A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation. These are the words of Ronald Reagan, who served as president of the United States from 1981 to 1989, and they are now being repeated by our incumbent president, Donald Trump. Despite nearly 30 years passing, and with America’s increasing concerns over matters abroad, our nation’s borders at home are becoming more of a major concern.
In October of 2018, an immigration rights group called Pueblo Sin Frontéras (meaning “People Without Borders”) gathered more than 160 Hondurans, forming a migrant caravan that would reach the U.S. southern border to apply for asylum. By early November, the caravan amassed more than 5,000 members, with more than 95% of them being adult males. A common misconception spread by online liberal media sources is that a majority of the caravan comprises of families fleeing gang violence. While there are indeed women and children eluding violence in their homeland, the vast majority of caravan members are unmarried men, an estimated 60% of whom have paid “coyotes” (guides who are paid to smuggle people across borders) so they can find a better life in America−and rightfully so. In Guatemala and El Salvador, GDP growth rates have stagnated at just over 2%, and more than 66% of Hondurans currently live in poverty.
Unfortunately, caravan members are the victims of a bitter plot by left-wing organizations to demean American sovereignty. Movements like #AbolishICE have garnered nationwide momentum, with 72% of Democrats supporting measures to eliminate U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to Pew Research Center. While the caravan is full of legitimate refugees and men in search of work, left-leaning American citizens have decided to take advantage of refugees’ struggles and position themselves as saviors of a broken immigration system. They argue that Mr. Trump’s presidency has demeaned all immigrants and people of color. His sending of 5,000 troops to the southern border is a hate crime against innocent families and children. In reality, Mr. Trump is taking the same stance on immigration as his two predecessors, both of whom sent a combined number of 7,000 National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border.
There is also the belief that Mr. Trump’s view of immigrants is bigoted, xenophobic, racist, and threatens the lives of foreign-born U.S. citizens. Notable figures like Stephen King have attacked our president, saying that the migrants are simply “scared and hungry people.” Yet what these people fail to recognize is that preventing these illegal immigrants from entering our country is for our citizens’ best interests. Also, for over 30 years, America has allowed more than 1 million legal immigrants into the US annually, the largest number out of any country in the world. This number actually increased during Mr. Trump’s first year in office, reaching to more than 1.2 million immigrants in 2017. While legal immigration and work visas have helped strengthen America’s diversity and foreign competence, there are legitimate concerns that illegal immigration has negative impacts on America’s economy and political stability. As of 2017, more than 51% of immigrants (both legal and illegal) were taking advantage of social welfare benefits, including Medicaid and food stamps. The 10.7 million illegal immigrants who currently reside in the U.S., however, do not pay federal income or state taxes to fund these programs, burdening U.S. citizens and legal immigrants with the programs’ overdrawn budget costs.
The solution, as controversial as it is, must be to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. While many opponents of the wall argue that U.S. Customs and Border Protection already has a wall in place, this is simply not true. In separate documentaries by the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC) and Cable News Network (CNN), reporters reveal that the wall currently in place is full of gaps, with one 600-mile stretch in Texas having no physical barrier whatsoever. In the BBC’s documentary, a Texas homeowner’s security footage shows drug smugglers and coyotes illegally crossing the border in broad daylight. In sections of the border that do have a barrier, particularly along New Mexico, walls are completely derelict. Thin strands of chicken fence, standing no more than 2 feet from the ground, can sometimes act as our nation’s border.
Two years into Donald Trump’s presidency has revealed a sharp—and often partisan— division between people who act on feelings and people who act on truth. Unfortunately, many citizens fall into the former, as they find it more convenient to criticize the president rather than to listen. With this recent migrant caravan, these emotionally-driven people have struggled to find leverage to fight against the presidency, resorting to using innocent refugees as collateral for their own agenda. If American citizens want to preserve the American dream so that others can legally attain it, then our actions must transcend political divisions and supersede emotions. Only by seeking the truth and acting upon facts, not emotions, can we lead this nation to a future of prosperity for posterity.
Jaron Schreiber / Online Editor