Speed Reads

History Lesson

The 'Great Wall of Trump' would be as ineffective as the Great Wall of China, experts say

As he has for months now, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said in Dallas on Monday that a President Trump would build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, because "we are a dumping ground for the rest of the world" (and undocumented immigrants are apparently trash). But Trump's "Great Wall of Trump," paid for by Mexico and poor Mexican immigrants trying to send money home to their families, faces plenty of obstacles. High among them: It probably wouldn't work very well.

To highlight the problem, USA Today's Heidi M. Przybyla looked at the Great Wall of China, in many ways a much more ambitious undertaking than the proposed U.S.-Mexico border fence. "Yet, just as the Ming Dynasty's 13,000-mile wall failed to keep out the Manchurians, Trump's barricade would likely be an ineffective way of addressing the nation's immigration challenges," Przybyla said, citing "border experts." She continued:

The idea of walling off a nation, either to stop immigration flows or foreign invaders, has broad historical appeal — from Roman Emperor Hadrian's stone wall to Israel's West Bank wall and Northern Ireland's divide between its Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods. However, walls are often more symbolic barriers than practical ones. The Germans just marched around the French Maginot Line to invade Belgium, and the Manchurians repeatedly broke through the Great Wall of China. [USA Today]

The Berlin Wall was pretty effective, with its ample guards and shoot-to-kill orders keeping the emigration success rate at just 5 percent, Przybyla notes, but in order to match that, the U.S. would need about 60,000 border guards (with shoot-to-kill orders). It's something to think about the next time Trump brings up his wall, and you can read more at USA Today.