To make a better wall

To the Editor,

The current presidency has dominated headlines for almost a year. Even after all the scandals, tax plans, tweets and rocket men, there is one issue that has never left the national debate. I am talking about the proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Even after many months of debate, the wall is still a highly charged and polarizing issue. As such, I will not discuss my political affiliation or my opinions regarding current policy. What I will say is this: My name is Robert Lally, and I have been a resident of Wheeling for my entire 76-year life. During that time, I have started and operated several successful businesses. What I am saying is that I am not some random, senior old man — I know a lot about business and profit. From what I see, the current idea of a giant concrete wall, al la China, is not going to cut it.

There are several reasons why a Great Wall of America will not cut it. First, no matter how high, or how deep or how thick you build the wall, people will manage to cross it illegally. The border is almost 2,000 miles long. You cannot track every foot at every moment.

Second, there is much inefficiency to be had with a physical wall. The government spends vasts amounts of our nation’s finances on defense and technology associated with it. Why not, instead, make a fence and survey the land with drones, etc. Let’s put our technology to use.

Third, current estimates for the cost could go up to a hundred billion, excluding the constant maintenance required. These finances could instead go into areas like education and infrastructure.

Is there any way to lower costs? My current proposal is this –let us make a wall of solar panels. With the cost of panels falling dramatically and major figures like Elon Musk investing heavily in the field, the cost would not be too great. The electricity generated by the panels would offset those costs, and eventually bring a profit.

There is nothing wrong with Mexicans come over legally. It is the same reason we fence off and guard power plants and hospitals –we don’t want illegal activity to harm our important institutions. If we can make an eco-friendly, profitable wall while encouraging legal immigration, American can set a postive example for the international community. Meanwhile, we can better protect our nation while keeping the American spirit of freedom alive and well.

This issue needs to be addressed, but it is more complicated than most realize. We need to be cautious. We should not think of the wall as a simple yes or no. There are many solutions, with many consequences to this issue. Simply ignoring or writing off the problem will not help things. I encourage everyone to figure out how to keep borders secure and help immigrants cross the border legally. Is the current plan for the wall worth anything to any one? Can we do better?

Robert Lally