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How Are the Shutdown and the Wall Connected?

By Clara Page


The recent government shutdown and the issue of the border wall are, like headphones that have been in your backpack for awhile, inextricably linked.

The shutdown was caused by the border wall. Congress refused to allocate billions of dollars for the project, so the president rejected the budget. This standoff lasted 35 days, until Nancy Pelosi (D) and Chuck Schumer (D) came up with a short-term spending plan that President Trump would approve.

Who’s to Blame?

Placing blame is nearly impossible. This issue is highly partisan. Republicans blame Democrats, and Democrats blame Republicans. Really, it’s less an issue of blame and more an issue of ideology. Whether or not you think the wall is needed completely shapes your view of the issue.

So, then, the question becomes:

Do We Need a Wall?

Largely, there are two reasons a person might support a wall on the Southern border. They are as follows:

The wall is a symbol. America needs to show that it will no longer tolerate undocumented immigration. Building a massive physical barrier may not be the most effective deterrent, but it will show we mean business.

The wall is a necessity. America’s borders are under attack. Drugs flow freely through the deserts separating the United States and Mexico, as do drug dealers and other, more violent criminals. Honest people are being robbed, assaulted, and worse.

Both of these arguments might be justifiable, if cost-benefit analyses and facts backed them up. However, they do not.

America is a nation of immigrants. Fact. Native Americans make up only 2% of the United States population, meaning the other 319,000,000 million citizens did not originate here. No matter how many walls are built, reality will still exist.

From a financial standpoint, it isn’t worth spending nearly six billion dollars to erase a legacy of love and acceptance.

The other argument for the wall is practical.

Drugs are creeping into the United States. Only concrete and steel will keep them out. This is simply false. The “vast majority” of heroin and other opiates enter the country via official ports of entry.

Illegal immigrants, the other reason President Trump calls for a wall, also prove not to be the boogeymen they’re cast as. In fact, they’re far less criminally active than their legal and natural-born counterparts.

What’s the Wall Really About?

Alright.

The wall is not about symbolism, and it’s not about security. If it was about that, the president wouldn’t be touting the dangers of drug cartels and illegal immigrants. He would be focusing on improving screening at legal entry sites.

So, why shut down the government? Factual analysis sheds light on the Democrat’s reasoning; they were charged with creating the best possible budget. Allocating money for a vanity project wasn’t a part of that.

As for President Trump? He built his campaign on promises. One of them was a wall.

Now, it’s possible that, even with all the knowledge in the world at his fingertips, he overlooked the data referenced in this very article. It’s possible that he is concerned for the safety and well-being of Americans, and that he believes building a wall is the only way to protect them.

Isn’t it more likely, though, that he knew a wall couldn’t keep history out, rid the United States of drugs that don’t pass through the open border, or stop a nonexistent crime spree? That he knew all of those things, and still decided to fight for a political win?

If I were one of the hundreds of thousands of government employees that suffered during the shutdown, I would want the President held accountable for placing his approval ratings ahead of their mortgages, families, and lives. He caused real pain, then couldn’t even be bothered to mention the Americans who were hurt during his State of the Union. It had to be, as always, all about him.

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