By Imani Beckett

After his failed government shutdown, Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency in a desperate attempt to build the wall that he’s been rambling about since he announced his candidacy in 2015. The Republicans in Congress have mostly gotten behind his proposal for a wall.

And the Democrats, even though they oppose a wall, still mainly want to maintain the status quo of our immigration system.

What both parties seem to be missing is the fact the contradictions of our current system are what caused the immigration crisis in the 1st place.

Fleeing an unsafe area for one that is safer is a basic human instinct. The economic and forces that push people to move from country to country aren’t bound by borders, yet the people they affect are. By deporting and denying people entry into the country, we are punishing them for correctly responding to forces that indicate they should leave. Effectively punishing them for trying to survive.

Ironically our foreign policy helped create said forces.


From backing the Contras in Nicaragua and the Ecuadorian Government in the 1980’s, to the Obama Administration staging a coup in El Salvador, we played a role in weakening democratic institutions in Central America and strengthened drug cartels; which are the primary sources of violence.

The lasting results of the US actions are devastating. Latin America is currently the world’s most violent region. According to a Doctors Without Borders report, countries in the Northern Triangle experience “unprecedented levels of violence outside of a war zone” where kidnapping and extortion are a “daily occurrence” and citizens are recruited into gangs through “sexual violence.”

We need to remember that these migrants aren’t coming here by choice. The trip from Central America to the United States is far from safe and is extremely physically exerting. Picking up one’s entire life and moving to a new country where they aren’t familiar with isn’t a task that most people would willingly take on unless they were placed in a dire situation—which is the case with these migrants. By denying these people at the border, we are sending them back to conditions which are deadly.

Most Republicans in Congress would support a “wall” on the border and heavy restrictions on immigration. On the other hand, most Democrats might not support a “wall” but they want to use drones and facial recognition scanning, creating a “technological wall.” They still want to continue deportations.

Both parties hold a view of immigrants that is, to some extent, de-humanizing. They view immigrants as inputs to the economy rather than actual human beings. What many of these politicians seem to forget is that denying migrants entry at the border and deporting them means sending them back to live under hazardous conditions. Which for most, is effectively a death sentence.


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