Schumer to Trump: Abandon the wall

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) repeatedly called out the "Trump shutdown" as he spoke on the Senate floor.

Posted: Dec 24, 2018 7:04 AM
Updated: Dec 24, 2018 7:33 AM

President Trump has shut down the government over his failure to obtain funding for a wall across America's border with Mexico. He says it's about "border security," but the reality is far more disturbing.

Trump's wall is "deeply rooted in xenophobia," Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, explained Thursday on my SiriusXM radio show. Omar, who will make history as both the first Somali refugee and the first Muslim-American female to wear a hijab in Congress, added, "there are folks on the right, political pundits on TV shows talking about how immigrants make this country dirty and poor and more dangerous." (She was referring to recent inflammatory comments about immigrants by Fox News' Tucker Carlson.)

Omar is correct. Trump's wall is about an irrational fear of outsiders -- but it's about more than that, too. Trump's wall is designed to address a key concern of his base: the browning of America. Bluntly, Trump's wall, if built, will likely be the largest and most expensive monument ever constructed to try and ensure the demographic supremacy of white America.

True, a massive wall that climbs 32 feet in the air, as Trump has discussed, and spans thousands of miles could provide some degree of border security. But then again, so would stationing US troops -- in locked arms -- across the border, or building a massive "Game of Thrones"-type ice wall. The question is what is the most effective in achieving that goal -- especially since Trump wants us to pay for it after he failed to get Mexico to bear the cost, as he had previously promised.

This past week, Republican Rep. Will Hurd from Texas, a former CIA agent, slammed the "fallacy that a wall equals border security." He explained, "I have more border (in my district) than any other member of Congress, 820 miles," and added that we can use available technology to keep us far safer than a wall. Hurd closed with a key point: "Building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security."

But Trump refuses to accept that technology suggested by people like Hurd and others will address the problem. Instead, Trump on Sunday took to Twitter to mock that very concept, writing, "Drones and all of the rest are wonderful and lots of fun," he wrote, but the "only way to stop drug, gangs, human trafficking, criminal elements" is by building a "good old fashioned Wall" -- or, perhaps, a "Steel Slat Barrier."

Hmm, whom to believe? A serial liar like Trump, or a former CIA operative who now represents a district along the Texas border?

For me, the choice is clear -- not only given Trump's track record, but because statistics also undermine his claims. First, despite what Trump wants you to believe, studies make it clear that immigrants, both undocumented and those legally here, are "considerably less likely to commit crime than native-born citizens." One study, conducted by the Cato Institute, found that "as a percentage of their respective populations, there were 56% fewer criminal convictions of illegal immigrants than of native-born Americans in Texas in 2015."

On top of that, illegal border crossings are currently at their lowest levels since 2000. And nearly two thirds of those now in the country illegally are here because they overstayed their visas after arriving via airports, while others even came over the northern border from Canada. A massive southern border wall obviously won't address this.

These facts are likely why polls consistently find a solid majority of Americans oppose building a wall, including 66% of independent voters, according to a recent CBS News poll. Even Texans oppose the wall. In a Quinnipiac poll, 61% were against it, while only 34% favored it.

But not Trump's base. A November poll found that nearly 80% of Republicans want the wall built.

Why this overwhelming support? It boils down to what actually motivates the base. Studies after the election found that many Trump supporters did not have "economic anxiety," as some in media had previously reported. Rather, they were concerned with a "loss of status," or more accurately, "white anxiety" over changing demographics. As one study at the University of Pennsylvania noted, Trump voters feared "a threat to their group's dominance in our country over all."

Trump's wall is a perfect symbolic panacea for those people fearful of demographic change. Sure, it may not actually work as hoped, but it will likely give them some comfort.

It's also likely Trump shares their concerns, given his reported comments that he doesn't want immigrants from Africa and Haiti, which he deemed "shithole" countries, and prefers people from Norway, a predominately white nation. With comments like those, it's no wonder that some white supremacists support this President.

Border security is a bipartisan issue -- Democrats and Republican both want it. So, if Trump truly wants to keep America safe, he would use technology that is both effective and cost efficient. But if his real fear is changing demographics and he wants to give phony reassurance to his base voters, then the only option is a "good old-fashioned Wall."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 28770

Reported Deaths: 1092
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds224739
DeSoto144216
Madison124234
Jones109149
Neshoba97070
Lauderdale89479
Rankin86012
Forrest82942
Harrison79410
Scott75715
Copiah58016
Leake56519
Jackson55716
Holmes53641
Wayne52212
Lee51816
Oktibbeha51625
Washington5129
Yazoo4786
Leflore47449
Warren46317
Lowndes45912
Lincoln43734
Lamar4317
Grenada3965
Pike39312
Monroe37529
Lafayette3684
Attala35523
Newton3329
Sunflower3216
Covington3175
Bolivar29813
Panola2956
Adams28018
Simpson2713
Chickasaw26418
Tate2648
Marion26311
Pontotoc2616
Jasper2516
Noxubee2478
Pearl River24532
Clay24410
Winston2446
Claiborne23910
Marshall2123
Smith21111
Clarke20424
Coahoma1906
Union1819
Walthall1794
Kemper17614
Yalobusha1667
Lawrence1621
Carroll16111
Humphreys1309
Itawamba1308
Tippah12711
Webster12610
Calhoun1244
Montgomery1242
Hancock12313
Tallahatchie1153
Jefferson Davis1074
Prentiss1003
Greene968
Jefferson963
Wilkinson929
Tunica903
Amite842
George753
Tishomingo731
Choctaw724
Quitman690
Perry634
Alcorn601
Stone541
Franklin392
Benton270
Sharkey270
Issaquena81
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4532143
Montgomery3875102
Mobile3797134
Tuscaloosa210739
Marshall162210
Lee124537
Shelby110923
Madison11047
Morgan10203
Walker87123
Franklin86314
Dallas8419
Elmore83614
Baldwin7359
Etowah64413
DeKalb6415
Butler60727
Chambers60027
Tallapoosa57269
Autauga55312
Unassigned50724
Russell5030
Lowndes45820
Lauderdale4576
Houston4464
Limestone4290
Cullman4114
Pike4075
Colbert3775
Bullock3649
Coffee3592
Barbour3331
Covington3327
St. Clair3192
Marengo29911
Hale29621
Escambia2936
Wilcox2848
Talladega2827
Calhoun2805
Sumter27912
Clarke2686
Dale2620
Jackson2522
Winston2373
Blount2181
Pickens2176
Chilton2152
Marion20613
Monroe2052
Choctaw19212
Randolph1889
Conecuh1866
Greene1788
Macon1778
Bibb1761
Perry1541
Henry1303
Crenshaw1243
Washington1027
Lawrence1000
Cherokee797
Lamar711
Geneva700
Fayette671
Clay612
Coosa571
Cleburne301
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