Yesterday, Trump signed an executive order regarding his signature campaign promise: building a wall on the US-Mexican border. I’d hoped I’d never have to talk about this, but now that it’s here, I suppose I must. So let’s talk about the wall.
First of all, if you haven’t seen this old thing, do it now. It’s still relevant:
- The wall won’t work.
- The wall won’t work, and it’s expensive.
- The wall won’t work, and it gets more expensive over time.
- The wall won’t work, and no, Mexico won’t pay for it. Period. (In fact, they’re so pissed, they’ve pressured their president to cancel a meeting with Trump.)
Are you sensing the recurring theme yet?
I think most proponents of the wall imagine a world where all illegal immigrants are drug-running “coyotes” sneaking through the desert at night or “wetbacks” swimming the Rio Grande. If that’s your fantasy, stop imagining it. Those stories might be the most dramatic, but they’re not the norm. Most illegal immigrants enter the country legally, on a student, tourist, or work visa, and then don’t go home when they’re supposed to. They find a better life here, and they stay in it. That’s how illegal immigration happens. The wall is not a practical barrier in such cases.
And even if those dramatic exceptions were a bigger problem, drug runners will find illegal ways around, over, or under the wall. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and to the true criminals crossing our border, the wall will be a mere annoyance at most. Any money we put into a wall would be better spent on drones and agents patrolling the border. They cost less, and they’re better at catching lawbreakers. Even Trump’s own Homeland Security Secretary says the wall alone won’t work.
As for the real reason people want the wall built—the idea that immigrants are “stealing American jobs”—if your career is picking strawberries in the Southern California sun, go ahead and be mad. If your pinnacle of employment is to be washing cars at a dealership, by all means chant “Build the Wall!” But if you’re employed in anything above that, shut up. I know a man from Mexico who’s a legal immigrant to the US, and he gave up being a dentist there to become an apartment complex maintenance man here. It was worth it to him so that his kids could grow up in America and go to American universities and have better lives than he does. Illegal immigrants have even worse prospects when it comes to jobs. They’re not taking any of yours.
Finally, there’s the spiritual aspect to this. I find it amazing that people who support this wall and claim to be Christians have forgotten one of the single most powerful lessons Jesus ever taught (emphasis added):
And the King shall answer and say unto them . . . Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For . . . I was a stranger, and ye took me not in . . .
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment. (Matthew 25:40-46)
Surely illegal immigrants count as “the least of these,” our brethren.
Let us be Christians who not only remember Christ’s words, but understand them and DO them (see Mosiah 4:10). Christ did not teach us to build walls, but gave us an example of gathering all people together, “even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings” (Matthew 23:37). Indeed, Paul taught, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Should we not apply this same principle to our fellow men, most of whom are also fellow Christians, when they want to come here to work hard for a better life?
The answer to immigration isn’t the wall. It’s a better law letting people come here legally.