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We first heard of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in June 2015 when then-businessman Donald Trump announced he was running for president. (You know, right when American politics stopped making any sense.) It was arguably one of his biggest talking points during his presidential candidacy, tied together with his fearmongering about illegal immigration and “Mexican rapists.” At the time, he vowed to make Mexico pay for the wall (they refused) and threatened to shut down the U.S. government (which he did) if he didn’t get the necessary funding for it.
TRUMP VS. THE WORLD
The way POTUS goes on about it, you’d be forgiven for thinking the U.S.-Mexico border is a free-for-all for illegal immigrants with hands in pockets, drugs in tow.
But the real thing looks a bit different.
Before Trump (actually even now, since his countrywide border wall has yet to physically exist), the border between the United States and its southern neighbour is partially defined by a series of walls and fences with the spaces in between secured by cameras and motion sensors, all manned by the U.S. Border Patrol. Walls and fencing along the border as it currently stands cover 670 of the 2,000 miles, or roughly 33.5%.
The physical barriers didn’t exist before 1994; they were one part of a larger response to drug smuggling and illegal immigration. So, yeah – it doesn’t seem like Trump is totally out to lunch on his reasons for wanting to increase border security, but bear in mind that 1994 was 25 years ago. Between 2005 and 2015, for example, the number of illegal immigrants crossing at the U.S.-Mexico border decreased by 90% from 1.7 million to around 170,000. And that’s without a $25 billion border wall.
Even still, statistics showed that in 2016, there were 5.6 million “unauthorized immigrants” from Mexico alone. To put it in perspective, that’s more than double the population of Houston, Texas, or roughly 15.25% of Canada’s total population. The point has also been made (and, we think, driven home, as federal workers continue to go without a paycheque in the longest government shutdown in the history of the U.S.) that until Trump gets his wall, he (and the government) will focus on nothing else. The argument states that, as far back as the ancient civilizations, societies that believe they are under a security threat can think of nothing else until that threat is answered, causing cultural development to flounder. In other words, at this point there are definite benefits to just giving Trump his damn wall – such as putting food on the table for 420,000 families and allowing the world to freakin’ move on already. (Don’t shoot the devil’s advocate.)
Still, never mind the marked improvement in border security over the last 25 years because none of that matters when it comes to fearmongering for votes and then having to fulfill those campaign promises. (Ahem.)
The border wall is a symbol of a stricter immigration policy under the Trump
regime administration. Trump’s policies include Executive Order 13769, or the travel ban on seven largely-Muslim countries regardless of legal visas (those countries being Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen); supporting a mass deportation of undocumented immigrants; and of course Executive Order 13767, which is the government order for the wall that very few are actually listening to.
In sum, a 2,000-mile-long wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is proving to be a painful gash on the map of North America and, frankly, the world.
BLOOD IN THE CUT
Trump’s stance on the U.S.-Mexico border has been controversial to say the least, and the actions carried out there on his orders have been nothing short of complete and utter human rights violations, not to mention (child) abuse, kidnapping, and murder. (Make America great again, and all…) Two events have really served to highlight these issues: the separation of children from their parents as part of the “zero tolerance” response to illegal immigrants (and refugees) and the migrant caravan that arrived at the border from Central America in November 2018.
While the caravan of about 1,200 people dominated news headlines in the second half of last year, an estimated 3,000 children (note that official reports are vague on the exact head count) had sat in what have been nicknamed “ice boxes” and “dog kennels” under “a policy of enforced hunger, enforced dehydration, and enforced sleeplessness coupled with routine insults and physical assaults,” according to the executive director at the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, Peter Schey. The kennels are windowless, the bathrooms unsanitary, and they are not permitted or helped to bathe.
This is what is happening in the U.S. to thousands of children and their parents right now, as you read this.
Are you outraged yet?
And while all the media attention is focused on the government shutdown caused specifically by Trump’s petulant demands for a multi-billion-dollar wall (which he claims will keep those nasty criminals on their side of the border), his modern-day concentration camps have started yielding dead bodies.
Two children have died in the hands of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (that we know of) (so far), which POTUS blames on
Democrats pre-existing illnesses that followed them across the border, but the facts contradict those claims.
Unsurprisingly, the man lying to refute responsibility for those kids’ deaths also took no issue with using tear gas on the children being brought across the border with their families when the caravan landed in November. The news stories of the migrant caravan involve two competing narratives: there’s the one preached by POTUS that says the migrants have criminal intent and are national security threats; and then there’s the one backed by U.S. and UN lawmakers defining the migrants as asylum seekers who are legally allowed to cross the border peacefully to seek refuge. But, yes – let’s tear gas them just in case.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If there’s one positive that could come of this mess, it’s that while money talks, the lack of money talks trash — and the current government shutdown, leaving hundreds of thousands of Americans without their paycheques for the duration, is not making Trump the target of much praise.
He’s caught between a rock and a hard place with no chance of winning; at present, the only alternative to the current circumstances is for him to break his main campaign promise. The New York Times paints a merry picture when it says that Trump’s border wall is basically boxing him into a corner — and, possibly, pushing him out of the White House.