Any Which Way You Slice It, A Wall is a Bad Idea

I read President Trump’s remarks on immigration and the need for a border wall this morning, and I have to say I just don’t see the validity of the argument he’s making. It’s not that I think the examples he used aren’t impactful. You’d have to be heartless not to care about the people involved in this debate. The immigrants who want to come to the country, the people he listed who had been murdered or brutalized.

But his interpretation of those events and those people ends up in such a wildly different place than the logic leads me. This was his big chance to persuade the nation that what we need now more than anything else is a giant wall on our southern border. A wall that will cost us billions of dollars.

I think sometimes that “billions of dollars” line gets tossed around a little too easily. As if this is somehow an insignificant amount of money. In 2018, the federal budget was $4.4 trillion. Its expected intake from taxes and revenues? $3.4 trillion. So right off, we’re $1 trillion in the hole. But $5 billion is just less than a tenth of a percent of what we’re planning on taking in. Chump change, right? So why don’t we just spend it?

But remember, this is the same administration looking to cut other areas of the federal budget. $6 billion in education. $6.8 billion from Housing and Urban Development. $2.1 billion from the EPA. I would like to see a balanced budget, but the bottom line for me is where will the money do the most good?

I don’t want people murdered in this country. I assume almost all Americans share that opinion (except, I suppose, the people going around murdering other people). I also would like immigrants to come legally. My wife is a legal immigrant. I’ve been through the process and seen it first hand. It’s a real pain. I’d love to see it made more straightforward and simple. (A great area for a budget cut would be all the red tape we had to go through to get her passport. Just saying.)

But will a giant wall on the border of Mexico do anything to stop the murders, the drugs, and the illegal immigration? The very idea just doesn’t pass the sniff test. We are a huge nation. Stopping up one border will only shift the focus to a different border. And at the end of the day, we’ll be sitting there with a big wall that does no good.

I’m disappointed that Trump continues to demonize immigrants to try and justify his nonsensical proposals. He makes it seem as if there’s a flood of criminals massed at that border. As if everyone who wants to come into this country just can’t wait to rape and pillage. Maybe he’s thinking of Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyworld, I don’t know.

My experience has been that people are afraid of things they don’t know. When you get to personally know immigrants, you stop being afraid of them. I’ve been around many for decades. They are hard working, dedicated people, and they’re no different than you or me. Are there bad people among them? Sure. Just like there are bad Americans.

But for a populist like Trump to retain power, there needs to be an enemy. Someone to blame. And immigrants are often the easiest ones to paint a target on.

If he wants to solve the murders, there must be some better way to spend billions of dollars than a giant steel wall. I don’t care who supported it or wanted what when where or why. Enough with the wall. There are more important matters to debate than a molehill our President has decided to wage war over.

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