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President Donald Trump hasn't given up on the idea of a border wall. But why?

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Joe Henderson: There are better border security solutions than a wall

You want real border security? Ditch the wall and concentrate on better ways.

With the government open again, at least for now, it’s time for everyone to put on their big-person pants and act like, you know, adults about a border wall.

President Donald Trump’s threat to use emergency powers to build his stupid wall could trigger a constitutional crisis. But let’s back off that topic for the moment and focus the things most of us have in common on this issue.

Except for perhaps a few outliers, there is red and blue agreement about the need for border security. I will give the President credit for chomping down on this issue and never letting go, although statistics suggest the border “crisis” is largely imaginary.

From 2007-2016, unauthorized immigration fell by more than 13 percent. By the way, that’s while Barack Obama was President.

However, we don’t wait until there is a break-in to lock our doors. And in these uncertain times, extra security is a good thing.

But a wall? Seriously? Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said on CNN that it remains Trump’s goal. I would call it an obsession more than a goal, but either way, it won’t work.

The bad guys bringing drugs and guns into this country will simply fly over it, tunnel under it, or take a boat and motor around it.

The Washington Post recently reported that agents found more than 200 tunnels under current border walls.

The only thing a wall will accomplish is keeping out migrant women and children. The bad hombres, as the President calls them, aren’t going to be concerned about a wall.

I hope the President knows this, and I suspect he does. But he also is manipulated by gasbags like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and the puppet master himself, Sean Hannity

On those rare times when the President tiptoes dangerously close to common sense, they send out tweets or insults over the airwaves and he reverts into a Frankenstein created in the studios of right-wing radio and TV.

For the same money the President shut down the government to receive, we could lock up the border tighter than Paul Manafort without building a useless, hideous wall.

There are many to accomplish that.

It includes tightening legal ports of entry, which is where much of the illegal drug traffic happens. That is according to former Chief of Staff John Kelly when he was head of Homeland Security. A wall would do nothing to help there.

Hire more screeners, improve sensor technology, use satellites, drones, more border agents (and pay them decently).

Common-sense stuff. Much of the technology is already available, according to the Department of Homeland Security. And a recent poll showed only 22 percent of voters consider a wall important enough to shut the government.

But the wall is a symbol, and that’s the real story.

Lim-bah and his crowd see it as a sign of strength, a mighty fortress against the advancing mongrels. That might have worked in the year 1,600 or something, but it won’t deter a drug trafficker with a hopped-up Cessna flying over the wall at treetop level.

The Miami New Times reported last April that since 2000, Florida has been the largest source in the country of airplane sales to drug smugglers.

Does anyone believe those people will be stopped by a wall?

As the late comedian George Carlin once said, leave symbols the symbol-minded.

Sure, if Trump called Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer tomorrow and suggested they strike a deal heavy on technology and amped-up security, but minus a wall, Coulter and Hannity would melt into gaseous puddles. We can dream.

But if the President’s goal is really to stop “bad hombres” more than it is to beat Chuck and Nancy … oh, who am I kidding?

His only goal is to beat Chuck and Nancy and keep Coulter and Rush off his neck. When he doesn’t get his wall by his deadline, which he won’t, he could try to invoke his emergency powers.

I imagine legal briefs to stop him already have been prepared.

Or, as his acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said, Trump might shut down the government again.

There is no telling how that will end. That’s the real crisis.

Written By

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.

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