Opinion: No ban, no wall—America for all

Brian DiPaolo is a senior history major with a minor in political science. He serves as the historian of the Kent State College Democrats and can be contacted at [email protected].

Brian DiPaolo

If you have been following the political climate for the past year and a half – or even for the past few weeks – you must be aware of President Donald Trump’s controversial stances on immigration and how they are developing in his first hundred days in the White House.

On Jan. 24, the president stated he intends to begin building a massive border wall, which will make it more difficult for Mexican immigrants to pass through the southwestern land border of the United States. Republicans have been using talk of walls as campaign promises for ages — Pat Buchanan campaigned on a wall platform in the 1992 Republican primary.

As with their decade-old promise to overturn Roe v. Wade, this too, I believe, will be a hollow campaign promise that the Republican Party will never fulfill to its voters.

On Jan. 27, Trump signed an executive order banning visitors from Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Iran for at least 90 days. This order is currently being challenged by the court system and is not fully in force.

Trump’s current way of going about immigration policy will backfire on him. Time and again in American history, when a president has taken foreign policy into their own hands, without consulting Congress, they are more easily able to be blamed for any misfiring. This was what ultimately tarnished the administration of former President Lyndon B. Johnson concerning involvement in the Vietnam War.

As a Democrat and progressive, when it comes to protecting our country, I believe in employing a smart defense with a sound offense. When push comes to shove, this country needs to be protected, but the current “defense” plan of the Trump administration is not smart at all.

A wall on the southern border will not stop the inflow of undocumented/documented immigrants into this country. They will still find ways to get here via boat, planes and smuggling. A wall with Mexico also will not stop the undocumented immigrants who come here through European countries and Canada. If Trumpists care so much about “just the illegal immigrants,” where is their outrage on this matter?

Furthermore, a wall would be an economic disaster for Americans, as they will be paying for it out of their own pockets through tariffs—there is no way short of a trade war or second Mexican-American War that Mexico will pay for this wall. Where is the “fiscal conservatism” that the Republican Party shoved down our throats during the Obama years?

The travel ban is another example of an unsound and dumb defense (which I think we will see a lot of in the coming years from the Trump administration). To arbitrarily ban travelers from such a random slew of countries is a nightmare for international relations.

By banning legal travelers with visas (who were an innocent bystander of Trump’s initial executive order), this further alienates nationals of other countries who are sympathetic to America. By banning refugees from entering the country, Trump is risking the chance of embittering Syrian children to grow up to become the next generation of ISIS.

My great-grandparents were immigrants to this country from Italy. They faced discrimination and were called ethnic slurs. Viewed as subhuman by some, college was not an option for my ancestors.

Nearly a century after their arrival to this country, who am I to deny the next generation of immigrants a piece of the American Dream?

We are all immigrants.

Brian DiPaolo is the historian for the College Democrats, contact him at [email protected].