Mr. President, keep America working; don’t shut down government again
Illustration by Accolade contributing artist Rachel Kim

Now that the partial government shutdown has ended, it’s time for the president to realize that border security is not worth putting federal workers on furlough because immigrants crossing the border help bolster the economy.

According to Pew Research, about 8 million undocumented immigrants in the United States are in the workforce. And nearly 3.4 million of those workers pay taxes like American citizens to help fund government programs such as Social Security.

Immigrants also help our economy by taking up jobs in manual labor, while American citizens take up more skilled and high-paying jobs, according to a research study by Madeline Zavodny, an economics professor at the University of Florida.

Even if the president were to declare a national emergency and use military funding to build his wall, he will most likely face legal challenges not just over his presidential powers, but over some of the property that the border security installments would go. According to MarketWatch, landowner Eloisa Cavazos plans on fighting the government in court to protect her land along the Rio Grande, the river separating the United States and Mexico in Texas.

Without the support of landowners along the southern border, Trump and the Republicans would be forced to have gaps in their border wall, making the purpose of building it useless.

Instead of focusing on border security, the president should spend his time working on issues that are plaguing American society, such as gun control or homelessness. It’s doubtful that Democrats would turn a blind eye on these issues since they are so prevalent in our society.

Many Democrats have claimed that the president is just manufacturing a crisis at the border and that it wasn’t worth it to furlough 800,000 federal workers. Trump and many in the Republican party should concede that more often than not, immigrants — illegal or not — actually help our economy and contribute to society. They need to stop their fear-mongering about the supposedly enormous amount of illegal drugs that are making their way across the southern border and the likelihood of mafia-like gangs that enter the United States. The government should remain open to deal with tasks that are more urgent than the wall.

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