I read with dismay the Jan. 16 letter to the editor supporting the erecting of a border wall. Clearly, author Joan Caton Anthony, believes Donald Trump’s erroneous claims about the alleged “security threat” that will “grow and fester” without a physical barrier at the southern border.
I did some fact checking on the president’s claims. In a nutshell, the crisis is a manufactured one replete with exaggerations, outright lies, and false statistics.
- Overall border crossings have been dropping for nearly 20 years. In the ’80s to the mid-2000s, the U.S. apprehended more than 1.5 million illegal immigrants annually. By 2017, that number had dropped to 415,500. Roughly, a 30 percent decrease.
- Illegal immigration is primarily driven by individuals who are already in the U.S. and are overstaying their visas. How do they arrive? Through an airport.
- Human trafficking is a global issue of great concern to anyone with a conscience and a desire to protect our most vulnerable. However, the “20,000 migrant children brought into the U.S. … [who] are used by coyotes and ruthless gangs” referred to by Trump are not children smuggled in by nefarious sex trade syndicates, but rather, children who cross with a parent or legal guardian. They are being brought here by loving families in search of a better life.
- The president did not refer to terrorism this time around. Why? Because even Fox News has fact checked the claim that terrorists are coming into our country over the southern border and refuted it.
- Increased crime as a result of illegal immigration is typical fear mongering. Many of the migrants are counted in the number of “criminals” because they are cited for, you guessed it, illegally entering our country.
- Drug smuggling over the southern border is a popular Administration refrain on why we must build a wall to deal with the ever growing opioid and illegal drug crisis. The fact is illegal drugs are largely coming into the U.S. through legal ports of entry. Also, opioids are primarily sourced from U.S.-based drug companies.
Although building a wall is the wrong solution, I do agree with Anthony that our immigration system is greatly flawed and needs to be overhauled. It is a quagmire of red tape, bureaucracy, and inane legal processes. It is too costly and suffers with extreme backlogs. It breeds desperation for those attempting to escape famine, poverty and violence to provide a better life for themselves and their loved ones.
One last comment, like Anthony, I am a retired fed with more than 30 years of service. I take exception to her cavalier attitude about shutdowns. Anytime the government has to shutdown, it costs all of us and should not be shrugged off. The federal workforce should never be pawns in a political game of chicken.
This shutdown is nothing less than shameful. Taking our federal workforce hostage is not something to dismiss. In my decades-long career, I have worked with some of the most dedicated, selfless, talented, and patriotic individuals in this country. It is distressing to see these patriots suffer and be disrespected by the very administration they work to support each and every day.
We must all actively demand that the shutdown end immediately without a wall and with an agreement to improve the immigration system and border security as a whole.