The Mahoning County Republican Party tent received a lot of attention at the Canfield Fair over the weekend.
It wasn’t just that the Republican nominee for president stopped by on Monday. The tent had already drawn international attention for a display that had fairgoers sign their name on makeshift bricks to build a wall.
Several people called the fair office to complain about the display, which they found offensive. Mark Munroe, chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Party, told WFMJ there was nothing hateful about the wall.
“This is about national security and border security. It’s about keeping drugs from coming into the country,” Munroe said. “A nation that does not have borders or laws is not a nation.”
Maybe someone should tell Mr. Munroe that states seem to function just fine without protected borders.
But the reason many find the idea of building a border wall offensive is because it suggests undocumented immigration is an exclusively Mexican problem. Or that of all those here without papers, the Mexicans are the only ones Donald Trump cares to remove and exclude from the country.
In addition to being prejudiced, this mischaracterizes the nature of the issue. A 2006 report by the Pew Research Center estimated that about half of undocumented immigrants arrived in the country legally and overstayed their visas. A border wall would not prevent that.
Furthermore, the population of undocumented immigrants peaked at 12.2 million in 2007, and it’s been on the decline since then. The number of undocumented Mexican immigrants in the country also peaked in 2007. Since then, more have left than entered the country.
Trump often characterizes the border wall as a national security issue. Both at the convention and during his immigration speech in Phoenix, he used people who had lost loved ones to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants as political props.
It would be just as easy to trot out victims of crimes committed by people who were born here. Several studies have found that first-generation immigrants are less likely to commit violent crimes than natural born citizens.
Trump also argues that drugs are being smuggled over the border. While it is true the majority of drugs come from the south, the director of the Joint Interagency Task Force South told the BBC that 95 percent of drugs are coming over on boats.
Perhaps Donald Trump hasn’t heard of boats.
When presented with these facts, it’s hard to see how a wall between the United States and Mexico will stop undocumented immigrants from entering the country or decrease crime and drug trafficking.
Rather, the wall starts looking like a cynical ploy to play on people’s xenophobia by reinforcing negative — and inaccurate — stereotypes. In that light, it’s easy to see why many might find the local GOP’s tongue-in-cheek wall offensive.
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I want to thank the Jambar for its thoughtful editorial. It is correct in one respect. The immigration problem is more than just a wall issue. Rule of Law as applied to immigration has completely collapsed in this country. It is a wall issue. It is a visa issue. It is a sanctuary city issue. It is a vetting issue. Had the United States enforced the immigration laws already on the books…there would be no issue. Instead, this administration in particular has politicized it by not only encouraging breaking the law, but actively participating in it by ordering cities like New Orleans, for example, not to cooperate with ICE. Supposedly non-violent illegal immigrants are being let out of jails…and many of them aren’t so non-violent. The Jambar may trivialize the crime done by these folks, but when it is your family that has lost a loved one to a drunk driving illegal who because of lack of enforcement is till roaming the street…or has been shot while simply walking on a pier…the issue is not so trivial. Drugs coming across the southern border continue to be a major problem. It is rampant in our inner cities fueling the violence you are seeing in places like Chicago. If that issue cannot be addressed at the border, where can it be addressed? Terrorism is a real threat world wide. How is easy is it for a terrorist to cross the southern border when ICE has been told overtly not to enforce the laws? The lesson for the students at Youngstown State is that we are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws. It is the latter that sets us apart from the rest of the world. All nations are entitled to secure borders or it ceases to be a nation. All four of my grandparents came here legally and prospered. The priority should be taking care of Americans first. Legal immigrants second. Secure the border and then provide for an orderly process for those wanting to come here to enter. Wanting enforcement of laws does not make us racists. It makes us smart and provides for a safer and more prosperous America.
I just want to thank the Jambar for using 10 year old data, ignoring the real issue, an completely missing the point.
Good luck with your safe spaces.
-A YSU Alumni
And PS: I want to thank you: someone came in last night and bought 3 bricks in YSU’s name.
10 feet higher!
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