As of January 21, 2019, the United States government remains partially shutdown for one month due to President Donald J. Trump’s insistence of $5.7 billion from Congress to fund his racist and medieval border wall.
When it comes to this ongoing debate, Trump, along with his Republican cronies, suffers from selective amnesia: he forgets what doesn’t benefit him and remembers what’s in his best interest. While Trump agreed on air to take credit for a potential government shutdown on December 11, 2018 —in an official meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer— should the leading Democrats not support his wall fetish, he keeps blaming Democrats for the shutdown.
Also, Trump conveniently “forgets” that he promised the American public and his “deplorable” supporters during his presidential campaign, especially at massive neo-Nazi simulated rallies, that Mexico would pay for it. Now that Mexico didn’t deliver on the billions of pesos to build this stupid wall, especially with the new leadership under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Trump wants the American taxpayers to build his medieval “solution” to a 21st century problem.
As part of his failed plan to partially shutdown the government in order to secure his $5.7 billion ransom for his promised wall that has gone from concrete to fencing to steel to “peaches,” Trump, along with his immoral surrogates like Mike Pence, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, Mick Mulvaney and Kirstjen Nielsen, keeps lying about the so-called emergency at the border. While border crossings by undocumented immigrants have been declining over the years, according to The New York Times and many other sources, Trump and fellow liars erroneously claim that we’re experiencing a “crises” at the southern border. In fact, according to Timothy Noah of POLITICO, in 2017 border arrests had dropped so low that “…to find a year with fewer border arrests, you have to go back all the way to 1971.” From 1971 to 2017, that’s almost 50 years!
Speaking of lies, Trump and cronies keep repeating other lies about the so-called border crisis and need for a wall for which Mexico will never pay for. This includes the stupid notion that terrorists, like ISIS, are crossing the southern border. Does the average Trump supporter actually believe that Mexico, as a Catholic-dominated country with an effective police state, will allow Muslim terrorists to establish military bases or networks on its soil? I’ll bet any Trump supporter 10,000 pesos that if the Mexican government won’t capture and kill these “imaginary terrorists,” the drug cartels and gangs will. Putting religion and national pride aside, ISIS is bad for business for the drug cartels and gangs. For any criminal enterprise, just like the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, among other historical interventions throughout Latin America, it’s all about claiming and controlling territory.
There are so many lies spewed from Trump’s mouth that it’s difficult to keep up with, like the lie that 90% of heroin entering the country comes from the southern border. While some drugs do come from the southern border, like in the case of tunnels (which a wall doesn’t stop), the majority come from legal ports of entry, according to USA Today and many other sources.
In terms of drugs, let’s not forget the U.S. pharmaceutical companies, lobbyists and complicit doctors who have flooded the market with overprescribed drugs, like opioids, which are exchanged and traded in the informal economy. I find it ironic that suddenly we’re all aware and worried about a drug problem, like the opioid crisis or opioid epidemic, when it primarily hits white people in cities, suburbs and rural communities. Where were the concerned policymakers and average citizens when drugs (and alcohol) have disproportionately impacted (to the present) racialized people in America’s barrios, ghettos and reservations?
To conclude, ultimately, the important issue about the partial government shutdown is not really about the border wall. It’s more about the current wave of white supremacy and white nativism that America is experiencing, as epitomized by the election of Trump. Essentially, for millions of white people in this country, they can’t come to terms or accept the reality of the browning of America. (To be fair and objective, there are millions of white Americans who reject racism.) Thus, it’s incumbent on all of us to denounce racist ideologies and policies.
We must stand up and speak out against bigotry in all its forms and types, as illustrated by the “Orange-Man-in-the-White House.”
Dr. Alvaro Huerta is an assistant professor of urban and regional planning and ethnic and women’s studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is the author of Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate: Towards a Humanistic Paradigm, (San Diego State University Press, 2013) and the forthcoming book Latina/o Immigrant Communities in the Xenophobic Era of Trump and Beyond. Dr. Huerta holds a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley. He also holds an M.A. in urban planning and a B.A. in history—both from UCLA.