After 35 days, the longest government shutdown in U.S. history came to an end without approval for funding a wall on the southern border. The shutdown affected lives across the nation, leaving about 800,000 federal employees without pay, half of whom were still required to come to work without pay.
And I think that sucks.
President Donald Trump signed a bill to temporarily reopen the government for 21 days to allow for negotiations until the next funding lapse on Feb. 15.
While this is good news, Trump said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that another government shutdown is certainly an option if he and congressional Democrats cannot agree on funding for the border wall.
But the damage has already been done.
The Transportation Security Administration was one of the agencies most noticeably affected by the shutdown when security agents, who were required to work, began to call in sick to protest the shutdown. One spokesperson for the TSA workers’ union said calling in was not intentional. Many security agents could not afford to go to work without being paid.
The call-in rate at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport increased by 300 percent, according to Business Insider.
The absence of security agents resulted in flight delays at major airports across the country. “You can’t mess with a system that is so integral to the United States,” Trish Gilbert, executive vice president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said on CNN. “This is reckless, what has been going on with the shutdown.”
Trump said his reason for building the wall was to protect our border and prevent “very bad people” from coming to our country.
That may sound like a good intention, but the arrest and conviction rate of immigrants is much lower than that of native-born citizens, according to a 2018 Texas study by the Cato Institute.
A wall will not prevent illegal immigration into the country, especially if most people entering illegally do so by other means.
Most people living in the country without legal permission did not cross the border illegally. They are individuals who overstayed their visas, according to NPR.
Between 2010-2017, arriving by air and overstaying temporary visas has been the primary way of entering the country, Robert Warren, a demographer and senior visiting fellow at the Center for Migration Studies, said.
CRISIS Down SOUTH
To gain support, Trump repeatedly says we have a border crisis.
However, the undocumented population in the U.S. is at an all-time low. “The total undocumented population declined by about 1 million from 2010 to 2017,” according to a Center for Immigration Studies report.
Data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows that illegal entry from Mexico has fallen by more than 90 percent since the 2000s. “In FY 2017, CBP recorded the lowest level of illegal cross-border migration on record, as measured by apprehensions along the border and inadmissible encounters at U.S. ports of entry.” Additionally, the border patrol’s 2018 apprehension rate was the fifth lowest of the past 46 years.
Walls are not fool-proof barriers. Like all forms of security, they are merely a deterrent. They only prevent individuals and obstacles from crossing through them. Walls can be crawled under or climbed over.
Arizona border patrol tweeted a video of immigrants using a ladder to climb over a section of a wall in the state.
Our president continues to demand more than $5 billion in taxpayer money to build a wall to save us from a crisis that does not exist, and now it looks like his solution wouldn’t even work.
This raises questions about Trump’s real motivations for building the wall.
It’s ironic. In shutting down the government over a wall to supposedly protect its people from a supposed crisis of supposed danger posed by supposedly unchecked illegal immigration, Trump created a real crisis.