By John Stillman ‘19
Is a wall worth dividing the country? Since December 22, the United States government has been under a partial shutdown due to the inability to strike an agreement to fund the government between President Trump and congress. President Trump has demanded $5.7 billion for a border wall between the United States and Mexico, but Democrats in Congress have refused to give full funding.
Not only has this meant closing national parks and museums, but according to CBS News, over 800,000 federal employees have been without a paycheck for over one month! Along with hundreds of thousands of families hurting, according to S&P Global Ratings, the economy loses $1.2 billion in revenue each week the government is closed.
Senior Nick Zaino does not mind that workers have been going without pay, as he said, “The government employees will be getting back pay once the government reopens, so workers will still end up being paid.”
Despite workers getting back pay, is a wall worth the suffering of many Americans? For President Trump this seems to be, as he has remained firm that he will not reopen the government until he is given his wall.
Senior Nick Christiano believes President Trump should remain firm, as he said, “I do not no see why Democrats will not make a deal when our border security is at risk. The president wants to protect the country from illegal immigration.”
This past Saturday, the president offered a deal with Democrats that included protecting one million immigrants from deportation for three years in exchange for his border wall funding.
Despite the offer, Democrats rejected this idea, as it did not promise permanent protections. Democrats also remained firm that the United States does not need a costly and ineffective border wall, but are open to fund increased border security.
Senior and Politics Club President Dan Mueller believes both sides need to compromise. He said, “Both sides are not putting the country first and need to put politics aside the sake of the nation. America was built on compromise”
President Trump’s idea that we have a national humanitarian crisis on the US-Mexico border is not only an exaggeration, but the safety at the United States-Mexico border has improved drastically since 2000. According to NPR, illegal border crossings were lower in the most recent fiscal year than in years before. President Trump’s theory that a border wall will crack down on the smuggling of drugs is extremely misleading, as NPR says, “According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, most illegal drugs imported to the U.S. from Mexico are smuggled through legal ports of entry. Only a small fraction comes through parts of the border that would be covered by a wall.”
Also, wasn’t the wall supposed to be paid for by Mexico? That’s what Donald Trump constantly said throughout the 2016 election cycle. Now, the American taxpayers are stuck with the hefty bill. A wall will only drive us further into debt when we could be using the $5.7 billion for increased border security or towards a real humanitarian crisis: the opioid epidemic.
Walls don’t work, Mr. President; look at the history books. It’s time to let go of your ego, stop holding innocent families hostage, and reopen the government.