Trump's "Great Wall" represents dead American Dream
Every time I see the words, “Make America Great Again,” I imagine an enormous, medieval-style wall following the Rio Grande, complete with Trump Casinos at every mile. Immigration is an important topic this election season, which is made clear by the fact that the only position on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s website is immigration reform.
Trump supports tightening our borders, calling illegal immigrants rapists, murderers, and straight-up criminals. In addition, many conservatives trumpet stolen American jobs, a high cost to society, and violation of American law as downsides of immigration.
While Trump’s site describes the details of a brutal murder conducted by an illegal immigrant, it turns out that these “criminals” have a lower crime rate than nearly every ethnic group of U.S.-born citizens.
According to a report conducted by the Migration Policy Institute, American-born citizens have an incarceration rate of 3.51 percent. In comparison, foreign-born American Hispanics have an incarceration rate ranging from 0.2 percent to 2.2 percent, depending on their nation of origin.
Trump describes how $4.2 billion in tax credits were given to illegal immigrants in 2011. However, this reveals not an issue with illegal immigration, but with our nation as a whole.
If we are giving $4.2 billion to 11 million illegal immigrants, how much are we giving to the 300 million citizens present in this nation? Of course, most illegal immigrants are not contributing to our tax revenue, due to the fact that if they submitted their income to the IRS, it may be the last income that they submit in the U.S.
Trump and other conservatives argue that these people should not be crossing our border because it is against the law. However, the law is not a perfect, unbreakable contract handed down by a higher power. It is a structure of rules created by fallible people. According to Cambridge attorney and author Harvey Silvergate, the average American committed three felonies a day in 2009. Since then, the thousands of pages added to the U.S. Code likely increased that number.
Illegal immigrants are not stealing American jobs on a large scale; they are simply filling a void in the American economy. Many are working well below the minimum wage, as more and more Americans begin to support increasing it. According to a Hart Research Associates study, 63 percent of Americans support a $15 per hour minimum wage. Increasing wages and benefits, however, cripples small companies, many of which may have no other option than to find labor under-the-table.
While it is clear that our country needs some kind of immigration reform, kicking 11 million people out of the country is not the answer.
The Great Wall of Trump, which experts estimate to cost tens of billions, according to NBC, is also not the solution.
The solution is giving people the chance to become citizens and the chance to contribute to society. As people shout more and more about closing the border, they forget the origin of our nation. We are all immigrants, and we are all part of the American Dream.