President Trump is determined to install a wall on our Southern border, despite ample evidence of it's devastating impact on the environment, the unfeasibility due to the nature of the border (think "Rio Grande river), as well as evidence of the ineffectiveness of stopping undocumented immigration or the flow of illegal drugs.
And yet, this is still an important question to ask. Will a tall ("beautiful") wall along our Souther Border stop the flow of illegal drugs? This is actually the million-dollar question (or the five-billion-dollar question).
Let’s assume that current immigration legislation and policy reforms weren’t effective, and the number of border apprehensions and successful unlawful entries were increasing. Would a border wall be an effective policy response? Or is a border wall just “feel good legislation” with potentially disastrous unintended effects?
The toxic tentacles of fundamentalism (as a culture, not a faith) are deeply rooted in U.S. institutions. An example of what I'm talking about is the feminization and racialization of poverty.
In 1996 (under Clinton and prompted by a Republican Congress), the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act was passed, replacing our country's only federal legislation addressing family poverty (AFDC). PRWORA was hailed as a much needed reform of public welfare because it required women to work in order to receive benefits. It also set a time limit on lifetime benefits (3 years).
This appears to be a regular rallying cry of the Trump administration. Undocumented immigrants are bringing their drugs.
In July of 2017, during a press briefing, Trump stated this about how drugs were smuggled into the country:
By Michelle Martin, PhD, MSW
Have you ever had one of those conversations with someone where you try your best to point out the fallacies in his or her argument, and rather than acknowledging the facts, he or she responds with the unchallengeable statement: "I just know what I know, period!"? I sure have, and I have to say, these types of conversations are increasing in frequency, particularly on social media, and they're incredibly frustrating.
The big question I want to address in this blog post is why is it so hard to change someone's mind about something (particularly political issues), when facts exist to prove them wrong? And of course the other way is true as well. Why is it so difficult for us to change our own minds when others come at us with facts to prove us wrong?
There are many possible answers to this question, and I'm going to share a few of my thoughts on some reasons for our collective stubbornness, and seeming inability to compromise on important issues. My hope is that this post will also shed some light on how it's possible that there is such a gap in how people in this country are perceiving the exact same dynamics and set of events so differently.
Certain categories of immigrants entering the country are subject to an expedited removal proceeding, where they are deported immediately, without a hearing. Immigrants who enter through the country without valid documentation, (such as a visa, border crosser card, passport), either by crossing the border or going through a port of entry, are included as one of the categories. The expedited removal process was created in response to the Illegal Immigration and Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IRIRA), passed by Clinton.
Dr. Michelle Martin is a social worker, policy specialist and Assistant Professor at California State University, Fullerton in the Department of Social Work, where she teaches social welfare policy, and researches dynamics related to immigrants, political asylum-seekers, refugees and other displaced populations.