Janet Napolitano: Trump’s ‘Mythological’ Border Wall ‘Does Not Suffice as an Immigration Policy’

Friday at the Brookings Institution forum on immigration policy, former Obama administration Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said President Donald Trump’s proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is a “mythological structure” that “does not suffice as an immigration policy.”

Napolitano said, “I think the notion of building a wall across the Southwest border—I mean, I just, first of all, just doing it that border from a geography standpoint, you’re talking about going through riverbeds, over mountains. There’s a great deal of private property ownership along the border. When there was money set aside and a Secure Fencing Act a decade and a half ago, a number of the property owners whose property would be used for that sued. Those cases, many of them are still in litigation. So you’ll have those issues. You have Indian reservations that straddle the border in Arizona, the community lives on both sides of the border. They’ve already said they’re not going to have a wall. So, just the pure doing of it, not to mention the actual cost. Which, you know, I think the numbers I’ve seen are low numbers. And I think you’re probably talking in excess of $20 billion to build anything like a wall.”

She continued, “So, you have to question, what does a wall do? Well, the notion that a wall—there is going to be some kind of impermeable structure along the border—again, anybody who has been at the border and knows the border knows that that just won’t fly. What real border enforcement means is a strategy that includes manpower, that includes technology, that includes, as I said before, air coverage. It also includes working with our neighbors to the south to try to prevent traffic before it actually gets to the physical border. And, you know, I think some of the real progress that we made was with the government of Mexico and their own efforts and protecting their southern border. So, waiting until the traffic hits a mythological structure does not suffice as an immigration policy.”

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