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Political Opinion- Government Shutdown

By Morgan Jacobsen


The government shutdown, the latest looming political event. And (of course) there are two different sides to the story. A shutdown occurs when Congress fails to pass a budget, usually over a policy dispute. The policy dispute of our time is the measly 5.7 billion dollars that the Trump administration requested for increased border security, otherwise known as The Wall. A well known side effect of a government shutdown is the furlough of all “non-essential” employees. Other employees still have to show up to work, without pay. This shutdown greatly affected my family, as I am the daughter of two federal agents. Even our dog was furloughed. In this article I discuss the differing arguments pertaining to the effectiveness and controversies surrounding increased border security.

Most people who oppose the extra 5.7 billion dollars disagree on principle. Some say The Wall represents racism or xenophobia. The reality of the situation is that increased border security has been an issue for some time, like in 2006 when Schumer and Feinstein voted for increased border fencing, or in 2009 when the views of Senator Schumer sounded very similar to President Trump’s current views. Furthermore, the most popular argument against this act of increased border security is that it is morally wrong and that, in the words of Mrs. Clinton, “We build bridges not walls.” The United States is a nation. It has borders. It is illegal to cross borders without the permission of the government. A wall on our border is nothing more than a physical manifestation of a law that exists. Therefore, if you oppose the idea of a wall on the grounds that it is immoral, you oppose the enforcement of a law. If this is the case I advise that you vie to completely abolish the law you disagree with.

The other argument against the Wall is that it is ineffective. That this 5.7 Billion dollars would simply be wasted because a wall would not help our current situation. This argument is partly correct: a Wall on our southern border will not solve all of our problems, but Carla Provost - the Chief of U.S Border Patrol - notes that “It certainly helps. It's not a be all end all. It's a part of a system. We need the technology, we need that infrastructure.”

Provost further emphasized the need for increased technology, personnel, and infrastructure in addition to added wall structures. This proposed wall is not Trump’s wall. It has been deemed necessary by people who put themselves in harm’s way for our security. The idea of a wall has been resisted and resented by the political left as soon as then-candidate Trump put his name on it. This display of political pettiness should not be disregarded. It marks a time when politicians resisted a minor spending bill for soley political reasons, resulting in diminished national security and the furlough of hundreds of thousands of government employees. And it could have all been avoided.

In 2018, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act was proposed. This bill would have provided a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers (young undocumented immigrants) in exchange for 25 billion dollars of wall funding. This bill was rejected by Democrats as it fulfilled more Republican objectives than Democrat. This past government shutdown has been a similarly prominent display of partisan pettiness as there is nothing inherently wrong with an extra 5.7 billion dollars of border security funding other than the fact that it is endorsed by President Trump and has become a symbol of his controversial presidency. The partisan pettiness is exemplified by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Dismissing the effort as “futile,” Schumer blocked a bill to pay the 42,000 members of the Coast Guard who make up an important branch of our armed forces.

In summation, this past shutdown - the longest in U.S history - has been a result of the ongoing political struggle between the right and left regarding the controversial topic of illegal immigration. It exemplifies obstructionist politics. It has been a complete waste of our time and money, and may continue to be. President Trump has threatened another government shutdown if an agreement regarding border security cannot be made. Our national security should not be a partisan issue. Just because the construction of a wall is associated with President Trump does not make it inherently unjust or ineffective. No, simply constructing a wall will not solve the entirety of our issues on the southern border but it is part of a plan of action endorsed by Homeland Security.

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