Things That Matter

Why “The Wall” Became Such A Lightning Rod For The Right And How Trump Capitalized On Its Complicated History

We all know that Trump 2016 campaign rested heavily on a promise to build “The Wall” that would keep Mexico’s “rapists” and “bad hombres” out of the United States. The premise of a wall along the southern border is meant to represent national security.

While we don’t need to explain the consequences of scapegoating a race, religion or nationality in world history (read: The Holocaust, mass genocide, and now child concentration camps), the United States has a unique history of political campaigning for “The Wall.”

We already have ongoing construction to impede access from Mexico into the United States.

@Breaking911 / Twitter

The United States has already spend perhaps billions of dollars on building a defensive wall along the border. We don’t have “open borders” and Democrats are not calling for “open borders,” as the GOP loves to exclaim.

“The Wall” was born during World War I.

@DurhamGala / Twitter

At the time, the U.S.’s agricultural industry was hopeful for immigrants to come to the U.S. to work in their fields. That economical need made it so that there were no restrictions on Mexican immigration. The vigilante border patrol group at the time was mostly targeting Chinese immigrants.

Congress created the U.S. Border Patrol in 1924.

@CBP / Twitter

With that agency in its infancy, Congress was then able to begin funding its purpose, one of which was to build a wall. Tin walls and standard fences were built, and neglected. Kelly Lytle Hernandez is a UCLA professor and author of “Migra!: A History of the U.S. Border Patrol.” In her book, she said that, “As the walls got higher, the tunnels got deeper.”

“The walls served as psychological solutions that didn’t work,” Hernandez writes.

@TheWhiteHouse / Twitter

President Richard Nixon rallied the call for The Wall greater than any President before him.At the time, The Wall wasn’t a symbol for keeping scary brown people out. It was meant to help stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S. from the cartel.

NAFTA hurt Mexico’s agricultural economy in the 1990s, prompting the Great Migration.

@karinapalomoo / Twitter

Millions of migrants started entering a United States with new immigration restrictions for more agricultural opportunities. The border fences that were erected in response were only in high population areas like San Diego and El Paso. Those new walls prompted migrants to risk their lives by crossing Arizona desert.

Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer all voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, signed by President George W. Bush.

@CBP / Twitter

That said, at the time, Republicans were trying to push a bill that would automatically make every undocumented immigrant a felon. The fence itself is what we see at the border today, spanning 700 miles of the 2,000 border. The GOP tried to gaslight Democrats by accusing the party as inconsistent. Today, Democrats think Trump’s wall is over-the-top and far too expensive to be worthwhile. During Trump’s campaign, he criticized the 2006 fence as “such a little wall, it was such a nothing wall.”

In 2011, President Obama declared that metaphorical Wall as “now basically complete.”

@disavowtrump2020 / Twitter

The GOP contested this, given that half the border is incomplete, though the vast majority of it are natural barriers like mountains and deserts.

“There are always planes,” says Hernandez.

@CBPMarkMorgan / Twitter
“There will always be other ways to get across,” she says. Democrats as a whole oppose Trump’s proposed border wall because they know it isn’t the solution. Throwing $12 billion U.S. taxpayer’s dollars at a concrete wall does not prevent tunnels. It does not resolve the problems in migrants’ countries of origins that force them to flee. It will just cost lives.

Conclusion: “The Wall” is a psychological barrier, not a solution.

@thehill / Twitter
That psychological barrier doesn’t block resilient, creative and desperate migrants. It’s an opioid for Trump’s masses. It may help those Americans feel safer, but it is not effective. Those billions of dollars could be used on education, on free health care, on, I don’t know, giving detained children toothpaste and soap. Better yet, that money could be spent on hiring more immigration court judges instead of allowing privatized detention facilities to house immigrants on America’s dime.
Of all the solutions, The Wall ain’t one.

Hurricane Hanna Battered Texas But Did It Actually Knock Over Part Of Trump’s Border Wall?

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Hurricane Hanna Battered Texas But Did It Actually Knock Over Part Of Trump’s Border Wall?

Jodi Jacobson / Getty Images

It’s official: hurricane season is in full swing and Texas has been hit hard by the first hurricane of the 2020 season to make landfall in the United States. And it potentially claimed a very high-profile victim: a segment of Trump’s beloved border wall.

On Sunday, a viral video started circulating on Twitter showing a segment of the wall tumbling over in strong winds. However, government officials have since claimed that the video is old news and that Hanna didn’t actually bring down any segment of border wall.

A video that went viral on Twitter on Sunday shows a section of the border wall toppling to the ground amid fierce wind and rain.

As Hurricane Hanna made landfall along the U.S.-Mexico border, ravaging towns and cities in its path – a viral video started to make its rounds on Twitter. The video showed a segment of the border wall falling over in what appeared to be very strong winds, like something you’d find in a hurricane.

The video posted to Twitter by journalist Yadith Valdez on Sunday shows construction workers standing by and watching as fierce gusts knock the steel structure to the ground.

The video served as yet another reminder that Trump’s border wall is useless and detrimental to the regions and people it’s targeting. Some pointed out that just last week, Trump was bragging about his vanity project, calling it ‘the most powerful and comprehensive border wall structure’ in the world.’

Well if this viral video is any proof, that’s simply not true.

However, some have called the validity of the footage into question, noting that it’s unclear when and where it was recorded.

Mexican news outlet Debate claimed in an article that the video was filmed at a section of wall dividing Texas from Ciudad Camargo in the state of Tamaulipas. However, Washington Post reporter Nick Miroff refuted that report in a tweet, saying that Customs and Border Patrol officials told him the video was not recorded in the Rio Grande Valley. 

‘Unclear where it was filmed, but based on desert terrain, daytime recording and style of bollards, I’m guessing these are images of a monsoon out west, prob Arizona,’ Miroff wrote.

And for their part, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement: “The video circulating on social media appears to be from June 2020 when high winds caused several border wall panels that were pending additional anchoring to fall over at a construction site near Deming, New Mexico.”

The clip became the target of widespread ridicule as critics likened the collapse to President Trump’s re-election campaign.

Credit: DAEMMRICH PHOTOGRAPHY / Getty Images

While the debate of where and when the video was recorded will continue to linger on, it is obvious that part of Trump’s expensive border wall between the United States and Mexico was toppled by strong winds at some point and people couldn’t help but make jokes about the construction that was a big part of the president’s campaign four years ago, which he vowed to make Mexico pay for.

Regardless of questions over the origin of the video, Trump critics had a field day with jokes about the collapse. Best-selling author Rick Wilson tweeted: ‘I have a Trump wall joke but it blows.’ 

Another man tweeted in response to Wilson: ‘I have a trump wall joke but I know it will fall flat.’ 

Yet another critic added: ‘I hope the Trump Wall is still under warranty. I’d hate to see Mexico have to pay for it a second time.’

Meanwhile, Hurricane Hanna inflicted major damage across Texas and northern Mexico.

Although many were talking about Hanna’s potential effect on the border wall, many cities and towns in the region were badly hit by the storm. She first made landfall near South Padre Island, Texas as a Category 1 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical depression.

The storm dumped more than 12 inches of rain along the US-Mexico border as it tore through the area with winds of up to 50 miles per hour.  

The section of Texas that was hardest hit is also dealing with a severe outbreak of Covid-19, complicating efforts by officials to respond to the disaster.

Trump, Living In Alternate Reality, Says The U.S. Has Less Coronavirus Thanks To His Border Wall

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Trump, Living In Alternate Reality, Says The U.S. Has Less Coronavirus Thanks To His Border Wall

Evan Vucci / Getty Images

Trump has long framed the U.S.-Mexico border wall – his vanity project – as protection from outside forces. He’s claimed that his wall will not only deter undocumented migrants from crossing the border but it will also prevent terrorism and crime and now, it provides health security.

On several occasions, Trump has tried to link his wall with protection from the Coronavirus. However, the pandemic is raging out of control within the United States. In fact, it’s other countries that are putting up barriers for Americans as they try to protect themselves from America’s failure to halt the spread of the disease.

Trump claimed that his border wall has protected the U.S. from Coronavirus.

During a Fox News interview with Chris Wallace, Trump made an absurd claim that the U.S. was protected from Coronavirus thanks to his border wall. Wallace was pressing Trump on the U.S. response to the pandemic and how it’s number one in both infections and deaths.

“But you take a look, why don’t they talk about Mexico? Which is not helping us. And all I can say is thank God I built most of the wall, because if I didn’t have the wall up we would have a much bigger problem with Mexico,” Trump told Chris Wallace.

However, Trump must be living in an alternate reality if he truly believes that his border wall has helped prevent the spread of Coronavirus into the country. The U.S. currently has 11 times more cases and far more deaths from the outbreak than Mexico. As of today, Johns Hopkins totaled more than 144,000 deaths and 3.97 million infections in the United States.

Then there’s the fact that the Trump administration has actually been very slow to build Trump’s vanity wall project. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 245 miles of barrier have been built so far, including parts that replaced older barriers. That’s 245 miles of a 1,954 mile long border.

However, this wasn’t the first time that Trump has made such claims.

Long before Coronavirus had claimed it’s first known victim in the U.S., President Trump was already trying to connect the disease to the U.S.-Mexico border and his wall project.

At a rally in South Carolina on February 28, he argued that we needed to build more wall to keep the virus out, even though it was already in the country and spreading like wildfire.

“We must understand that border security is also health security,” Trump argued. “We will do everything in our power to keep the infection and those carrying the infection from entering our country.”

That same day, the U.S. had 63 known cases of COVID-19, and Mexico announced its first two confirmed cases. Nevertheless, Trump and some of his allies have continued trying to frame illegal crossings of the Mexican border as a top potential source of coronavirus in the United States.

Just this month at a visit to an Arizona segment of the border wall, Trump tried to credit his new wall with stopping both undocumented immigration and the Coronavirus.

“It stopped COVID, it stopped everything,” Trump said.

His comments sparked outrage on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump is known for uttering complete falsehoods – he’s told more than 20,000 since taking office. But these comments about his wall protecting the U.S. from Coronavirus (as it rages within our borders) left many shocked.

In Mexico, President AMLO was asked about Trump’s assertion that construction of the border wall has prevented Coronavirus contagion coming north from Mexico. Although AMLO acknowledged he doesn’t agree with Trump, he also wouldn’t confront him.

“I respect President Trump’s point of view,” López Obrador told reporters during a daily press conference. “Of course I don’t share his opinion, but I’m not going to confront [Trump],” he added.

Both countries have been hit hard by the pandemic, but the U.S. leads the world in infections and deaths.

It’s true that Mexico has also been hit hard by the pandemic. The country is currently ranked seventh globally in terms of the number of infections and fourth in number of deaths. As of July 22, Mexico has 356,255 confirmed Covid-19 cases and has suffered more than 40,000 deaths. Although those numbers are disheartening, they pale in comparison to the figures seen in the United States.

And although the virus has spread aggressively in both countries, Mexican governors of states that border the U.S. have called for stricter border controls to protect their residents. States along the southern border (including California, Arizona, and Texas) have become the new epicenter for the virus in the United States and Mexicans hope to prevent contagion into their states.