Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security planned to begin construction on at least four 30-foot tall structures, “prototypes” of the projected border wall, near San Diego, California. Construction was slated to begin on Thursday, June 22. That day came and went without any construction. Delays aren’t unusual in the course of large government-ordered projects, but what seems odder is that no contracts have yet been awarded for the projected work.
Money has been allocated for the prototypes, and there was a bidding process in February-March of this year. But that process appears to have petered out without a winner.
Left Wing View
Some on the left in the United States have been paying attention to politics in Mexico, and have come to the (delighted) conclusion that Donald Trump’s presidency here is assisting the political rise of analogs to Bernie Sanders there. Lauren Kaori Gurley wrote in AlterNet about the rise of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whom she describes as “a charismatic left-wing populist politician and former Mexico City mayor” who aims at that country’s presidency, by way of next year’s scheduled election.
López Obrador has happily accepted the mantle of the Mexican anti-Trump. His own Twitter feed tells us, for example, that the current President of Mexico “is silent before Trump,” but that his own party has decided “to confront xenophobia and defend migrants.”
EPN calla ante Trump, nosotros decidimos enfrentar la xenofobia y defender a los migrantes. pic.twitter.com/NWooWmZtDF
— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) June 15, 2017
Weeks ago, López Obrador contributed a column to The Washington Post observing (even then) that the actual Wall had become “mired in budgetary, legal, technical, and even environmental problems.” He predicted then that as this became obvious the Trump administration would pivot away from even the pretense of Wall building, and in the direction of the criminalization and persecution of migrants. Subsequent weeks have done nothing to refute that analysis.
In some quarters, the prospects for an actual creation of Trump’s Wall seem so thin that they are a fit subject for mockery. A Colombian woman now living in the U.S. tweeted (on June 21, that is, just one day before the construction of the prototypes was supposed to begin), “Good morning to everyone except white boys who love to sexualize Latinas but still advocate for Trump’s wall.”
good morning to everyone except white boys who love to sexualize Latinas but still advocate for Trump’s wall ✨✨✨
— heather (@r3ht43h) June 21, 2017
Right Wing View
The wall-less passage of the 22d came as parts of the President’s political base were getting restless on the subject of a Wall between the United States and Mexico, (which “Mexico will pay for”), something that was after all perhaps THE signature commitment of last year’s campaign.
On June 16, conservative pundit Ann Coulter suggested that Trump might be removed from office for this nonfeasance as a Wall builder. “If VP Pence were smart,” she said, he would emphasize his own devotion to the Wall, and in that case, “he’d be sworn in as president about 2 weeks.”
If @VP Pence were smart, starting making noises about how he’d LOVE to build a wall. He’d be sworn in as president about 2 weeks.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) June 16, 2017
On the same day, Coulter also tweeted that anyone “who strolls to the border and drops a brick” will make a greater contribution to the creation of a Wall there than President Trump has.
Anyone in a Southwestern state who strolls to the border & drops a brick will have done more to build the wall than @realDonaldTrump.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) June 16, 2017
Perhaps predictably, this has earned her some push back from Trump loyalists who are not yet feeling so restless, loyalists such as “Gavin,” who commented, “Did you expect it to be done in a day?”
Did you expect it to be done in a day? Act like you know how government works please.
— Gavin (@Gav4955) June 16, 2017
But it is a reasonable expectation that as the days pass, that particular reply will seem insufficient to many who genuinely believe in the urgency of a wall.
Meanwhile, the prolonged political salience of the proposed Wall has led some conservatives, with more space to fill that the twitter format allows, to cogitate about the meaning of citizenship and lawful residence, and about whether there is a “meritocratic” element in a proper understanding thereof.
Does Mexico Have to Pay for the Wall?
Another very recent twist in the ongoing debate about the proposed wall: it no longer seems that President Trump is committed to obtaining the money for this project at Mexico’s expense. Indeed, he has of late taken the position that it can be built so as to pay for itself, through solar panels.
One wonders whether that would have been as appealing a line at his campaign rallies. “We will build a wall, and the wall will pay for itself” would have sounded less confrontational than, “…and Mexico will pay for the wall.”