Donald Trump, abandon that wall (idea), keep the government open
Art by Accolade contributing artist Cecelia Lee

Leading up to the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump campaigned on a platform of strict immigration reform. Building a wall along our southern border and banning Muslim immigrants from a select few countries were just a few of the policies he supported.

However, one key issue integral to understanding Trump’s political agenda is bolstering America’s national security. To his supporters, the business mogul seemed like an attractive candidate as he promised to prevent any foreign drugs or crime from streaming into the United States by erecting a physical barrier along our southern border.

But the facts tell a different story. Contrary to what Trump’s campaign claimed, his wall idea would cost American taxpayers billions of dollars and would stand as a symbol of racism and xenophobia for generations to come.

Trump should abandon his $5.7 billion wall plan and stop threatening to shut down the government again.

The Trump administration’s previously estimated construction costs for his wall range from as little as $12 billion to as high as $25 billion, which includes the costs of enforcing “top border security,” according to a tweet the president released on Dec. 4, 2018.

In that same post, Trump claimed that “the United States loses 250 Billion Dollars a year on illegal immigration, not including the terrible drug flow.” Politifact, however, deemed that claim false, citing a lack of evidence presented to support his statement.

This is a wing of Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank that offers training for the industry. It also claimed that “several immigration experts told [us] they were unaware of any study pegging immigration losses or costs at $250 billion a year.” Though the president may disagree with Politifact’s findings because of his criticism of media bias, this agency’s point deserves consideration.

The fact that the Trump campaign’s own estimates of the wall’s construction costs vary so wildly and that the president has falsely emboldened the benefits of his border wall demonstrate how weak his argument for the wall truly is and suggest that the wall’s monumental costs would be footed by none other than the American people.

Not only has Trump failed to deliver a clear payment method for his wall plan, but the very idea of a physical barrier between the United States and Mexico to dissuade illegal immigrants from entering our country is racist and xenophobic in nature.

A quote lies at the base of Lady Liberty’s pedestal in New York. It reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

This phrase has stood as our nation’s motto for years, but Trump’s wall idea threatens the fundamental ideals stressed by it. His immigration policy lies in stark contrast to the American principles of equality.

Two children have died while in Border Patrol custody in 2018. One child, a Guatemalan girl named Jakelin Maquin, according to the Southern Border Communities Coalition, fell into cardiac arrest induced by severe dehydration and shock.

In campaign rallies prior to his inauguration, Trump insinuated that illegal Mexican immigrants are rapists who traffic drugs and bring crime into our country through open stretches of the border.

This alarmingly racist and unapologetically offensive notion betrays the true meaning of Trump’s wall, to shut out all impoverished migrants south of the border.

Trump’s plan for border security is a bigoted, absurd solution to a migrant crisis that’s been greatly exacerbated by his policies. It’s time for him to move on and find another issue that the Democrats are more willing to discuss.

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