing most of the work but in senior management rolls too
Happy New Year Kiwis

a physical wall is technically obsolete. Advances in cameras , drones and other surveillance systems makes it so. I think the most telling thing to come out of the weekend was the border agents showing Trump picture of tunnels under the existing wall.
The challenge for whoever forms the next USA govt is to get back to the middle. The Usa can't afford another term of divided govt, and unrest .

True you only need to fly drones on regular sorties up & down the boarder and fire a few Hellfire missiles at groups of running Mexicans and I think they will stop trying to cross the boarder pretty quickly.

No. A physical wall takes time to breach, forces a greater investment in equipment and/or fragile/disruptable organisation to breach, and gives guards and security systems more time to identify and respond to a breach - so less guards per km - and ongoing labour is the expensive part, not wall building.

Electronic based surveillance 'barriers' can be ignored or overwhelmed by large organised breaches, trucks or campaigns of sabotage (snipers with $1 bullets destroying $5000 sensors is bad economics). You can't use minefields or automated guns to kill illegals and attempting to catch motivated, potentially armed, fleeing people without harm in the desert is dangerous for everyone involved and very labour intensive.

A couple of electric grinders and a 1k.w generator will get you through a steel slat wall in 15 minutes. Maybe $ 500 worth of equipment for people been paid 10 k a person to get illegals through .
A wall makes sense near urban areas , where once through illegals can mingle into the crowd. But most of the border is hot dusty desert, with no real reason for anyone to be there. Getting across the border is just the start, then they have to get to populated areas , or stick out like , well , Aliens . Any road within 200 miles of the border has frequent immigration stops, Anyone found in the desert anywhere near the border will be questioned.

8 inch petrol powered grinder (aka widowmaker) would be easier.

a physical wall is technically obsolete.

That's not true at all as there are numerous examples around the world of walls working quite effectively. A double wall would be really effective as once they breach the first wall, triggering alarm systems they still need to spend time breaching the second wall. If you are trapped in between the walls you are very vulnerable. It is a common military tactic to guide the target into a "kill zone" using various levels of defensive systems.

The challenge for whoever forms the next USA govt is to get back to the middle.

The trouble is what is considered "middle" now was once the "left" of yesterday. Left and right are deliberately confusing terms. Are Jeb Bush and Romney "right" or "middle"? It's not about left, right and middle anyway, it should be about protecting the privileges and well being of all citizens and being seen to do so. I prefer the term privilege to freedom. I'd rather they say they want to protect my privilege (such as exclusive rights of citizenship) than protect my freedom which is rather nebulous.

The wall is a symbol more than anything pitting those Americans who want a closed or open country against one another. Combined with the disdain between Dems and Trumps it has turned into a giant pissing contest and the first to blink will be the loser.

Interesting historical summary but what about:
- the fact the cost won't be "only" $5 billion - it will be another bankrupting $50 billion Halliburton boondoggle like the so-called reconstruction of Iraq
- the fact Trump has had 2 years to build his wall with control of the House and he failed to do so
- the Mexicans were supposed to pay for it
- it fails to address the real flaws in US immigration rules regarding over-stayers & work permit abuse
- it is completely useless against migration via the Gulf of Mexico / into Florida
- most importantly it represents a reactionary / populist response to an imagined "threat" to the US - just like all the other threats & fears that have eroded freedom and social justice in the US over the last 40 years (the War on Terror, the Patriot Act, government surveillance, fear of UN helicopters, obsessive gun rights).

For all their faults - why should the Dems concede to this symbol of US global retrenchment and stupidity?

Why? Because as this article suggests, it's just not that important! It's about a weeks worth of interest on the US Government debt that we are talking about. There are far more important issues to be addressed than The Wall, and if the Democrats have done one thing badly, it's that they've escalated The Wall to a standoff that only everyday Americans will lose.
If one thing comes out of this, and it's a refreshed Democrat Party, absent the numpties that are 'running' it today, then perhaps it will have been worth it. That, might be the only reason to support this childishness on their part.

Democrats (Socialists) and smart are impossible to exist in the form of the current incumbents and Chris to his credit seems to be increasingly recognizing this, the left need a great reset if they are to be an viable force in the future and to a lesser extent the right also need a reset to satisfy the population at large with policies and systems that allow the accretion of wealth through work & creativity but constrain the abuse by individuals and corporates in monopolizing their interests.

Reminiscent of his Obamacare "repeal and replace on day one!" shenanigans. Still waiting.

Seems to have completely dropped off the radar like addressing the housing crisis / improving NZ's productivity did for John Key.

Intriguing article to view the historical context, and I suspect more than a little tongue in cheek. Never the less i am surprised at CT's final comment in a modern world where I firmly believe we should be moving towards a unified world with common values rather than entrenched separatism. Trumps "wall" campaign highlights the total failure of the United Nations to live up to the ideology that led to it, and the ongoing opportunities that it supposedly represents.

The "wall" represents an attitude of entrenched political and ideological differences that throughout human history has led to literally the slaughter of untold millions. Trump's attitude proves that there are many in the world who have attained leadership positions, but who have cleary not progressed beyond the neanderthal stage of development. They pose a threat to the whole world not just their own, as any conflagration they ignite could easily explode to engulf the whole world. With in recent living history we have several examples to highlight these dangers. For NZ maintain neutrality and staying out of such a situation could become very difficult and costly.


Given a chance there are several billion people in the world who would move to a western country to take advantage of the higher standard of living. A huge number of them have religious and cultural beliefs that are antithetical to western values (misogynistic, theocratic, not respectful of rule of law), and are unwilling to change.

We can only fix the problems of the 3rd world in the 3rd world. We can't fix their problems by bringing <1% of them to live in the west - in fact probably the worst thing we can do is take the best and brightest as we do now robbing them of talent to improve things. We also can't have open borders and hope to maintain the engine for global human welfare advancement that the west is - it would rapidly ruin us financially.

Bringing refugees into the west is the worst sort of virtue signalling - wasting vast sums on the appearance of addressing the problem without actually addressing the problem in any significant way. I have seen it estimated that each African/middle eastern adult refugee bought to the west imposes an average cost of about $0.5-1million over their lifetime in welfare, health, housing, higher criminality and other costs arising from inability/unwillingness to integrate. A very high proportion remain on welfare forever. That same money spent in their home countries addressing the problems they are trying to escape can save orders of magnitude more people.

Fix their governments so that their citizens aren't forced to flee (I believe by force if necessary - jail or murder despots and thugs wherever you find them), give them a safe environment with the rule of law and reduce their fertility to below replacement and the refugee problems and wars will end.

Agree totally. Your last paragraph sums up the failure of the UN that i refer to. The Veto power is one of the major problems in the UN, but then those with it will never let it be removed. Should the majority start again?

I'm not sure about the generalisation that they are not respectful of rule of law. I doubt those cultures make up a very big proportion of our prison population for example.

obviously not all, but if you come from a country where there is endemic corruption and forces of law and order are not necessarily on the side of good then that colours your thinking likely for a lifetime. Annecdotally a lot of the corruption and crimes of exploitation that we do get in NZ comes from recent 3rd world immigrants. (Though our racially aligned NZ grown gangs are worse, we don't have a choice about hosting them). And then there are the majority of Muslims who as a matter of faith will put Sharia ahead of western laws.

We have already done this, the last 30 years have had the biggest advances in developing world standards of living and wealth.

The point I hint at and I believe that Foyle tries to expand on is that refugee problems are usually rooted in the standard of Government, and turmoil that results from that in a region. Refugess are fleeing from political oppression, war, economic collapse and so on. All are generally driven by the local Government, with the occasional invasion happening to confuse the mix. But even then this will be driven by politics.

The United Nations should and could establish an ideal standard of Government, perhaps even hingeing membership on it. There could be some clear benefits for meeting a minimum standard. The article identified the other day that in a Democracy index there were only 20 true democracies in the world. One must ask why only 20? And what can be done about it? I noted that the US is identified as a "flawed democracy", and I suggest the consequences of that are reasonably clear, not only internally, but externally as well.

I am not sure that NZ is very far off being a 'flawed democracy', as our politicians seem to be more and more blatant about putting self interest ahead of doing their job. However a clear definition of what a 'Good Democratic Government' standard would be may actually help move more in that direction, and lift more people out of being oppressed, one way or another. This doesn't need to be an ideological document, as Venezuela demonstrates the problems with socialism, and the US the problems with being to far to the right. So any standard should chart a central path.

Here is the link to the democracy rating murray86 is referring to:


A nation needs to protect it's border. We find it hard enough in New Zealand, and we don't even have land borders.
There is a rising recognition that globalisation has serves the elite. The narrative that a nation should not control it's own destiny is fast becoming a hollow narrative.

Should control. Not "not"

The USA is imploding and Trump and the wall are just minor symptoms. It's a much bigger problem because their politics are dysfunctional and for many years they have been unable to solve any political problem.
What's next ? There are even suggestions of a coup against Trump. You might cheer that one for a half hour, but I believe you would then face a hundred years of horror.


Re your 2 above comments I agree that nations have the right to protect their borders and that the wall is symptomatic of the current dysfunction in US politics.

That said, the wall can only serve to advance the onset of banana republic-style government and dysfunction in the US. The wall serves no useful purpose, it will become a money pit, and it allows politicians like Trump to distract people with imagined "wins" against imagined "threats" while the real turmoil continues to bubble below the surface. All race-based "us versus them" policies are a sure sign of threats to freedom and justice.

The real issues that both the Dems & Repubs fail to address (or choose to ignore) are globalisation resulting in unemployed American workers/erosion of the middle class, declining educational standards, debt burden at a federal level, bloated military spending at the expense of investment in infrastructure and excessive influence of the 1% and their lobby groups to keep things from ever changing.

Hi Larry. I agree thoroughly with your third paragraph and there is a need to address the globalisation issue. I do have trouble with the depiction of any action about that as racist. It's a very common response. The racist card is played far too often, erroneously in my view, because I guess it is a very powerful card. So it stops necessary action.

'Addressing' globalisation isn't racist. But most of the parties that advocate for it are. Didn't Trump call Mexican's rapists and terrorists? I would consider that racist...

"globalisation resulting in unemployed American workers": their unemployment rate is 4%.

OK, under-employed then.

Plenty of expert commentary here from the likes of John Mauldin highlighting low wage growth, declining educational achievement, drug abuse by the traditional working classes and low value service industries replacing engineering/manufacturing etc.

Looking at 1 quarter of official US employment figures does not conceal a trend towards de-industrialisation and lower standards of living for larger segments of the population in the US and elsewhere.

But what is the solution? The hollowed out middle class were probably once in reasonably high technology work; not many countries could build reasonable cars etc. Now it is considered low technology work - so the wages are a lot lower and the automation and off shoring is a lot higher.
Sure you can try and fix this with tariffs etc - but what you are then doing is risking your high technology trade (the stuff that makes a country rich) to provide more low technology jobs (the stuff that makes a country poor). It seems like a very stupid option to me.
The real fix is to get those workers back into a reasonably high technology field. But that would probably require education and relocation, and I doubt that would be as popular as the simplistic tariff approach. So basically America is screwed IMO.

The percentage of working age Americans in the working force hasn't fared so well.


Maybe it's just semantics!

"Just over half of Democrats in the Senate voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush, including then-Sens. Barack Obama, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton.
The law authorized a fence along about 700 miles of the border between the U.S.-Mexico border. By 2015, U.S. Customs and Border Protection had constructed 654 miles of fencing, the Government Accountability Office reported."

Watched an interview on Friday with a former Border Patrol Chief who was hired by Obama and sacked by Trump.He said the wall was needed.He said that technology and more staff alone wouldn't solve the problem.He was 100% behind Trump and added that Politicians have been speaking about border problems for 30 years.Name was Mark Morgan.

Did he apply any cost benefit analysis to his thoughts? Is he certain that a wall is the best use of that money?

Not that i read.We once lived on a corner section,school kids during the day and drunks and and other eggs felt it was their right to pass thru my section and avoid the footpath.Solution a 6 ft fence with an unfriendly dog on our side of the fence.Cost plenty but what cost can you put on the safety of your family.
Also stopped neighours dogs from using my section as a toilet.

Correlate strength of boundaries with economic advancement. So my wife's PI village has no walls between houses but they have fences to protect gardens from pigs. I was raised in state housing in a small town and we had low concrete posts with maybe 3 wires. Moved to the city and the fences became higher and more robust. Living in Birkdale and it used to be the cheapest suburb on the North Shore but for the last 15 years as it becomes more popular the fences are being built higher and higher - the concept of chatting to your neighbour over the fence seems to have died. Of course I might win the lottery and move into one of those fancy penthouse apartments so I am totally cut off from humanity

Happy 2019 everybody. I found this story about the wall looking at evidence from the El Chapo trial interesting. The conclusion is that in terms of stopping drugs the wall would be a giant white elephant -

If the US build the wall, Mexico gets a free fence. I thought Trump was a great negotiator...glad he's not negotiating my boundary fence. Moron.

Hadrian's Wall was pretty useless without the Roman Army to man it. I wonder what the ongoing opex cost would be to man a wall from Baha to the Gulf?

According to Border Patrol figures over 17000 convicted criminal were stopped entering the US last year.When you consider that they were the ones that were stopped there must be a lot more coming in other ways.

But where were they stopped? I believe that i read somewhere 99% of them were at formal border crossings.

Context. About 77 mln people (non-citizens) enter the US every year as tourists. About 1+ mln as legal immigrants. Of the "17,000 convicted criminals", only a minority were stopped at the US-Mexico border. That rate, by the way, is one in every 5000 coming across all their borders.

And given they have more than 2.2 million 'criminals' in prison from home-grown activities, 17,000 is trivial - not even a rounding error in a country of 328 mln. (0.00005)

One is too many. Tell the family members of the US citizens murdered by illegal immigrants who made it across the border that it is "trivial".

People die from all sorts of things every day that could have been prevented with unlimited amounts of money. If $5 billion builds a wall and saves one life, is that a better outcome than building some hospitals or universities or upgrading roads? Or spending the $5 billion at the border crossings on better technology rather than the wall?

Is the money better spent on a roads, hospitals and universities? You'd have to look at the cost benefit analysis to know the answer. But you'll probably find that the wall comes out on top when you take into account how much illegal immigration costs the US. Only 4% of the future illegal immigrants would need to be stopped crossing the border over the next ten years for the wall to pay for itself. Drones and the like will mostly just give you a good view of the immigrants coming across, whereas a wall would stop them.

My point is that one illegal immigrant is too many, and that those who have lost loved ones as a result of it won't think the number of illegal crossings is "trivial". My point was not that it would be worth constructing a $5B wall to stop just one illegal immigrant.

I guess my point is that building a wall based off an emotional response to immigration is not sound management. Even if the goal is to decrease illegal immigrants regardless of other spending priorities, then a wall might not be the best option.
Maybe it is the best use of that money, I don't know. But I'm not a fan of politicians deciding to spend money on stuff because of their gut instinct or 'common sense' or whatever they watched on Fox news.

It is opposition to the wall that is mostly based on emotion, namely hatred of Trump. This is evidenced by the fact that many Democrats supported a barrier under previous administrations, but oppose it now that it is being championed by Trump. I’ve seen little evidence to suggest that support for the wall isn’t based on assessing the experience of other countries that have tried it, analysis of the cost and savings, and the advice of boarder enforcement officers and other experts dealing with illegal immigration on the ground.

72000 people died in the US of Opioid overdoses last year, many of these would be due to the massive issue they have with prescribed Opioid abuse.
40,000 died at the wrong end of a gun.
Maybe they should think about cleaning up that mess first ?
Personally I think the US is destined for a quagmire of shit with large corporations at the helm.

Northern Mexico is pretty much run by drug cartels. It's a dangerous place.

An interesting study would be to see what influence on the drug market Mexican supply has in states that have legalised marijuana. It could provide the solution

I talked to a DEA agent when I was in the States and the price of Marijuana has collapsed. Oregon has grown too much, over a pound for every person in the State.
Humboldt is still a big drug growing area. Heroin sales had declined but recently it has become available again in decent volumes.
The meth war is a war no one is winning, he said meth consumption was supposed to spike and then use to fall but it's continued to grow. Meth sales are helped by drug testing. Marijuana stays in the blood a long time and is easy to detect, meth is pretty much gone in 24 hours. If you had Meth on Friday and Saturday and stayed clear all Sunday you could pass a drug test on Monday. The tweekers are noticeable all over California, the general opinion is it's tied to lack of decent jobs but others think it's tied to a more sinister decline in mental health. The DEA agent was brutally honest about his organisations losing battle with drugs. The fix will have to come from community not from ineffective laws that create huge profit incentives.
The Mexican cartels are getting into hard drugs in a big way hardly anyone in the States has not been touched by the drug epidemic.

So wouldn't the solution be to legislate against an employer being able to discriminate on drug use that may not be affecting the job? If a Marijuana test cant detect if the drug use was recent and still affecting you, then it shouldn't be a permitted test.

Tests are available to see whether or marijuana in one's system is affecting them or not.
The drug war is unwinnable if you are going to keep trying to tackle it from a criminal aspect. You have to completely castrate the industry and you do that by legalization, regulation, education and treatment. Take the "glamour" out of it. Nothing else will work, the stakes are far too high. I do not believe there is another way.

A majority of the criminals crossing over will stay in the states close to the border so that would put local population/criminal ratios in a different light.

A wall will not stop illegal immigrants from arriving. It will reduce the total number but not eliminate. The benefit is the illegal immigrants that spend the extra effort to get to the USA despite the wall will be the most dedicated illegal immigrants, go figure.

In New Zealand we are protected by oceans but we still have issues to address. The solution for the USA lies more in what you do with people who turn up anyway. Currently there seems to be great legal and process before you can send people back. eg. The dreamers. Solve that one and they would not need so great a wall.
Here in New Zealand I am of the view that if you are not a citizen then your stay here is very precarious. Any drunken Irish backpacker for example, who throws a punch in Queenstown, should be on a plane within 24 hours. And ditto for any other misdemeanours. (Currently we even have trouble getting rid of Czech major drug smugglers)

How could NZ build a Wall?
Would it mean that their Government ask their citizens about the volume and quality of intended immigrants?

One in five US prison inmates is a 'criminal alien'
There were more than 730,000 criminal aliens in U.S. or state prisons and local jails during the period measured. They accounted for 4.9 million arrests for 7.5 million offenses. (The numbers, according to the GAO: 197,000 criminal aliens in federal prisons, arrested 1.4 million times for 2 million offenses, between 2011 and 2016; 533,000 in state or local facilities between 2010 and 2015, representing 3.5 million arrests for 5.5 million offenses.) In terms of cost, federal taxpayers shelled out more than $15 billion during the period studied — or $2.5 billion a year — to keep criminal aliens behind bars in federal, state and local facilities.

3) Mexico has numerous states under the direct influence of drug cartels that have standing armies with access to RPGs, armored vehicles, artillery, and explosives. Most of Mexico has military forces patrolling streets to deal with cartel paramilitary forces.

4) The most violent drug cartels operate south of the Texas border. Factions of Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel routinely allow their violence to spill over to the average person.

5) The border city of Tijuana has some of the highest murder statistics in all of Mexico. Despite record-setting figures, most of the victims tend to be tied to drug trafficking.

6) Border cities south of Texas like Reynosa, Tamaulipas, have much lower murder rates than Tijuana. Despite the difference, average citizens are often touched by cartels including shootouts, kidnappings, and other violent activities.

Of course the wall should be built, why cement grows on trees doesn't it, the world's raw materials supply is not under pressure and there isn't a native American tribe whose land straddles both countries and wildlife being able to access their natural range don't matter one iota and there's no rivers like the Rio Grande and of course technology to monitor the border without a complete barrier hasn't been invented yet. Of course he should build his wall. Or am I getting senile like Trotter seems to be

Looks like the "bots" have invaded Interest 's comment sections , as well as Stuff's etc.

I don't see any bots in this article but you sure can tell in Stuff where you have like 10 comments and each one has +117 Likes.

It just seemed to me that the spread of likes was different from normal "interest commentators". But a different subject attracting different "likers" perhaps. We don't have the "dislike" button , which makes it much more obvious whats going on on Stuff. But it reminded me immediately of the spread you would expect on a Stuff article to do with Trump.
No reflection on This website whatsoever, its just a function of what search engines are bringing to the attention of those paid or motivated to try to manipulate public opinion .

I think those might just be people who disagree with you.

There's a lot of us.

I have no problem with people disagreeing with me , that's the whole idea of comment sections.

This is the issue of our time for sure. It's a big discussion here as well as everywhere, including North America. According to the HES report dated June 2018 there were 572,900 Asian adults (15 years of age & over) living in New Zealand - the second largest group behind Europeans. Maori adults (?) were 488,100 while Pacific people numbered 234,000 adults. It is already a multi-cultural world just about everywhere you go these days. And it's also a very small world these days. This is problematic in places. In fact it is almost everywhere at one point or another. You know, the thing I still remember about my travels of some 40 odd years ago now, was the fact that all the different cultures were different. They had their own customs & dress styles & languages & history & ways of doing things that were unique to that culture. Today's "great big melting pot" as the song said, seems to have a similarity wherever you go. Too many tourists for a start. Culture is personal and the fact that there thousands of different ones make the world a great place to be. Sure, I happily live in a multi-cultural society just as much as the next person, and I think that some of it is really quite cool & enjoyable to live with. And yes, eventually the races will blend together over time, history tells us that. But today's global immigration issues are extreme. Many people around the world are treated like shit so you can't blame them for wanting to come to our type of societies. Even a real roof over their heads is better than from where they come from. And we feed them daily as well. That's better as well. But we are going to have to come up with some form of solution (probably globally) because the West is underwriting the huge cost & we simply cannot afford it anymore. We're in debt remember.
Sighghghgh. I'm not sure this has a happy ending.

mass global immigration is a bad thing for resource rich countries. The share economy benefits those that have few resources and disadvantages those that have alot of resources. NZ use to have the lowest rate of homelessness in the western world and the highest rate of home ownership, by sharing our housing resources with the hordes of the third world we now have the highest rate of homelessness and rapidly declining home ownership. NZ's population was 3.3M in 1992, 25 years later its tipping 5M. This represents a 1.6-1.7M population increase from a base population of 3.3M, given over that period the average birthrate of a NZ women is less than 2 the 50% population increase is from immigration. NZ 50% increase is from immigration - while stats NZ has not released the latest census data the inside story is the population of Auckland is now 35% Asian, 34% polynesian and 31% european.

An argument for the wall would be the success of the Egypt–Israel barrier.

This has only recently been built and has drastically reduced illegal crossings. It was built primarily to deter illegal migration. Go and read the article.

The claim that the wall wont stop everyone and so shouldn't be built is an absurd one. The thing is you have to try and detering most is a good start.

Walls throughout history have been effective and have always been awesome. I'd like to see a massive wall with turrets snaking into the distance, perhaps with the occasional jet of flame for good measure. A wall built to last hundreds of years.

Even our own anthem evokes the gloriousness of a physical barrier:

May our mountains ever be
Freedom's ramparts on the sea

The Wall is more than a physical structure. It represents a conscious and spiritual divide and I think this is its most important quality. It is a concrete statement that a nation's rulers care about their citizens and wish to protect them. It's not "values" or "diversity" that are a nation's greatest strength but its ability and willingness to defend itself so its values can flourish.

Lucky we have the free Ocean. You don't need much of it either to be effective, worked pretty well for England in WWII.

Yep a free moat.

I was in Eilat last year and walked across the border to Jordan. Personally I found the 42 degree heat a solid deterrent to straying to far from beer.

That is starting to look like the least of his worries. As actually its looking more like High Treason everyday.

In Russia the Mafia IS a State organ, a branch of the KGB. They have owned him forever. They bailed him out of bankruptcy, like 4billion. His first lawyer was his father's and acted for the Russian Mafia. Jeez you couldn't make it up.

talk about some more trump derangement syndrome.

Notice how the only answer is to vote a democrat in

I think the most important part of the article is the 1st 2 paragraphs...

Everything else relates including the new proposed 'berlin wall" directly relates back to that.

"IF" Democrats were smart................ ha. ha. ha. ha.

2/3rds of Americans dont want it....

Trump is hardly the rocket scientist we have been looking for is he?

Trump and America need a secure border and the ability to protect the property of the United States. The United States of America is an advanced first world civilisation where as Mexico is a third world country that is technically backwards. Mass immigration from Mexico threatens American jobs and the first world standard of living they enjoy. I've worked in factories filled with wetbacks, they don't add to the US economy they just take jobs and drop the wages for ordinary Americans, struggling to get by. They should be reinstating dawn raids with dogs and shotguns hunting for illegal immigrants in Texas again.

Mexicans threatens US jobs! Are you serious?. The US economy relies on this low cost Mexican labour. If you are living and raised in this 'first world civilization' as you call it and are loosing your job to an uneducated field worker...then have really missed the bus!

A wall will be an economic nightmare. It will cost a fortune to build, maintain and provide zilch to the productive economy. And if achieving what you suggest re workers, then expect either unpicked crops, unmowed lawns and so on...or an explosion in wages to get those pick-up driving red necks to do it.

And yes I have been there and yes I've seen how hard these Mexicans work. They are totally relied on.

Trump is a moron.

NB You appear to be arguing with an ignorant racist. Yes, there are billions in exports into Mexico, act stupid and those exports can be under threat and that would cost US jobs and incomes especially in the mid-west. Then there is the loss of the cheap mexican labour, bound to go well.

Trump, worse than a moron, a traitor is now looking quite probable.

Thats an interesting take on things

Imagine if we had illegal immigrants pouring into our country? we wouldn't like it would we?

Illegal immigration is a crime in the first place and a form of trespass where they expect to walk in and utilize the infrastructure that has been built up over multiple generations.

The should deport all illegals immediately, make it a criminal offence to hire or harbor illegal immigrants and then a wall would not be necessary. The could spend that money on initiatives to better intercept drugs coming over the border

Mexicans threatens US jobs! Are you serious?. The US economy relies on this low cost Mexican labour.

This is basically supply and demand. If you flood the country with workers who will work for less, the value of workers will drop. The US economy relies on it because it exists - places like Switzerland and Japan still manage to function despite their high labour costs and near absence of low-skilled migrants.

But the rich wouldn't get richer quite as quick

I was an engineer working in a company manufacturing production lines at a rate of 1 turnkey production line every two weeks. We were roughly 5 times the size of Scott Technology of NZ and operating in a similar area. In NZ its high tech manufacturing, in the US is was just manufacturing. Wetbacks were working illegally as engineers, machinists - infact almost any occupation within the organisation you could think of. I use to have a few beers after work with the born and bred american engineers, they hated it - illegal immigrants made sure it was a non-union place and suppressed the wages of the legal US working staff.

I dont see this being a "ditch left to die in" for the democrats, quite the opposite 2/3rds of Americans dont want it so politically it looks more like a ditch Trump and the GOP will die in if anything.

The bigger picture is of course Trump is a bully and this is nothing much more than him hell bent on cowering Congress and its Female leader on the first day. So The democrats if they dont take a stand on this will be taking take a stand on something else as the radical extremist in the WhiteHouse will push other extremist issues at them so makes total sense to stand up on the issue most Americans agree on not wanting.

White people aren't allowed their own countries anymore. They have to let the whole world in, then they have to feel bad that they're not doing enough for them.

a lot of liberals out there think people should be able to roam the world freely.

The truth is that we are so far away from being ready to do this with multiple issues to be addressed internationally such as

wealth distribution
synchronizing law and justice
religious differences
human rights
a world currency
slavery and minimum wages

IMO we are 100+ years away from open boarders and if it is not done in am organised manner it could be the end of our civilization as we in the west know it

I was travelling with a former girlfriend of mine though china many years ago while she was doing her Phd, she is now a Professor in the UK. Her subject area was Globalisation, after having watched it and studied it in the 1990s her conclusions on the subject in the early 2000 period was globalisation represents a transfer of resources from the first world to the third world (we see it in our homeless rates - predominately white and polynesian people living on the street). Ultimately it disadvantages those born in first world countries and benefits those born in the third world.
IMO in the west we worked very hard for what we have and it took many generations to build it and I don't believe this should be inherited by the descendants of those that have not earnt and built it.
Proverbs 13:22: “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children.”

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