Trump’s Wall: A symbol of hate


Sydney Cooper , Editor-in-Chief

As of today, the government has been shut down for 20 days. 20 days of over 1 million federal full-time employees being furloughed from their government jobs, many not being able to pay rent, mortgage, or have sustainable living conditions. Why is this?

Well, for someone to fully understand the context of the shutdown, you have to understand the relationship between Congress and the president. In the 2018 midterm election, Democrats took control of the house. Because of this, Trump began to fear losing the support from the Republicans in the Senate and the House of Representatives. This, in turn, made him fearful for his reelection in 2020. Trump felt as though the only way to gain back the respect from those who were wavering was with one tactic: The Wall.

The Wall has been a topic of discussion since before Trump became president. His big campaign promise to his constituents was, “I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me –and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”

However, that sentiment was expressed back in 2016 and nothing has come of it. For the past 2 years he has been in the presidency, not once has a budget for a Southern border wall been included. However, at the end of 2018, he shut down the government in the name of funding the wall in the 2019 budget for border security.

During Trump’s speech from the Oval Office on January 8th, he insisted that Democrats do not want border security because they refuse to add the wall into the budget. The Democrats refute this assertion.

Democrats on numerous occasions have come out in favor of increasing cutting edge technology for detecting drugs, weapons, illegal contraband, requesting more immigration judges to process the sharp rise of unlawful migration and to get rid of border security loopholes.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, stated during the response to the presidential address that, “We all agree that we need to secure our borders, while honoring our values: we can build the infrastructure and roads at our ports of entry; we can install new technology to scan cars and trucks for drugs coming into our nation; we can hire the personnel we need to facilitate trade and immigration at the border; and we can fund more innovation to detect unauthorized crossings.”

The only difference is that Democrats do not want to use government dollars to build a $5.7 billion “Physical Barrier.”

Why doesn’t Congress and the president compromise and simply allow the discussion over the border wall to continue after the budget passes so millions of Americans can continue to make money?

Even though the majority of illegal immigrants do not come through the Southern border (According to the Pew Research Center there were 12.0 million immigrants from Mexico living in the United States in 2016, and fewer than half of them (45%) were in the country illegally), the fear that Trump wants to put into U.S. citizens stems from his, and a few of his supporters, racist and nationalist tendencies towards those who try to immigrate from Mexico. 

Since the beginning of American history, Americans have always tried to find ways to halt immigration from non-white European countries (unless they were slaves). A few of these ways were the Immigration Act of 1924, the Chinese Exclusion Acts, Japanese internment camps, and most recently, the immigrant camps along the border for those seeking asylum.

One of Trump’s most famous quotes from the campaign trail was, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

This idea has been brought into his presidency and continues to have a lasting effect on how Mexicans are treated today. Like with the other forms of slowing down immigration in the past, people are afraid of what they don’t understand, and instead of trying to be inclusive and properly informed, they follow the ideas of a man who wants nothing more than to bring hate and fear into the hearts of his constituents.

If the wall is ever constructed, it would become a symbol that opposes the Statue of Liberty: representing hate and fear over freedom.