Border Wall Executive Order signed on 1/25/16 is a poorly thought-out, costly, xenophobic blunder.
SEATTLE – Yesterday morning, the current presidential administration made due on its vitriolic, anti-immigrant promise to augment the border wall at our southern boundary and repeal federal funding from major cities that have come out in support of immigrants through their Sanctuary City designations. El Comité vehemently opposes the racist, xenophobic executive order and will focus its resources on resisting the administration’s attacks on members of our communities. As History, can attest, border walls don’t work at keeping people out. Rather, they make it more difficult for people to leave.
Immigration policy in the mid-1990s aided in the construction of border walls near the major entry points of San Diego, California and El Paso, Texas through such efforts as Operation Gatekeeper and Operation Hold the Line. These walls did little to deter migration and only made the northward trek incredibly more hazardous. Since 1993, and estimated 7,000 people have died in their attempt to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
In addition to pushing policy dubious for its failure over the last two decades, the executive order also resorts to using old racist tropes in implying that migration is principally a phenomenon at the southern border. Likewise, the rationale incorporates much of the Trump campaign’s anti-Mexican vitriol by noting that “transnational criminal organizations operate sophisticated networks…contributing to a significant increase in violent crime and United States Deaths from dangerous drugs.” Furthermore, the order continues its xenophobic fear-mongering by claiming, “Among those who illegally enter are those who seek to harm Americans through acts of terror or criminal conduct.”
The executive order uses racist caricature to pander to the general public’s fears and encroaches on local communities by strong-arming city governments with threats of removing federal funding for essential programs. Likewise, the executive order also dubiously requests funding for the physical construction and upkeep of a border wall that will syphon money away from more desperately deserving infrastructure projects throughout the country. The optics are also very deliberate as we share two extensive borders to the north and south. One border is heavily militarized while the other literary features a “peace arch” at one of its points of entry.
This administration has made it abundantly clear that it will attempt to codify its racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic campaign rhetoric into policy. We have seen this occur as not even a full week in office, Trump has signed executive orders around pushing the XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, has signed an order to remove federal funding for reproductive health providers, has signed an executive order about building a border wall, and has created a chilling effect for scientists who focus on climate change.
It is for these aforementioned reasons that we need continue to organize and resist these authoritarian policies. We are all impacted by legislation that poison our land, air and water. We are all impacted by restricted access to reproductive health and family planning. We are all impacted by racist and xenophobic policies aimed at our friends, families, neighbors, and co-workers. And of course, we are all impacted by diminished protections in the work place. Now more than ever, we need to be present for our sisters and brothers in the struggle for a dignified existence.
EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE.