This past Thursday, as Democrats’ fight with President Donald Trump over his demands for a border wall continued, he went down to the southern border itself, stopping in McAllen, Texas, for an on-camera roundtable discussion on border security. Although there was lots of ego boosting circulating during that meeting, Trump also got a dose of reality via Customs and Border Patrol’s Melissa Lucio. During a presentation of various threats, she showed the president an image of tunneling under some “wall” that’s already in place along the border just a short distance from where they were speaking.
That does not seem to have caused him to re-evaluate his claim that a wall can stop the well organized criminals he claims it will protect the United States from. Making the situation even worse, concurrent to his stop in McAllen, an image has widely circulated of a border wall prototype set up by the Department of Homeland Security that was easily sawed through. Thanks to their shift to pushing for a steel slat barrier, the Trump administration strategy has proven to be to throw up sticks and hope that they stop multinationally operating criminals in the 21st century, and even the sticks don’t work.
Still, Trump isn’t deterred. During the discussion with Lucio and others, he proclaimed:
‘If we had a barrier of any kind — a powerful barrier, whether it’s steel or concrete… we would stop that cold… We’re certainly under attack by criminal gangs, by the criminals themselves, by the human traffickers, and by drugs of all kinds. Much of it comes through the southern border.’
During the same discussion, he and the others present pointed to humanitarian challenges poised around the southern border that would also supposedly be stopped by a border wall. For instance, Lucio showed the president images of immigrants both struggling and deceased around border crossings, and supposedly — there would not only no longer be any transnational crime or drug trade, but no one would try to get across the border without documentation at all if there were a line of sticks up that could easily be sawed through.
The reality of the situation, of course, is much more nuanced. To start with, undocumented border crossings overall are at a low over a period of over forty years. To suggest that because a comparatively small number of those who do end up in the U.S. without documentation commit heinous crimes means that an entire population should be walled off is ludicrous and racist.
To suggest that a wall will stop those crimes is even more ludicrous. What about the immigrants who fly in? What about those whose papers expire? What about the crime that grows up right here in the United States via means like the MS-13 gang they love to point to?
They haven’t fleshed out any sorts of substantive public answers to these questions, preferring to continue fearmongering. Trump is now pointing to a supposedly newly forming caravan in Honduras as evidence that a wall needs to go up fast — but why exactly are asylum seekers fleeing violence so scary again?
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot