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).
Are Undocumented Immigrants Flooding Across the Border and they’re Bringing Drugs with Them?
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:
Why it's so Hard to Change People's Minds about Politics: Finding Facts in an Alt-Fact World
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.
In this blog post I'm going to make my case for why most undocumented migrants from South of the Border deserve to stay, particularly those who have been here for years. I will do that by presenting myths and then countering those myths with facts.
Are Undocumented Immigrants Stealing Our Jobs?
In a word, no, at least not the ones most Americans want. The majority of undocumented immigrants from south of the border (Mexico and Central America) are here because they were recruited by U.S. companies in the agricultural, meatpacking/processing and construction sectors (Tyson Foods, IBP slaughterhouses, etc.) to do work that US Americans won’t do.
Is Our Southern Border is Dangerous?
In advance of the Trump administration’s roll-out of their immigration framework, and a few days after the bipartisan Graham-Durbin immigration bill was introduced, President Trump tweeted several times about the dangers of our southern border.
Is Mexico a Dangerous Country?
So is Mexico ranked the most dangerous country in the world? No.
But first, I want to point out that the official ranking goes the other way, with number one being the safest country in the world, and the last country on the list being the most dangerous. So if Mexico was rated “number one,” that would mean it was the safest country in the world (which it’s not, but neither is the U.S.).
The 2018 rankings weren’t out at the time of Trump’s tweet, but according to the Global Peace Index Ranking for 2017, Iceland was the safest country in the world at #1 and Syria was the most dangerous country at #163. Mexico was ranked #140, and the United States was ranked #121. The 2018 rankings released in June 2018 showed no changes for Mexico or the United States (or for Iceland and Syria).
A Brief History of U.S. Immigration Law
By Michelle Martin, PhD, MSW
I’m in the process of writing a summary of the pertinent legal issues involved in the family separations that occurred among the Central American political asylum-seekers at the southern border. In the process, I realized the importance of providing some background on our country’s immigration laws. By the time I was done, I had over 4500 words! So I decided to split this post into two posts (you're welcome! 😉). This post will focus on a brief history of key immigration laws in our country, and the second post will focus on the Flores Settlement Agreement, and post-settlement decisions, including the ruling of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Trump's Personal Grudge Against Mexico
Trump has a rather long and tortured history with the country of Mexico and its people, and he’s made no secret of his disdain for both. Remember how he announced his presidential candidacy?
"…when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re not sending us not the right people."
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.