Should the Wall be Built: Why and Why Not?

Welcome to this week’s issue chat. We will discuss the building of Trump’s wall this week since it seems the project may actually happen. As always, let us know how we did in the comments and thanks for reading!

For decades, the topic of Latino immigration reform has been controversial politically. In the United States, there are estimates that put the number of illegal immigrants in the tens of millions. Some illegals collect government benefits, and most do not pay taxes. Illegals cross through miles of dangerous terrain get here. They may crawl through hundreds of feet of tunnels under the border. They put everything on the line to come to the United States to begin a better life, albeit at the expense of the taxpayers.

The Wall is Ultimately Necessary

By Shamus Fisk

The simple answer to why millions of people south of the U.S. enter illegally is because they know the life lived here is much better than the lives they are leaving behind. These people weighed the pros and cons and decided breaking the law to get to the U.S. was worth it.

The real question that we as a country should be asking is why do these people have to do it illegally? The primary reason is the mass majority of illegals cannot afford the cost to become a U.S. citizen. Furthermore, the full immigration process for anybody trying to become a citizen is usually about a year. That is simply not an option for illegals needing immediate medical care that  cannot be found in Mexico or Central American countries.

Look Back

If you look back to the late 1800’s in New York City, you will find a similar persecution occurred socially with the Irish. They were considered “not a real American”, although completely willing to work and make their own way in this country. The Irish needed to escape their country because their land could no longer sustain a decent living due to the potato famine. Sounds familiar, right? The movie “Gangs of New York” is a perfect resource for the discrimination of what the Irish had dealt with in this period in American history.

One significant difference separates these two scenarios: the Irish were legal. But why? They were peasants and poor farmers. They possessed no riches to pay the costs of citizenship that would be required today. Ellis Island made the difference. Immigrants coming from Europe and Africa all had to pass through that Island. If you’re from European descent, it is very likely your ancestors  passed through those walls. The immigrants’ biggest expense when traveling would’ve been the ship that brought them over. The island even detained people of illness to keep them quarantined. This by itself potentially saved thousands of lives.  This is a benefit the U.S./ Mexico border does not have sadly.

What we should do

I believe we should build the wall President Trump proposes. Even if it does not 100% keep out the drugs and arms smugglers of the Mexican drug cartels, it is still a major hurdle most of the Cartels would have to deal with for decades to come.

However, the major change that needs to occur on the border lies in the way we process immigrants into this country. Affordability, a faster immigration process, and a centralized immigration station are needed immediately. These changes will alleviate the economic, governmental, and national security problems we have today based on this issue.

If we allow the  illegals in this country to become citizens, it alleviates the “sapping off the system” as they are obliged to pay taxes. Furthermore, the IRS is more willing to go after people who are actual citizens instead of illegals. Illegals are more difficult to trace.

If we build a centralized station, an economic boom would inevitably arise on both sides of the border. The same benefits that made New York America’s greatest city would occur agin. We would be able to give medical care on the spot, as well as quarantine those with spreadable illnesses.

With a centralized immigration station, records would be even more easily accessed and processed for those trying to gain citizenship into this country. As the immigration process inevitably needs to advance, its time to update the process to allow the progression the country as a whole.

“They’ll Take our Jobs!”

Millennials are estimated to leave at least a 20% gap in the work labor force. That’s only one job market! Why? Well for most millennials, any manual labor is seen to be beneath them. They dig themselves into hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for college for job markets that are already inflated to max capacity because people cannot afford to retire. Furthermore, President Trump has proposed penalties on American companies who outsource jobs to other countries for cheap labor, potentially opening up a plethora of new positions in the future job market. We have individuals who are willing to fill these positions. If these people become citizens, they can live the real American dream, starting from nothing. They believe nothing is beneath them to make a living and start their life. Although currently, they can’t afford to do it legally.

An UnAmerican Project

By Tayler Houston

As a caveat before I begin, Shamus did a hell of a job up top this week. His argument presented a much harder position to argue with than I expected. Trump’s wall would not be hated nearly as much by the public if the project would’ve been framed in the manner Shamus presented. The idea of an Ellis Island style main hub for immigration holds merit and should not be brushed aside. However, I will say that the wall, as presented by Trump, certainly failed to be presented that way.

Therefore, I will argue with Trump’s position on the wall and some areas of Shamus’ argument. My first point of emphasis will be the effectiveness of the wall. Many people think the wall will be this insurmountable defense on the border. I fail to see how that is possible. The old saying goes that nothing is certain in life but death and taxes. Well, I will add to the list. Cartels will always find a way to get drugs into the United States. I know it is an uncomfortable truth, and it should be! Drugs are horrible and ruin lives, but they are a massive business. Users spend $100 billion annually on drugs in the US. $100 Billion!! Cartels will not magically disappear when that much money is at stake.

What We Should Do

I believe the money for the wall could be better spent on fortifying existing border patrol stations and airport security. The drugs do not enter the country in the pockets of people swimming across the Rio Grande. They enter in the trucks and planes and boats that make their way across the border at various stations. I would simply pay more agents and introduce new procedures that make finding the drugs hidden in the various modes of transportation more effective and efficient. Also, the agents must receive a higher salary. If the border patrol agents are compensated more, they will be less susceptible to taking bribes from the cartel to look the other way. Look, nobody wants to admit it happens, but come on, the drugs make it through the checkpoints every single day somehow. It is a bit naive to think no underhanded tactics occur.

Most importantly, the wall is just blatantly unAmerican! Shamus could not be more correct. Unless you can prove a direct line on your family tree from a Native American tribe somewhere, your family came to this country from somewhere else. They likely came through Ellis Island or San Fransisco Harbor. They came freely and without much resistance most likely. The United States historically has kept lax borders that allowed people to move here. The melting pot nickname stuck for a reason! I know, I know, your family did not come here to steal jobs and game the system like latino immigrants, right? Well, what kind of job do you think your poor Irish, German, or Chinese ancestors took when they got off a boat? Unless they held a professional degree, I am willing to bet they took the same jobs the Mexicans take now.

Conclusion

Everybody starts somewhere. Immigrants generally work their way up from the bottom. The struggle to the top personifies the American Dream. That is why the Wall should not be built! It signals the death of the American Dream. I am a kid from a small East Tennessee town whose family has never held a professional degree of any kind. Next year, I will attend one of the top 20 law schools in the entire US. You’re damn right I am proud of that and believe the American Dream is alive.

However, I know this is only one type of the American Dream. The most American dream of all is leaving everything behind in a foreign country, coming to the United States, becoming a citizen, and becoming successful. Those immigrants are the fabric of my country. The wall cannot allow that dream to die. Constant vigilance of open borders is absolutely necessary. However, building a wall to keep people out? Nothing could be more unAmerican. Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves. The greatest gift in the world is still an American passport. It opens doors like nothing else can. In these hard times, we must remember that and keep our borders open.

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