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President Trump, Please Tear Down That
Wall Against Mexico discussions might be over soon; it won't be built, but we will see changes and perhaps improvements in US immigration policies. Throughout history, walls have ugly histories. Congress won't allocate monies to build the Wall Against Mexico, and nor will Mexico. Mexicans supply a large part of the labor in jobs that Americans don't want to do. WHY SHOULD THEY PAY FOR ANYTHING like a wall between our nations?President Trump, Please Tear Down that Wall Against Mexico Before You Build It!
Revered Republican Ronald Reagan: Tear Down This Wall
President Ronald Reagan "Tear Down This Wall" Speech at Berlin Wall President Ronald Reagan delivers this memorable speech at the Brandenburg Gate.
What would revered Republican Ronald Reagan have to say about the Trump Mexican Border Wall? After all, Reagan's most famous utterance was his command and plea in a speech in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate, directed to Mr. Gorbachev:
That context in time and in history was of course very different from today and from Trump's Wall against Mexico, the first wall between nations in the Western Hemisphere to be considered.
In retrospect, even though it was a cleverly designed public relations effort for Reagan's speech at the Brandenburg Gate, Reagan makes a lot more sense 33 years later, even to a die-hard yellow dog Democrat like me.
What Trump has recently proposed is that now the US should pay for the Wall against Mexico by congressional allocation. Then maybe Mexico would then reimburse us? This defies any kind of logic and seems at best like a curious form of wishful thinking, to think that Mexico would now pay for it, especially since two Mexican Presidents, one current and one former, are vehemently saying "absolutely not."
I live in Santa Fe New Mexico which is a "Sanctuary City," as also New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Boston are sanctuary cities. New York actually had sanctuary policies even under former mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, now an adviser to Trump's campaign!
Despite threats to cut off Federal funding to these cities, unless they capitulate to Trump and turn over the ostensibly millions of Mexican "criminals," most of these cities won't give up their status as sanctuary cities, for many reasons which are too vast and which go beyond the scope of this article.
Most of these cities are in the Northeast, the Northwest, and around Chicago and Denver. There are some entire states that are in varying degrees "Sanctuary States." These include: Oregon, California, North Dakota, Colorado, Rhode Island, and New Mexico.
The cities include some surprises like Portland, Maine; Montpelier, Vermont; all of Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas); South Tucson, Arizona; Bloomington, Minnesota; Milwaukee County, Wisconsin; Dallas County and Travis County (Austin) in Texas; at least 20 counties in Iowa, and several counties in stalwart Republican enclaves in Kentucky and Kansas, plus seven large counties in Florida.
It would be a political disaster for Trump's Administration to even start to cut off all Federal funding to these governmental entities, although, in all fairness to Donald Trump, this idea has come up before within the Obama Administration. The Department of Justice's Inspector General not long ago determined that some sanctuary jurisdictions are violating federal law, and could face debarment from certain federal funding or other consequences.
It might have originated from his advisers, but I won't even get into the curious shift from the campaign speeches demanding that Mexico pay for the wall, to now asking Congress to instead allocate the monies. Both the former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox Quesada, and the present President of Mexico have decried this idea. Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, have on many occasions clarified that Mexico would not entertain any requests to foot the bill, and Fox flatly saying Mexico would NEVER pay for such a wall.
Mr. Fox, who has been a regular critic of Trump, spoke in sharper terms about the border wall last February when he said Mexico was "not going to pay for that f-----g wall.
In a February 2016 interview, Fox bluntly derided Trump, stating that his support among Hispanics is worrying:
"I'd like to know who those Hispanics are, because they are followers of a false prophet. He's going to take them to the desert, and if they think that they will benefit with an administration led by Donald Trump, they're wrong. They must open their eyes. Please, you Hispanics in the US, open your eyes."
Fox again in a May 2016 very interesting with Bill O'Reilly:
There are many examples of Walls between Nations, both now and throughout history.
An anthropologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the author of a book titled "Illegality, Inc.: Clandestine migration and the business of bordering Europe," Ruben Andersson writes:
"Walls tend to be built for domestic political reasons by governments that want to be seen to be doing something about migration. It seems that where there's a wall, there's a way. In other words, people who want to cross a border badly enough will find creative ways to circumvent a wall -- even if it means taking greater risks by crossing elsewhere. These fences are not solving anything. Fences generate novel and more dramatic entry methods, such as the collective 'runs' at the fences we have seen at various borders in recent years," in reference to what happened in the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, with massive numbers of attempts in both 2013 and 2014.
In Arizona, the Tohono O'odham Nation, formally known as the Pima, vows to fight Trump's plan to build a wall across the length of the U.S.-Mexicoborder, because their reservation covers 75 miles along the border, with ancestral lands extend across both Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Tohono O'odham Nation Vice Chairman Verlon Jose put it this way:
"Over my dead body will a wall be built. I don't wish to die, but I wish to work together with people so we can truly protect the homeland of this place they call the United States of America, not only for my people, not only for our Tohono O'odham Nation members, but for the American people."
I am grateful here to an author at the UK's Daily Mail, Simon Tomlinson, Senior reporter and Night News Editor, for delineating many of these walls and their origins, which I will summarize.
Reece Jones is a University of Hawaii professor and is author of "Border Walls: Security and the War on Terror in the United States, India and Israel." Referring to walls between nations, he recently wrote:
"They are mostly effective against the poorest and most desperate. Well-funded drug cartels and terrorist groups are not affected by walls at all because they have the resources to enter by safer methods, most likely using fake documents. Shutting down borders "funnels immigrants to more dangerous routes through the deserts of the US southwest or on rickety boats across theMediterranean. The substantial increase in deaths at borders is the predictable result."
For example, more than 40,000 people have died migrating in the past 16 years, according to the International Organisation for Migration.
"Real border control comes through the arduous work of building ties and sharing information with other countries, stated Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly, aUniversity of Victoria professor in Canada.
"With the intense flows of people we see today, walls are perhapsnecessary for politicians. They tap into old myths about what borders should be -- the line in the sand -- which humans relate to. It's a lot more difficult for people to accept that diplomatic cooperation and sharing databases are much more effective in the long term."
"The one thing all these walls have in common is that their main function is theater," said Marcello Di Cintio, author of 'Walls: Travels Along the Barricades. You can't dismiss that illusion; it's important to people, but they provide the sense of security, not real security."
The limits of their effectiveness are visible everywhere - not least, with the migrants and refugees sitting on top of the fence along the border with Morocco and the small Spanish enclave of Mellila, on the North African coast.
There is a wall marking the United Nations buffer zone between the Greek Cypriot-controlled and Turkish areas of central Nicosia. Cyprus is split by the buffer zone east to west, with ethnic Greeks living in the south and Turks in the north.
There is a wall that separates Israel from Islam's holiest site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, plus the wall between Israel and Egypt, to keep out ISIS as well as Africans in general.
There is a major barbed-wire fence construction separating sections of Sri Lanka separating the Tamil areas from the non-Tamil areas and Sri Lanka's army recently began returning land it has occupied since the end of a decades-long separatist conflict to its original owners in the Tamil heartland of Jaffna.
Even the formidable Berlin Wall with its gun-toting sentries happy to kill whomever passed their threshold nonetheless leaked thousands of East Germans. Supporters of walls say a few leaks are better than a flood but we really should keep in mind the onerous psychological punishment, suppression, and manipulation many of these walls precipitate.
Think of all of the Bangladeshi farmers cut off from their neighbors when India erected the massive tangle of barbed-wire between these two nations, over the past ten years.
Between Morocco and Western Sahara is a sand wall called the 'Berm', which is surrounded by mines to stop the Polisario Front fighters crossing. At 1500 miles, it is second in length only to the Great Wall of China, and has kept many families separated for decades
Ukraine and Russia have a wall that both nations hope to extend to 1200 miles and completely close the relatively porous border, to keep everybody from crossing between the lands that Russia has claimed after it seized the Crimea.
A few years ago, Macedonia decided to block the border with Greece with barbed wire and using riot police stationed on the borders.
Hungary has built a wall separating it from both Croatia and Serbia, one of the main crossing areas for refugees from the Middle East particularly Syria. One has to wonder how many other nations chipped in with donations and loans to Hungary to achieve this particular wall.
Three other nations (Kenya, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) are constructing border fences in a bid to keep out jihadist groups next door in Somalia, Iraq and Syria.
From Israel's separation barrier, called the "apartheid wall" by Palestinians, to the 2,500-mile barbed-wire fence India is building around Bangladesh, to the enormous sand 'berm' that separates Morocco from rebel-held parts of the Western Sahara -- walls appeal to politicians who want to look tough on matters like "Homeland Security."
Other notable walls include:
Belfast, Ireland, where 99 "peace lines" separate Protestants from Catholics
Between Spain and Morocco, where Spain surrounds its enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla with large fences, despite both being on the African continent.
Between Saudi Arabia and Iraq, built by the Saudis to defend against ISIS by keeping out indoctrinated agents provocateurs disguised as refugees.
Between Turkey and Syria, eventually to be 500 miles long
Between Israel and the Left Bank, commenced in 2002
Between Turkish and Greek Cyprus, only 7 miles, but the intent is to keep poor refugees from entering Europe as well as to keep the Turks and Greeks from battling with each-other.
Historically, the foremost wall was the Great Wall of China, which worked off and on for centuries, starting with wall building efforts in the seventh century B.C., but ultimately failed in the course of China's long history. It was the brain child of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, and built between 220--206 BC. It was originally built to keep out the ancestors of the Huns and other Eurasian marauding "barbarians," but later took on other uses, including a way to collect import duties, regulation of trade, and control of immigration and emigration. With the watchtowers strategically located, the Wall became a logical protected transportation route from East to West, with 3900 miles of actual wall.
There was also Hadrian's Wall in northern England, which the Romans began around 120 A.D. marking the northwestern frontier of their empire and was built to protect the Roman province from the "barbarians" and "heathens," the ancestors of today's Scots. It was a total of 73 miles long, and was followed a few years later in 12 A.D. by Antonine's Wall, a bit to the north of Harian's Wall. Theories for its construction revolve around Hadrian's desire to demonstrate Roman power, and promoting defense before expansion. When he came to power in 117 A.D., Hadrian's Rome experienced a series of rebellions in North Britain, Libya, today's Israel (Judea), and even in Egypt and in present day Mauritania. It also helped to prevent abuses in smuggling, cattle-raiders, and immigration.
Neither of these walls ultimately worked very well, because the invaders always found a way to get over or around or under them.
The Vatican, ever mindful of the sack of Rome by so-called Barbarians only 500 years earlier, started building its wall in the 9th Century, mainly to keep out pirates.
In many cities in Eastern Europe, we still find many walls built to enclose the Roma, or Gypsies, almost all of which have been breached many times.
In the same context, remember that Germany in the 30's and 40's created Jewish ghettos, in, for example, Warsaw, Poland, which was started in 1940, to keep the 400,000 Jews in. Thus, the Gestapo rounding them up and taking them off to concentration camps to murder would be much easier than ghettos without walls, which would freely allow them to escape. Even in Warsaw, quite a large number of Jews were able to use the tunnels and sewers under the city to escape.
In the early 1950's after the tumultuous Korean War, North Korea built a massive wall and entire demilitarized zone across its border with South Korea, mostly to keep its own citizens from leaving, like the Berlin Wall, but also to keep South Korean infiltrators and agents from coming in.
We can't forget the Kremlin walls, in place since 1400, which have only a few times seen foreign invaders go over them. The Kremlin's walls were also of great use throughout Russian History as a way of keeping the government powers safe inside, even the Revolutionary powers like the Bolsheviks, as well as to shield all the hidden machinations and decision-making of the many epochs of Russian government.
After all of the discussions about a Wall Against Mexico are said and done with, however, I predict that it won't get built, and also that the entire discussion will precipitate and catalyze major restricting changes (and perhaps improvements?) in US immigration policies.
If President Trump has had such an outcome in the back of his mind all along as an ancillary result of such plans, that wouldn't surprise me at all. I honesty don't believe that his plans as of now involve any hidden basic premises of this labor-intensive and cost-intensive plan paid for by taxpayers resulting in folks like Dick Cheney and companies like Halliburton might getting to vastly profit from building the Wall Against Mexico.
All in all, we can see that in this history of walls between peoples has been used for persecution, genocide, elitist self-protection, sanctified theater, psychological warfare, and only rarely used to limit the influx of criminals as President-elect Trump has maintained.
It really is a very ugly history, when you take the long view implicit in any study of world history. I don't think Congress will cough up the money to build the Wall against Mexico, and even more certainly, nor will Mexico. It is not even their idea!
Mexicans supply a large part of the labor in jobs that Americans just don't want to do anymore. WHY SHOULD THEY PAY FOR ANYTHING like a wall between our two nations?
From The Hill and MAX GREENWOOD - 01/07/17
GOP lawmaker: Mexico paying for wall a 'gimmick'
“I never thought that would happen,” Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) told CNN. “I thought it was a gimmick.” House Republicans are gunning to include funding for the border wall in a must-pass spending package that has to be approved by April 28 to avoid a government shutdown.
The plan to include funding for the wall in the package is tied to a 2006 law signed by President George W. Bush calling for a physical barrier along the country’s southern border. That project was never completed. But the plan also suggests that Mexico would not be paying for the wall, as Trump has touted. Instead, the cost of building the wall, which some estimates place at $14 billion, would be paid by the U.S.
Washington Post, from Mike DeBonis:
“The GOP’s willingness to fund Trump’s border wall with taxpayer money could put the party’s deeply held desire to rein in government spending in conflict with its long-standing goal of cracking down on illegal immigration and toughening border security. Nonetheless, many Republicans do not see an inherent conflict.
“It would be a proposal that would cost billions of dollars to get done, but if it’s an appropriate priority for our country, it’s worth spending that kind of money,” said Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee.
“I think realistically we’re going to have to find a way to fund this,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), an Appropriations Committee member, said about the border wall. January 6, 2017
Building a wall to keep out unauthorized immigrants could also face intense opposition from a bipartisan coalition in Congress that argues that a vast barrier along the border would be ineffective in stopping people who are determined to enter the country illegally and would represent a symbolic affront to the idea that the United States is a welcoming country that embraces immigration.
“If President Trump asks Congress to approve taxpayer dollars to build a wall, which he has always said would not be paid for by U.S. taxpayers, we will carefully review the request to determine if these taxpayer dollars would be better spent on building hospitals to care for our veterans, roads and bridges to help taxpayers get to work, and for N.I.H. to find cures for cancer,” Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.
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