Opinion: Give Up the Wall, Trump!

By Brian Ramon-Miron

The United States, a rich country, a wonderful place where we can be creative, free, and ourselves. We as one are all part of a melting pot of distinct races, religions, gender, and cultures. Most of us are kind and respect each other. We have friends, and lots of people love us. President Donald Trump loves his country. Maybe a little too much. He wants to build a border wall to keep his interests safe instead of making bridges with our neighbors, Canada and Mexico.

The border wall is biased and unnecessary. I believe the wall won’t end anything, but make things even worse. The wall wouldn’t deter illegal immigration and drug smuggling, it’s a hostile gesture instead of protection, and it isn’t physically possible to cover the whole 1,933 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. Some argue that the wall is capable of covering the whole border, it will stop illegal immigration and end drug smuggling, but in reality, that is not possible.

The border between the U.S. and Mexico is one of the most controversial topics in our country today, the reason behind the longest government shutdown in history. Some want a barrier ranging from 21 feet to 51 feet high, while others say it is a sign of racism and hate. Donald Trump says the United States needs the wall to stop illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and it will protect the country from so-called terrorists and rapists. Experts say the wall isn’t going to help anything. In fact, it will create new problems.

First, the wall would not work to stop illegal immigration or illegal drug smuggling. Immigration will and can still happen in many diverse forms. Immigrants from other countries can come through airplane, boat, and even by car with a legal visa. In fact, more than 60% of undocumented immigrants overstayed a legal travel visa, according to The Center for Migration Studies (CMS). It is a misconception that most immigrants sneak across the border. About 190,000 people crossed the border illegally in 2016, according to the CMS. The estimated number of undocumented immigrants in the United States has actually shrunk, down to 10.6 million in 2017 from 11.7 million in 2010.

Another misconception is that most illegal drugs are smuggled across the border. Most drugs that are used in the U.S. illegally usually arrive in legal ports of entry, such as airports and boat docks. The majority of illegal drug base seizures aren’t happening just in Mexico. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics, 90 percent of the heroin seized along the border, 88 percent of cocaine, 87 percent of methamphetamine, and 80 percent of fentanyl in the first 11 months of the 2018 fiscal year was caught trying to be smuggled in at legal crossing points. Yes, select drugs originate from Latin America, but not all. All over the world, drugs are manufactured. Cocaine, for example, is made more in Colombia than in Mexico. Ecstasy labs are common in the Netherlands, Asia, and Canada. But many use racial stereotypes as an excuse to not know the truth.  

Further, a wall will waste money that could be used to help citizens to do much more, such as creating new programs to benefit our future, and time that can be used to solve other important problems in our world. Some great ideas to use the $5 .7 billion that Trump is asking for is to give free healthcare to millions of citizens. Our country is one of those countries that still doesn’t provide free healthcare. We can also improve our education by providing freshly cooked in-school lunches and test lead in water for schools. Other countries such as Japan and Mexico provide fresh, local, delicious foods such as locally-grown salads, lightly-fried meat, and school-made desserts.

Additionally, the wall is a hostile gesture instead of a form of protection. Donald Trump has used it to make racist comments towards Mexicans and other ethnicities. In his words, “They are not our friend, believe me. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”  As a Mexican-American, I know first-hand the worth of my people. I find his words deeply offensive and ignorant.

In the past two years, thousands of children have been separated from their families at the border under Trump’s “Zero Tolerance Policy.” I believe this is inhumane and should not be tolerated by any civilized country.

There is no question our immigration policies need to be fixed. But the wall is not the solution.

The wall won’t work anyway. People who want to will be able to go over or under the wall in places where Border Patrol agents won’t find them. The wall has been described as a medieval solution to a modern problem.  

Geographically, a wall is not practical. Many parts of the 1,933-mile U.S.-Mexico border are natural habitats and barriers. The Rio Grande is located along the border, and many mammals have made those areas as their habitats. Many animals are still recovering after overhunting in the years of making a border wall. Some animals that are getting affected are Florida panthers, ocelots, and much more. Animals don’t deserve to be caged or separated from their resources and families. Think about it: Would you like to be on one side separated from your parents or children, not knowing if you would ever see them again? 

In Mexico right now, the government is so corrupt that being successful is a way to get you robbed, harassed, and even killed. Money in Mexico can sometimes be scarce, and poverty is relatively common. People need to make money to live and eat. Some people just want to escape their previous lives, and start fresh in a new country.  Many others are fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. Why else would people risk everything to cross into the United States?

Instead of spending resources on foolish, symbolic solutions, why not invest in economic development in Central and Latin America? Why not tackle drug problems here at home?

In conclusion, the border wall will undoubtedly make our situation worse. The wall won’t deter anything, it is a hostile gesture instead of protection, and it isn’t practical to cover the US-Mexico border. Some believe that the wall will end actions that happen around the border. In reality, the wall will not stop anything, and drug smuggling and immigration is going to continue happening. I encourage you to think about the animals living on the border, the countless families being separated every day, and all the money being spent that could benefit U.S. citizens. This wall will keep ruining many things, and we need to end it now!

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