By JOSEPH QUESADA
Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign amassed the support of millions of Americans nationwide. His run at a 2016 presidential victory called for the use of outlandish publicity tactics and unorthodox campaign promises that redefined the office of President in our country. The now 45th president of the US made promises of lower unemployment rates, increasingly strict foreign trade regulations, boosts in our national economy and heightened border control forces along our Southern border. Trump was an active participant in arguing against illegal immigration from Mexico and other Southern countries into the US during his campaign. Trump felt that solving this issue would allocate more jobs for unemployed American citizens and increase national security. His solution to the insurmountable task was to build a giant wall spanning the length of the US-Mexico border.
Trump has not shied away from his stance on undocumented, illegal immigrants, as he has been an outward critic of the flow of migrants South, up into the US for some time now. Trump’s main claim is that these undocumented migrants flow into America and subsequently take jobs and impose themselves in a country that is not rightfully theirs. According to BBC News, Trump has stated, “All Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration,” and also claimed, “We are out of space to hold them and we have no way to promptly return them back home to their country.” His solution to the problem is a giant concrete and steel wall that will stretch the length of the Southern border and act as a literal barrier to prevent illegal migration.
This idea has caused mass controversy and unrest among citizens since Trump first proposed the idea. Most of the country is split down the middle, with one half supporting the construction of the wall and the other disapproving. The biggest issue that most Americans find fault in is how Trump will even pay for the wall. According to an estimate recorded by the statistician, Liberty Vittert, estimated costs for the 2,000-mile wall range vastly, costing between 8 and 70 billion dollars depending on the type of wall constructed and which security features will be put into effect. Trump has discussed receiving money from Congress or having Mexico pay for the wall. Many argue that the US could find stronger border control solutions and utilize that large sum of money in other, more reasonable ways. Regardless of how he plans to pull it off, the construction of this wall will not go without its fair share of criticism and controversy.
Skeptics of the wall claim that it will be an ineffective and expensive “solution” to a seemingly minuscule problem that can potentially be solved in a variety of other ways. Ethan Sibbet, a senior at Citrus Valley voiced his disapproval of the wall, stating, “This is a fourth-grade solution to the problem of immigration.” This statement correlates with a study done by CBS news that states 59% of Americans do not support the wall. On the other side of the spectrum, those in favor of the wall back their position with the idea that it will boost the economy, allocate jobs to out of work Americans and overall serve as a fix to the longtime problem of illegal immigration. Beaumont, a history teacher at Citrus Valley, gave insight into the fact that politics in our country are often times blown out of proportion, and everyday issues are never solved due to tension and a lack of communication. “Our government must stop politicizing this issue to the point where nothing gets solved. Both sides of the aisle must be able to communicate and work together for a solution,” Beaumont said.
President Trump delivered his State of the Union Address on Feb. 5 and took time to update the state of immigration in the US. He began by stating, “Now is the time for the Congress to show the world that America is committed to ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers and human traffickers out of business.” He went on to explain that our open borders are allowing violence to come into the US via gangs, drug cartels, and sex trafficking businesses that originate in Southern countries. President Trump then outlined his plan to Congress, stating, “My Administration has sent to the Congress a commonsense proposal to end the crisis on our southern border. It includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling and plans for a new physical barrier, or wall, to secure the vast areas between our ports of entry. In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall — but the proper wall never got built. I’ll get it built.”
Trump made his first comments on the wall during his campaign in 2015 when he stated, “I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.” Now into the second month of 2019, little to no progress on the wall has been made, and the government is unsure if this project will ever even be put into place. Illegal immigration is a legitimate problem that the U.S. must give attention to and not back away from. Whether or not a giant wall is a solution to this problem, the US must find a way to move past politics and focus on the real matter at hand.