“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
*These are the exact, unedited words spoken. Link to complete speech below.
Trump's premise of “The Wall” defines illegal immigrants as rapists, murderers and drug dealers, and a burden to our economy. He proposes that the single most effective way to stop them is to build this wall, important enough to shut down the government and declare a state of emergency.
“The Wall,” is the epithet of this narrative that our President continues to endorse, almost daily, at his rallies and on twitter.
While I support his effort to secure the border, this phrase, “And some, I assume, are good people,” authenticates my resistance to this premise. Foremost, I don’t have to assume. I’ve worked in construction for almost 30 years, starting with single family homes in Florida in the eighties, and large commercial projects in the nineties to the condos at German Creek in Bean Station, TN in 2007. Almost every one of these projects was built on the back of illegal immigrants, and if at any point these illegal immigrants were removed from a jobsite, it would have ended the project within a week. They were a critical a part of the success of those projects, and remain a critical part of our economy today. In a free enterprise economy, we hire people that promote the success of the enterprise, and that is what undocumented workers do in this country! That we employ 8 million undocumented workers is proof that they fulfill a real economic need. The fast majority do. We first, must acknowledge that the status of these undocumented workers must be resolved. How we do this will reshape the security needs at our Southern Border. Are we going to build walls to keep hundreds of thousands from crossing, or are we going to build walls to stop a smaller group of hardened criminals from entering our country? For an approach that will gain bipartisan support see TheArch.US It is Economics, Not Immigration.
The Horror of The Premise.
When 97 illegal immigrants working at a meat packing plant were arrested in Bean Station, TN on April 5, 2018 not one of them had a right to an attorney. One hundred and sixty children from poor families lost a working parent or a bread-winning member of their family that day. The next day more than 550 children, in Hamblen County, did not go to school because they were afraid. If you want to know how cruel this event was, ask any of the teachers who had to get on busses that afternoon to make sure kids had parents to come home to. In the gym at Russellville Elementary I watched the painful process as some families were reunited (pending further legal actions) and other families torn apart (immediately deported). Of the 97 arrested that day, only one had a charge other than an immigration violation. These children are almost all Americans. My God, what are we doing to them? They are not Mexicans, or drug dealers, Salvadoran, or murderers, Guatemalans, or rapists. These are American kids who know only this country, their country, where they were born. This is not some bleeding-heart plea. It is a desperate call to right a wrong, and the problem is not our President.
This has been going on for years. I too, am guilty. Back in the nineties, in Florida, I remember an immigration raid on a jobsite surrounded with water. We laughed our hearts out watching Mexicans trying to swim across the canal. I didn’t know. I really didn’t. We are all in this together. This nation has to right this wrong.
These are the most defenseless people in our country. You would not publicly single out an undocumented worker in Walmart and, without just cause, accuse him of being a rapist? If you did, what can he do? Nothing! Still, we gather in large groups and accuse undocumented workers of drug dealing, raping and murdering. We post and re-post these accusations on social media, and in the process, we lose our humanity. We stop being responsible for the mess we create and the pain we inflict. These are, almost always, the most reliable and hardest working. They are not murderers and rapists. I know, I worked with them for 30 years.
But don't just take my word for it. Read this from the conservative Think Tank, CATO Institute, There is no national emergency at the border Mr President
Here are three exerpts.
On Terrorism, " Those most worried about terrorists infiltrating along the border cannot point to any attack, any conviction for planning an attack, or any plot planned by an illegal immigrant who crossed the border with Mexico from 1975 through the end of 2017."
About the thread of desease, " vaccination rates in Mexico and Central American countries are either very similar to those in the United States or higher. Recent measles outbreaks have more to do with clusters of American parents who refuse to vaccinate their children than with immigrants."
Donald Trump has inspired a robust debate on immigration, as needed, but he has demonized the same people without whom he could not have completed most of his construction projects. He is privileged by birth and his attack on a people who cannot defend themselves is cruel. This act of clustering an defenseless group of people and villainizing them, without good reason or just cause, alligns with our historic defence of slavery. The facts don't support his reasoning. All Americans are privileged by birth. Privilege is not something we earn, so we can no more take credit for our birthright (it’s bestowed on us) than we can blame the children born to these immigrants (it is bestowed on them) for being American. Calling the young child of an immigrant an Anchor Baby comes from a place of privilege. Being that child is helplessness. Likewise, calling that child’s father a murderer, rapist and drug dealer, comes from a place of privilege. Being that father, is helplessness.
Nevertheless, they will suffer whatever we burden them with, because they know, it is worse where they came from. These are people we need to admire, not villiainize. They are an asset, yet we undermine them in the most inhumane way.
We are all called to be the voice for the defenseless.
The Real Wall.
Of course we have to improve security at our border, including building walls. But first we must break down the walls around our hearts and minds, and stop being cruel.
Then we will get reasonable men and women to support “The Wall.”
Author: Tim Healy