Despite the drama, The Wall is mostly beside the point when it comes to enforcement. Construction of a wall doesn’t even make the top three priorities for tightening up on illegal immigration. A mandatory E-Verify system to discourage illegal hiring, an entry-exit system to track visitors, and local and state cooperation with the feds all are much more important. A border wall is powerless to stop visa overstays, which account for about half of illegal immigration, and it won’t reduce the jobs magnet that inevitably draws people here.

If Democrats were smart, they’d let Trump build whatever he wants on the border in exchange for massive concessions on other policies. But the Democratic base is too adamantly against The Wall, which it considers a symbol of exclusion and xenophobia, to make this negotiating strategy possible. Upon contact with the enemy, Trump will be lucky if The Wall ends up as much more than architectural plans and demonstration projects.