The Wall

The rhetoric that seems to follow this convoluted wall discussion gets crazier by the day.  And now the entire functioning of government is being held hostage for wall funding.

Let’s remember how we got here. Candidate Trump insisted throughout the campaign in 2016 that he would build a wall and GUARANTEED us that Mexico would pay for it. No doubts. It was a given. It was repeated like a zen Buddhist mantra at every single rally. His supporters never questioned it, non-supporters never believed it for a second.

And guess what? He lied. He now insists that US taxpayers will gladly pay for the wall because we are supposedly so desperate for this generalized idea of border security.

Billions of dollars will be needed. It will take years to build. It would stand as a racist monument to an administration who stokes fear about people who are poor and destitute and desperate to find a better life.

This wall is the biggest con job in US history and that is not some Trump hyperbole. It is the truth.

I hold the opinion that Trump doesn’t really believe in the wall himself. It was just campaign marketing. But now that he has so completely convinced his supporters that it will save us from our deepest fears, he is trapped into a need to make it happen.

If you remember early on in this budget negotiation, a minimum figure was agreed upon by all parties – $1.6 billion designated for border security – not even specifically for “the wall”. Trump was all set to sign it, but then his ultra right wing friends reminded him that this token amount was not going to be tolerated. He needed to be tougher. To stand up to those who don’t understand the global immigrant threat like they do. So Trump backed off. Reneged on the entire deal that would keep the government funded and now insisted that he wanted $5 billion all along.

Which led to that bizarre oval office meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, in which Trump went so far as to say he would happily take the blame for a government shutdown over getting his $5 billion. He said it in front of the press in unequivocal terms. (Of course, playing the tape means nothing to Trump as he keeps moving the goal posts anyway.) But, of course, now Trump once again reverts to form and tries to blame the Democrats anyway. Another lie in an incessant string of constant lies.

So, let’s explore this in current terms. Will this wall really increase security at the border? Does a physical, imposing mile after mile wall monstrosity have any actual value?

Well, in the most basic of terms, it does furnish an obstacle. It is a barrier that will physically force anyone wishing to move overland into the US to stop in their tracks and reassess their plan. But that is not a complete solution. A barrier can be overcome by using other available means. There is the obvious things – tunnels, planes, ships along the coasts – those things happen all the time. And then there is the more dangerous aspects. People are smuggled in trucks or other carriers in the most insane conditions. Many have died, suffocating in the back of a truck in desert heat. Or using makeshift water transportation and frequently drowning. Or simply putting their lives in the dangerous hands of overland thugs.

These people are desperate. They are coming from conditions that are already unlivable  – so, really, does anyone believe that a “wall” is going to end their quest?

The majority of the people coming from Central America do NOT want to enter illegally. They simply seek asylum. With all this talk of illegalities in regards to our southern border, it is the government of the US that is actually breaking the law. We have laws that make it incumbent upon us to hear out any asylum seeker. We also have international treaties that demand we give each refugee seeking asylum the legal right of a hearing and due process. This administration is not doing any of that. They are closing an international border and they are WRONG to do so. Trump’s administration violates international law in many areas – but then I guess illegality is determined by the bigoted right wing of the Republican Party.

So, let’s get the big picture. According to FactCheck.org, illegal entry to the US has been on the decline since 2005 when it peaked at 12.2 million people. Current estimates put the number at 11.1 and dropping. The number of Mexican undocumented is about 55% of that number – but that share is also dropping.  Border apprehensions, which is used to gauge the number of illegal entries, has been declining as well. Apprehensions are currently at the lowest level since 1970; after peaking in 2000 at 1.64 million. Current numbers are about 304,000. For perspective, since Trump took office you would assume that MORE border apprehensions have been happening as the administration cracks down – but the reality is that under Trump, the number of people caught at the border is down 43% over the previous year. And that is WITHOUT THE WALL! Bottom line – people are not “pouring” over the border. It is NOT out of control.

The problem that is the main culprit of illegal immigration, and something that Trump has done little about, is overstaying on legal visas….

 A Center for Migration Studies report estimates that 44 percent of those in living in the U.S. illegally in 2015 were visa overstays. That’s up from an estimated 41 percent in 2008.

Since a lot of visas are granted for businesses to acquire specialty workers, I would guess that Trump looks the other way for this “illegality”. An even more egregious hypocrisy can  be seen in who Trump employs for his own properties. Many of his workers at the resorts are undocumented. A few have even come forward to prove the hypocrisy of his own policies. And Trump, Inc continues to apply for more foreign workers to this day. I imagine with the express purpose of cheaper labor with non-union bias.

So, as we continue, what I assume will be, a lengthy government shutdown, (which will undoubtedly put Federal workers in a precarious situation), Trump will continue to push his hard line rhetoric. While the facts will show that the problem is much less of an issue than we have been led to believe.

Trump’s “marketing” of the wall has been effective. Most of his hardcore supporters truly believe that our country is in serious danger if we do NOT build that wall. Trump exploits the idea of gangs with Latin backgrounds or Latino criminals guilty of murder – while knowing that immigrant crime is far less than the population as a whole.

It is an issue based completely on lies and untruths. But that is how this administration has always operated. And that is how Trump conducted his business. Lies and shell games.

The Trump administration is Crime, INC – which also means he needs to point the finger of criminality in another direction. The undocumented, the Dreamers, and immigrants in general are Trump’s scapegoat.

We have to educate ourselves better. We needto bring the discussion of immigration into a proper debate in the halls of Congress. We had a bill in the Senate – we can still do that bill.

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