It's not about national security: Here's the insidious truth behind Trump's border wall

It's not about national security: Here's the insidious truth behind Trump's border wall
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Throughout history nations have built walls to protect them from invaders, or to keep their people from escaping. China built the Great Wall to protect itself from invaders, but:


The Manchus were finally able to cross the Great Wall in 1644, after Beijing had already fallen to Li Zicheng's rebels. Before this time, the Manchus had crossed the Great Wall multiple times to raid, but this time it was for conquest…The Manchus quickly seized Beijing, and eventually defeated both the rebel-founded Shun dynasty and the remaining Ming resistance, establishing the Qing dynasty rule over all of China.

Then we have the Berlin Wall, and the Inter-German border, effective border controls, with some escapes to a brave and hardy few, but they only lasted 28 years, and were taken down by the very people they were supposed to keep in place.

The United States Southern border is 1,954 miles long. Of that approximately 700 miles is covered with border walls of various shapes and sizes, and the rest of the border the terrain itself is a barrier. Of course neither walls nor terrain will stop someone determined to cross. Smugglers have dug sophisticated tunnels under the border to bring in their goods.

The tunnels were more than 200m (656ft) long and had lighting and ventilation.

A US agent said their design "wasn't something that an ordinary miner could have put together". The first tunnel, discovered by the Mexican army on Wednesday, was still unfinished. It started underneath a bathroom sink in a warehouse in Tijuana.

The second tunnel led from an ice plant in the Mexican town of San Luis Rio Colorado to a storage room in what officials described as a "nondescript building" in San Luis, Arizona.

It ran beneath the border at a depth of 16m (55ft) and was lined with plywood.

Drug smugglers do not always cross the border, or go under the border, they go around it.

"In the early days of this task force - and we've been around for 26 years - we saw much higher movement using non-commercial aircraft to fly the drugs northwards.

"[Now] well over 95% of the drugs are moving on the water via container ships, non-commercial vessels, pleasure boats, sail boats, fishing boats. They also have fast boats which try to outrun our law enforcement assets.

"We've seen growing use of self-propelled semi-submersibles (SPSSs) - low-profile vessels made out of marine-grade plywood [and] fibreglass with commercial engines.

No wall is going to stop a plane flying over the border, nor is any wall going to stop a boat.

The conservative argument for a wall is just not that compelling. Below is a video and transcript of Charlie Kirk, from Turning Point USA, that lays out the the conservative argument. It is full of lies, half-truths, and full-on white supremacy.

Question: So I’m a conservative, one thing I have a hard time rationalizing to my liberal friends, conservatives on TV, and politicians have a hard time articulating intelligent reasons why the wall must be built. I am curious your thoughts on that.

Charlie Kirk:

Three quick things, number one I am going to say some facts. I’m going to talk about fairness, then I’m going to talk about sovereignty.

Some Facts, An Illegal alien in the state of Arizona is twice as likely to commit a crime vs. a natural born citizen, Fact.

Ninety percent of all heroin and fentanyl come across the southern border, Fact.

Over 10,000 kids are illegally sex trafficked across the southern border every single year, Fact.

We have 56,000 illegal immigrants in our federal prison system, Fact.

And countless in our state penitentiary system.

135 billion dollars a year, that’s how much is the financial burden on U.S. taxpayers every single year that illegal immigrants drain from our system, Fact.

You put all that together that’s a pretty compelling argument.

Those are some facts. Number 2 is fairness, as Candace said it is not fair that people in Bolivia, it’s not fair to the people in Bangladesh, it is not fair to the people in Belarus that had to wait in line, fill out an application form, not commit a crime, and then wait a decade to come into this country to maybe have a chance to become an American citizen.

Number 3 is sovereignty. Why do walls matter? Why do borders matter? Borders are a physical representation of when good ideas begin and when bad ideas start. If you don’t believe me just ask East and West Germany or North or South Korea. If you believe in open borders, you do not believe in the physical delineation of where good ideas start and where bad ideas start. The wall right now is not only important for the facts I mentioned and the fairness, but also the sovereignty.

We are not Mexico. We have unique culture, we have unique identity. The Mexican culture is something that should be appreciated and understood, but our culture is much different and has outpaced them over the last fifty years, and to say that we should have open borders and we should have some kind of transferable citizenship cheapens the idea of the American identity and culture to the people that had waited in line and the tens of millions of immigrants that had to fly halfway across the world to come into this country.

So those are the three reasons I would give to build the wall, build it quickly, build it high, build it wide, with a big door so everyone can come in legally.

Just because you say “fact,” after a sentence, does not make it true. That being said, let’s look his so-called facts.

An Illegal alien in the state of Arizona is twice as likely to commit a crime vs. a natural born citizen, Fact.

We have 56,000 illegal immigrants in our federal prison system, Fact.

And countless in our state penitentiary system.

He is taking those numbers from one questionable study that even the conservative CATO institute has called flawed.

Researchers on all sides of this debate generally agree that such claims are impossible to verify when it comes to undocumented immigrants, since there are no nationwide data that track offenders by their immigration status.

The Washington Post gave Trump a Four Pinocchio rating for this very same claim.

90% of all heroin and fentanyl come across the southern border, Fact.

This claim actually comes from Ann Coulter who tweeted about Trump,

Politifact rated Coulter’s claim Pants on Fire.

Heroin is mostly trafficked from Mexico, mostly hidden in cargo – not by crossing the border through the desert. Fentanyl comes from both Mexico and Canada, and can also be transported through the mail. Coulter’s "100 percent" claim is far off-base no matter how we parse it. We rate this claim Pants on Fire.

If 100 percent is rated as pants on fire, I am going to go out on a limb and say 90 percent is likely also pants on fire.

Over 10,000 kids are illegally sex trafficked across the southern border every single year, Fact.

This one is a little fuzzy—I can only find hard numbers from one reputable source that support this claim, a study done in 2010 from the Congressional Research Service, which states:

Countries in Latin America serve as source, transit, and destination countries for trafficking victims. Latin America is a primary source region for people trafficked to the United States. As many as 17,500 are trafficked into the United States each year, according to State Department estimates. [...]

While trafficking for forced labor is a serious problem in Latin America and the Caribbean, trafficking for sexual exploitation has been perceived as a more widespread and pressing regional problem. Most victims are trafficked for prostitution, but others are used for pornography and stripping. Children tend to be trafficked within their own countries, while young women may be trafficked internally or internationally, sometimes with the consent of their husbands or other family members. One study estimated that some 10,000 women from southern and central Mexico are trafficked for sexual exploitation to the northern border region each year. The State Department has estimated that at least 100,000 Latin Americans are trafficked internationally each year, with large numbers of victims coming from Colombia and the Dominican Republic,among others. It has identified Spain, Italy, Portugal, the United States, and Japan as major destination countries for Latin American trafficking victims.

It does not however, explicitly state 10,000 children, it says 10,000 women. So his facts are still a little on the fuzzy side.

35 Billion dollars a year, that’s how much is the financial burden on U.S.taxpayers every single year that illegal immigrants drain from our system, Fact.

AZCentral did a fact check on a very similar comment made by Paul Gosar (R-AZ 4) in June 2018.

BOTTOM LINE: Gosar likely used the only study on the cost of illegal immigration done recently that puts the net cost of immigration at $116 billion a year.

That study includes costs attributed to U.S. citizens, and uses the highest estimate of the undocumented population.

The report also does not look at the economic impact and growth that comes from having an extra 11 million to 12 million people in the country and ignores the generally positive fiscal impact that the citizen children of unauthorized immigrants have once they become adults.

THE FINDING: One Star: Mostly false.

While Rep. Gosar claimed $116 billion a year, and Mr. Kirk claimed $35 billion a year, neither of them are correct.

Whether legal or illegal, all immigrants pay sales taxes and property taxes (the latter are factored into the cost of rental units for people who don't own homes). And all legal immigrants pay all the payroll and income taxes that native-born Americans do. Amazingly, most illegals also cough up income and payroll taxes too. That's because most of them use fake Social Security cards and other documents to get hired. Somewhere between 50 percent and two-thirds pay federal income and FICA taxes. In 2010, for instance, administrators of Social Security said that "unauthorized immigrants" contributed $12 billion to Social Security trust funds that they will never be able to get back. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, about half of illegals paid state and local taxes worth over $10 billion.

You can ignore most of what Mr. Kirk says in this video, most of what he says is smoke and mirrors—it is his way of getting conservatives to buy into his more controversial, and primary argument: white supremacy. This also shows his total lack of understanding that American culture is a giant pot of cultural traditions from around the world.

We are not Mexico. We have unique culture, we have unique identity. The Mexican culture is something that should be appreciated and understood, but our culture is much different and has outpaced them over the last fifty years, and to say we should have open borders and we should have some kind of transferable citizenship cheapens the idea of American identity and culture.

This from a man who lives in a country where we celebrate Cinco de Mayo more fervently than they do in Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo is not that important in Mexico and mainly celebrated only in the state of Puebla.

This is about one thing, and one thing only: keeping brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking people out of the United States. This is no different than other times in our past, the only thing that has changed is the name of the groups the hatred is being heaped upon. In our history the Chinese, Italians, Irish, Catholics, Muslims were, and in some cases still are undesirable,  and now anyone south of the border, is unwelcome.

I will keep hammering this home to people like Mr. Kirk; The United States is a melting pot, the American culture he speaks so fondly of is an amalgamation of other cultures from civilizations that have been around for millennia. We are mutts—we have no pedigree, and that is our strength, and that is a fact. E Pluribus Unum—out of many, one.

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