Editorial Board dismantles Trump’s wall


Throughout his campaign and still now in his presidency, there are three words that have become a sort of mantra to Donald Trump supporters: build the wall.

One of Trump’s campaign promises was to build a wall on our southern border with Mexico 一 and to make Mexico pay for it, though that part of the promise is often forgotten as Trump couldn’t deliver. This promise swayed many working-class people to support Trump, as there is a common misconception that immigrants coming from Mexico are stealing American jobs.

This commonly used piece of anti-immigration rhetoric isn’t very true. A coalition of professors from universities such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton investigated the economic effects of immigration. In their 550 page report, they state that no link could be found between immigration and unemployment or wages of native-born American workers. After the 2008 recession, many who weren’t employed rightfully felt as though their unemployment was unfair, however, choosing to blame immigrants for employment problems in America is just scapegoating.

While immigration isn’t linked to job loss, it is true that there are problems posed by insufficient border security. Trump famously claimed that when Mexicans crossed the border, it was typically criminals and drug dealers. This claim is wildly inaccurate and offensive to an entire nation of people, and is an example of the anti-immigrant rhetoric that the editorial board denounces.

The problem of drugs coming into our country is valid, however. While Mexican immigrants are not the problem, it is true that there exist cartels that bring dangerous narcotics into our country that should be stopped. Trump’s catch-all plan for every problem related to immigration is the wall, and it is our opinion that the wall will not be effective in stopping the trafficking of illegal drugs, nor will it be a real deterrent to would-be illegal immigrants.

According to Michael Dear, a professor who specializes in the U.S.-Mexico border at the University of California Berkeley, a wall would do nothing to stop drug trafficking. Drug traffickers prefer to smuggle narcotics through border checkpoints. These checkpoints offer consistency, so the traffickers know what to expect, whereas crossing the border in an open region can cause greater problems, such as open desert or river crossings.

In the case of illegal immigration, a wall could potentially physically stop illegal border crossings, however, the majority of illegal immigrants do not arrive here by crossing the border. The Center for Migration studies of New York reports that 68 percent of illegal immigrants get here by overstaying a legal visa. This means that they get permission from the United States government to visit the nation for a set period of time, but when that period is over, they simply stay in the country. A wall would do nothing to change this fact, as the people are entering the nation legally.

If immigration and border security reform is to be passed, it is our opinion that resources would be best allocated towards securing points of entry such as border checkpoints and ports. This is where most illegal smuggling takes place, and better securing these areas could, according to experts, have a large impact on narcotics dealing in America.

While Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric sadly may be good for getting him elected, it does little for true immigration and border problems, and only perpetuates racism and xenophobia. Likewise, the wall will do little to solve these problems, and the government’s time and resources would be better served looking for other avenues to combat smuggling and increase border security.