Here we are again, stuck behind a wall, a metaphysical wall but still a wall. A single person, Trump, stands behind that big beautiful wall shouting. We have been down this road. The Deal Maker in Chief could have had $25 billion for his wall if he granted citizenship to immigrants in the DACA program. Trump walked away. Now he is attempting to bargain with no chips for $5 billion for the wall.
In a previous article, I listed the many reasons why the wall is a waste. Since then Congress has done nothing to fix immigration and there are still people in DACA limbo. The Trump administration has further exacerbated the problem by cutting legal immigration. Supply and demand. If 10,000 people want to immigrate legally to the U.S. and the Trump administration only allows 6,000 in legally then those other 4,000 still want in. Yes, maybe some will stay home but many will do whatever it takes to get here and stay here. It doesn’t matter what the law says, how big the wall is, immigrants will come, we who are here get to decide if it’s legal or not.
I hate going down the road of false equivalencies but so many people believe them as fact including the President. People have walls around their property, they have walls on their house and they have locks on their cars none of this equates to a 1,954-mile wall. If you want to use this false equivalency then at any time, day or night your doorbell can ring, someone can present their passport and you have to admit them to your home. The country is more like the mall: anyone can come and go, you are free to conduct whatever legal business you like, and the mall provides amenities. If you really want to compare the country to a vehicle it would be a bus. The government runs it, people come and go, and you pay a fee to use it. What individuals do to their own property does not apply to countries.
Anyone that has looked into history knows that humans are a species of migration. For hundreds of thousands of years, mankind’s natural state was hunter-gatherer. People wandering from place to place to provide for themselves. Nothing stopped them, not oceans, mountains, rivers, frigid cold, searing heat. Even after the first permanent settlements appeared people kept wandering the globe; intermingling, exchanging ideas, goods, and DNA.
Migrations have imparted Americans with more than most know. The English language along with 448 other languages wouldn’t exist if migrants from the Pontic Steppe didn’t disperse out into the world some 6,000 years ago. Then there is the wave of migrations into the Americas, most voluntary, but some were forced at gunpoint and in chains to make the migration. Then Native Americans were forced migrants to clear way for more American migrants to expand as the fledgling nation grew.
The southern border as we now know it would not exist if not for migration. Mexico won its independence with Spain along with the accompanying territories that included the future states of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, California and pieces of other states. Most of the territories were sparsely populated and the Mexican citizens living there were regularly targeted by Native Americans and bandits. To increase the population and provide safety in militia numbers, Mexico invited Americans to migrate in. As the population of Americans swelled, Mexico ended the migration. The Americans in Mexico demanded autonomy and in response a Mexican army marched into present-day Texas. Several battles were fought including the Alamo and culminated in Texas Independence. To further solidify the southern border we waged the Mexican-American War which annexed more territory and to round it out we needed to build a railroad and made the Gadsden Purchase.
I go into history because people throw around “sovereignty” and “sovereign state” as an all-encompassing catch to imprison illegal migrants for a misdemeanor offense. Countries are a modern creation, they didn’t exist for most of human history. If the United States sovereignty needs to be preserved at all costs then what about the sovereignty of other countries? What happened to the sovereignty of Mexico? Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen are just some of the countries that have had their sovereignty violated by the United States. If a violation of sovereignty means we should imprison migrants, then what should be done with military invaders? What about the sovereignty of states that are violated by the federal government? What about the sovereignty of individuals that will have their property taken to build a wall?
The growing amount of false statements from President Trump on the border could be used to build a wall. There is no crisis, migrant caravans are just a political tool, terrorists are not crossing the southern border, Mexico is not paying for the wall. Even though Trump claims USMCA will pay for the wall there are several giant holes in that wall. New NAFTA has to be ratified by Congress, Canada, and Mexico. In addition, the U.S. doesn’t make money on trade deals, it doesn’t save money on trade deals, trade is between companies and people. Another threat is to completely close the border, even temporarily, the U.S. economy would suffer and hopefully not implement in haste like the travel ban trapping Americans in Mexico.
An alternative method Trump has been considering is the executive power to declare a national emergency. This will allow him to use the military to fund construction, seize private property and build the wall without Congress. It would be challenged in Congress and the courts and drag on longer than his presidency. If you consider this necessary, what happens when the next Democratic president comes along and they declare a national emergency on something? This is one slippery slope we should not head down, once it is opened every president to come could wield it as a cudgel against liberty.
Some express concern that immigrants are a drain on government assistance programs. Immigrants are a net benefit to our society; they input tax dollars, input into the economy, start businesses and families. We should offer immigrants a choice, decline government assistance and go to the front of the immigration line. Companies that face worker shortfalls should recruit at the border. The United States should work with Central American countries on making those countries; freer, safer, and work towards commercial development.
In the end, Trump will claim victory no matter what. He will embellish and lie about reality and it will be devoured by his screaming reality TV fans. None of it and no one will address the root cause problems. We will continue constructing barriers, physical or mental putting up a wall to be a band-aid on a gaping wound which is our immigration system. I think if we want to claim to be the shining city on the hill, a beacon of democracy and freedom, we need to export ideas, freedom, innovation, and opportunity to the world that betters everyone. “And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”
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