In response to calls for tearing down Trump's fake border wall once Joe Biden takes office, anonymously-quoted advisers to Biden's transition team say we shouldn't expect to see it torn down because the wall is a "distraction" when the real problem is Trump's assault on legal immigration.
But it is? Is it just a distraction?
Based on these numbers, I personally find it hard to argue. Only a small fraction of Trump's fake wall is actually new. The vast majority replaced existing barriers that have been in place since the Bush administration.
Customs and Border Protection officials are still rushing to meet Mr. Trump’s mandate of 450 miles of new wall construction during his term, nearly doubling the rate of construction since the start of the year. The administration had built 402 miles of wall as of Nov. 13.
Of that, about 25 miles had no barrier before Mr. Trump took office. The rest replaced much smaller, dilapidated sections of wall, or sections that had only vehicle barriers, which border officials say did not deter migrants crossing on foot.
At a length of nearly 2,000 miles, about 25 miles of new barriers is enough to cover about 1.25 percent of the southern border of the United States.
Should it be torn down out of principle? Maybe.
Will it make a material difference in either case? No.
One thing the Biden administration can and will easily do is halt construction of any new barriers. Trump's glorified border fence hasn't stopped anyone from coming here that wants to. His other policies, such as curbs on political asylum and mandates for prosecuting every illegal border crossing, have been the real heart of his assault on immigrants. The "wall" was always a showpiece.
Spending time, energy, and resources to tear it down when it makes no significant difference could just turn it into another showpiece that gives Trump another public platform.