As the Trump presidency careens out of control – government shutting down, stock market plummeting, top advisers abandoning the sinking ship of state – Donald Trump’s supporters are still convinced that unless the United States builds a wall along the southern border this country will be overrun with illegal immigrants taking their jobs, living off their tax dollars, committing crimes and, worst of all, destroying our national sovereignty.
It is an article of faith with the alt-right that unless we defend our borders we lose our country. What pathetic, fear-mongering nonsense.
The Great Wall of Trump is so important to the frightened far right that Trump was willing to shut down the government in hopes of forcing Democrats to fund his folly. It’s about time he woke up to the fact that the majority of Americans oppose his wall.
But then, Trump is not the president of most Americans.
According to an NPR/PBS/Marist poll, more than two-thirds of Americans do not think the border wall is a priority. The one-third who do are people who will continue to support Trump even when it is proved he is guilty of colluding with the Russians, obstructing justice, lying under oath, making illegal profits from his presidency, using his charitable foundation as a private slush fund and molesting women.
A border wall is not needed because the problem of illegal immigration is nowhere near as dire as conservatives paint it. Border agents already stop thousands of people from illegally crossing the border without a wall. The same highly suspect numbers supporters use to argue the need for a wall – 3,755 terrorists, 17,526 criminals, 1,019 gang members and 3,028 “special interest aliens” stopped from entering the country in 2017 by the Department of Homeland Security – could just as easily be used to argue that we don’t need it at all.
Even if those numbers were accurate, the majority of those stops are not taking place on the southern border. And if Trump got his wall, don’t you imagine hordes of highly-motivated people, whether refugees fleeing poverty and violence or drug mules supplying the U.S. market, would find ways over, under, around and through it?
The truth is that borders do not define nations, laws do. If we are in danger of losing our country, it is because of the assault on the rule of law posed by the illegitimate presidency of Donald J. Trump and the Republican quislings who go along with his abuse of power.
Not only has America never needed walls to maintain its sovereign identity, preventing people from migrating to America is patently un-American. One of the indictments of King George III enshrined in the Declaration of Independence states, “He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.”
Old George opposed immigration for the same reason the Donald does: fear that new citizens might not support him.
No one favors open borders. Everyone wants immigrants carefully vetted. There is a process in place for that. But most of us do not want to be fenced in or to have refugees fenced out.
For the majority of Americans to be held hostage to the foolish fears of a mean-spirited minority is intolerable in 2019, which we can only hope will be the last year of the Trump administration.
Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.