I would like to start by commenting that I wish the American people would read more. If citizens would actually read the reports that come out of the Trump administration, and specifically from the DOJ and DHS, they would realize that a wall at the southern border would be a colossal waste of taxpayers dollars. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for secure borders, but a wall is not the way to go. For example, according to DHS’s own account, the majority of “terrorists” coming across our borders are coming mainly through airports and the northern border. Amazingly, the majority of illegal immigration in this country is not even from the southern border. It comes from the overstay of visas, issued legally through embassies around the world.
Well, what about the transport of drugs across the border?
Drugs in this country come across the southern border through legal ports. They are smuggled in cars and trucks, we have all seen the images. Moreover, the dangerous opioid Fentanyl comes through shipping ports from China or from over prescription and the pushing of these drugs from big Pharma (who actually developed these drugs and advertised them as not addictive!). If drugs come across the southern border undetected, it is more often than not through a tunnel 70 feet below ground of which ICE has discovered over 170 of these since 1990, one just recently. So, again, a wall will not fix this. Now don’t take my word, read the administration’s own reports.
Well what about the caravan?
Ok, what about it? Presenting oneself at a legal entry point on the southern border is completely legal by law and international law, to which our country signed onto many years ago. The overwhelming vast majority of people who present at the southern border are asking for asylum, again completely legal. The problem arises when these persons present, but our government has decreased the number of allowed asylum seekers by a pen stroke, has reduced the number of judges who hear these cases at the border, and have held the ones who do get in for an indefinite amount of time, something the Obama administration was taken to court over. But what are the facts? Did you know migrants to our southern border are at a 45-year low? Of the total number of immigrants who enter our country every day, the southern border is a small percentage of that total, and has been declining. The question becomes what kind of country do we want to give our children: one where diversity is valued, compassion is the model and immigrants are given a chance? Or a country where we all live behind walls, empathy is not a value we encourage, and immigrants are harassed, threatened, bullied and sometimes shot because they “look different” than white America? Are we a nation of courage or fear?
But what about criminals from the southern border?
Did you know that immigrants who are released into our nation commit crimes at a lower rate than native born citizens? Did you know that immigrants who are released will return for all court dates at a rate of 92 percent? The fact is crime is committed in this country daily, many times violent crime. The question becomes are we going to spend billions of dollars on a wall to catch an extremely small number of criminals? The concept of diminishing returns comes to mind. Yes, all crime is bad, but the amount of money for a southern wall will not stop the crime. After all, I don’t think the promise was American taxpayers would pay for the wall. There are many other, better and more effective ways to achieve security - key word, security.
And lastly, declaring a state of emergency to get a wall?
Again, please read one of the myriad of books published about how a democracy slides into a dictatorship. Such an action shortcuts the Constitution, gives the presidency extraordinary powers without oversight, would put our military on the southern border over a crisis that really doesn’t exist, and take money away from Americans hurting from devastating hurricanes, fires, and numerous disasters My question, is when will our country start thinking again? Reading? Ferreting out the facts from the rhetoric? Making policy based on some sense of research or fact? But what do I know, I’m just a mathematician; one of those “elites” like other researchers or scientists who apparently have no place in this administration. Last time I heard the “elites” vilified was out of the mouth of a dictator by the name of Putin.