After a record breaking 35-day government shutdown, Trump gave the American legislature until Feb. 15 to agree on funding for the border; When that didn’t happen, our president called a national emergency.
His actions are based on this idea that the nation is under siege from “criminal immigrants and other dark forces.” The president believes there is a national security crisis and a humanitarian crisis at the border. Trump is using this border wall as a ploy to get the support of nationalistic Americans to keep his campaign afloat. He’s even changed his famous slogan from “Build the Wall” to “Finish the Wall.” He is trying to convince his supporters that the border barrier that they have imagined is already real.
Which it is.
There are walls at every port of entry on the US/Mexico border. Large, twenty-foot walls made out of metal beams. Big coils of razor wire and large swaths of uninhabited land between the border and civilization, teeming with Border Patrol, on the American side. There are already a lot of border protection measures in place. But a wall, in and of itself, is not a deterrent. The wall now only stretches for one mile in either direction at every port of entry. You can walk around the wall. Border Patrol and large areas of hard natural terrain are bigger deterrents. But people are still making the trip. The wall and razor wire in place right now is all theater.
It is theater for the people in this country who want to see more border security. I would argue it is theater for the racist people in this country, who don’t want to see certain people immigrate to this country – a country founded by immigrants. The majority of people entering this country are not entering through our southern border. Most illegal immigration occurs from people flying into this country – a wall doesn’t stop air traffic. A wall does not address the people overstaying visas. Only fixing the problems in our immigration system will affect the amount of people entering this country illegally. Our immigration system is failing the people who want to enter this country legally.
Emily Rodden is a third-year student majoring in anthropology. ER861398@wcupa.edu