One of the more contentious issues of the current presidency is the building of a wall along the U.S. / Mexico border. The volume of rhetoric concerning it has died down somewhat because of the talk of impeachment. But I still see it frequently on Facebook. Some who enthusiastically favor it. And some who vehemently oppose it. Personally, I have mixed feeling about it. But I find it sad that we allow this to divide us so badly. Although I think it is actually a symptom of a much deeper divide.
Why Build a Wall
I wonder how many people know that there is already a wall along much of this border. I know I was unaware of it until a few years ago. Driving to the border at Campo to begin hiking north on the PCT, I was quite surprised to find a solid corrugated steel barrier wall snaking along the border. I don’t know who was responsible for this wall, or when it went up. But it seems to have done so with little fanfare.
So what’s the purpose of this wall? Both the existing and the proposed walls? It is billed as a security measure; preventing illegal entry into the U.S. from Mexico and points further south. Now I am all for protecting our nation from criminal activity and illegal activity. And clearly some of that comes across, or under, the border. But I would guess that the criminal traffic is a minor part of the flow across the border.
Searching for a Better Life
It seems that most people are crossing into the U.S. because they perceive, rightly or wrongly, that there are more and better opportunities for life in the U.S. than in their own homeland. They are desperately searching for a better life for themselves and for their families. And it is hard to blame them for wanting that.
And that, at least to me, makes much of the uproar over illegal migration rather discouraging. All too many people seem to care more about what it might cost them if these people are allowed to enter the country; to live, to work, and hopefully to prosper. I am thankful that has not always been the case. Or most of us might still be stuck in unfavorable circumstances in Europe, Africa or Asia. At one point, as a nation, we welcomed those fleeing from the same conditions as the ones now being turned away.
Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!Saying on the Statue of Liberty
Is There a Solution?
I don’t know what the solution to this problem is. But I have a hard time seeing the construction of a bigger and better wall being the answer. Why not welcome in the “huddled masses yearning to breathe freedom”? Allow them to participate in this ‘great experiment of democracy’ that we now enjoy. Simplify the pathway to citizenship and allow their passion and drive to revitalize us as a nation.
We fear that our taxes will go up. We fear that English will not be the only spoken language. And we fear that the ethnic makeup of the nation will shift and leave us as a minority. There are so many reasons we might give for keeping them out. But are those really valid fears? Would we not be better off as a people if we were willing to sacrifice a little, in order to make a significant difference in the lives of a multitude of people?
To be clear, I am not advocating granting the rights of U.S. citizenship to everyone who makes it into the country. I do believe that there is a need for some kind of vetting process. But I believe that hiding behind walls out of fear of those on the other side is the wrong approach.
Instead of building bigger walls, lets fix our immigration policy, and then allow those south of our borders to participate in the ‘American dream’ if they so choose.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
If you have found value in this post, please consider subscribing to A Clay Jar so that you don’t miss any other posts.