Published Monday, January 28, 2019 in The Mountaineer
B\y Norm Hoffmann
The wall is a lie. Trump’s border wall initially was a lie, it is now a lie, and it will always be a lie. It is a lie that Trump always wanted to build a wall. It is a lie that a wall will stop drugs. It is a lie that a wall is needed to keep people out of the US.
During the campaign of 2016, the wall chant was a way to energize the base, but Trump did not expect to win so he never intended to actually build a wall. When he got elected, it was a promise that was not a priority. His initial budget was for less than two billion for general security. During the past two years with an all Republican Congress, the wall was not an issue to be funded. Only when a wall became an issue for Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Mark Meadows did it become an issue for Trump.
The wall was a convenient way to remind Trump to talk about border security and make people afraid of brown folks entering the US from Mexico. The wall was, and is, a symbol for fear. According to people in the Trump campaign, it initially was simply a technique for Trump in his rallies to get people thinking about people coming from Mexico.
The contention that the wall will stop drugs is a lie. Most of the drugs enter the US through current ports of entry because we have not employed sufficient technology and personnel to adequately detect drugs being brought in. A wall is not a solution. Many of the drugs come from the sea. China makes fentanyl, the lethal opiate that is responsible for many of the overdoses. Does it make sense for people in China to ship fentanyl to Mexico and then smuggle it into the US? Of course not. More than 10 million containers from ships enter the US each year – many of them from China. Only a small fraction of those containers are inspected because we do not allocate resources to do it. Saying the wall will stop drugs is a lie.
The vast majority of the people at the border with Mexico are seeking asylum from troubled Central American countries. They present at the proper entry locations. However, Trump administration policy is to not let them apply for asylum. Saying that a wall in the desert will stop asylum seekers is a lie. They are the ones who want to come legally.
Many of the areas currently without constructed barriers already have natural barriers. Parts of the Rio Grande River have high banks that act as a barrier. Other areas have other natural obstacles. Saying that building walls in these places is a solution is a lie.
Where there are open spaces, land is typically under private ownership. To build a wall, the Trump administration would have to take those lands from US citizens who own the land. Saying that these people want the government to take their land and build a wall is a lie. They want to keep their land. Surveillance technology and more border personnel are more logical solutions.
Trump and his officials say we have a crisis at the southern border. This is also a lie. Border crossings of all kinds are down from previous years. We have no crisis other than the one Trump made by turning people away instead of processing asylum applications.
The government shutdown is the real crisis. That is not a lie. It like the wall issue was created by Trump, who is totally responsible. Why are Trump and Mark Meadows so anxious to shut the government down? Meadows was active on this in 2013 and again now in urging Trump to do the shutdown. Maybe you should ask Meadows and his supporters who are writing letters to the editor praising him why shutting down the government is a good thing.