But I do owe him a big "thank you" for making the major theme of my upcoming novel, illegal immigration, front page news.
I live in Arizona, so undocumented border crossers have been in the local news on and off for years.
Now, thanks to Trump's signature campaign promise that Mexican border wall is on everyone's mind. "We will build a great wall along the southern border," he said. "Mexico will pay for it. One hundred percent. They don't know it yet, but they're going to pay for it."
Do you believe him?
Newt Gingrich, a former U.S. House speaker, recently said Trump's demand that Mexico pay for the wall was "a great campaign device" that might not be practical in reality.
But THE WALL is Trump's signature promise. It's unlikely he can avoid political blowback if he back-pedals and claims his repeated call for the 1,984-mile border wall was simply a metaphor. People expect some follow-through.
Cost of the existing border fencing is said to be roughly a million dollars per mile.
Only 1,404 miles to go, Donald.
I'm sure even Trump knows, as President, he can't just order things done. The border project is not like building a new hotel. It involves multiple states, a myriad of different jurisdictions, including state, federal, tribal and private lands. Environmental impacts. Water rights treaties. Oh, and in some places, especially Texas, the terrain is so rugged it can only be covered on horseback. Infrastructure for access to the area will have to be built before wall construction crews can get there. Just to get the cement and rebar to build the roads in west Texas could cost billions.
Ironically, because of potential rights issues, some of the United States could actually end up on the opposite side of the wall.
I say we should forget about the damn wall issue, and look deeper into what's broken in our current immigration and deportation process.
In another of Trump's other "First 100-Day" promises, he vowed to create a deportation force to go after the nations estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.
At his immigration speech in Phoenix on Aug. 31, Trump said he would begin by deporting the more than two million "criminal aliens" inside the country. "Day One, my first hour in office, those people are gone. And you can call it deported if you want," Trump said.
I'm not sure what source he used for his "more than two million criminal aliens" reference, I couldn't find it. Quite possibly his researchers are better than I am.
But regardless, we already have an agency responsible for arresting and deporting undocumented immigrants, and even legal immigrants who commit serious crimes. That agency is called ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
While you may not have run into them personally, ICE is big. Part of the Department of Homeland Security (created after the 9/11 attacks), the ICE office represents the second largest law enforcement organization in the US. Only the FBI is bigger.
Since 2014, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeb Johnson has directed ICE to place its highest priority on removing immigrants who pose threats to national security, border security and national safety. In other words, immigrants engaged in terrorist activities those caught trying to enter the country illegally, and those convicted of felonies and aggravated felonies.
And this is where things get sticky.
Experts estimate that about 60 percent of the approximately 11.7 million illegal aliens who are residing here original entered the country by illegally crossing a land border. That includes air and water crossings as well. The other 40 percent were admitted through an official port of entry and overstayed their visa or authorized admission.
So I understand the ranting about building a wall and closing off the border.
But illegals don't stay in the border region, especially those with criminal intent. They disperse throughout the nation. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, the ICE field offices with the highest convicted criminal arrests (in 2013, the most recent year released) were, (in order) San Antonio, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, and Phoenix.
I think President Trump will face of choice on how to use his existing resources.
He can divert his manpower to building a border wall to keep new immigrants from the South from crossing our border.
Or, he can order ICE to deport the more than 872,000 aliens who have already been ordered to be removed, but who are still living here in defiance of our laws. These are post-final-order cases. They have been accorded due process, exhausted appeals, and received a final order of removal, but who remain here in defiance of that order. A small percentage cannot be removed, either because their home country won't take them back, or because the government is insufficiently organized to issue travel documents. But the majority have simply absconded, skipped out on hearings, and continue to live here illegally. This number grew by more than 1500,000 from 2012-2013.
Personally, I prefer the second approach.
But our man has a massive ego, and he made big, loud promises. So get out your pocketbooks America, if he chooses THE WALL. No matter what he boasts, there is no way out poor Mexican neighbor can foot that billion-and-a-half dollar bill.
And I can't wait to write it into my novel.
What do you think he'll do?