Even Communities Along the Border Don’t Want a Wall

On the evening of February 11, Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Texas where his calls for a border wall featured prominently. It was a common refrain in 2016, and it looks like the same will hold true in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

The president propped up his rhetoric with blatantly false claims, like insisting that El Paso was positively riddled with crime before border wall construction began. Meanwhile, faces in the crowd distorted with hate as they shrieked their demands for a border wall.

The problem is that, aside from being a racist costly boondoggle, communities by the border actually specifically do not want it — and they’re tired of hearing the president use them as pawns in discussions about this issue. While attitudes about the wall are by no means uniform along the U.S.-Mexico border, groups as diverse as law enforcement, native communities and people facing eminent domain condemnations of their homes aren’t interested in what Donald Trump is selling.

Let’s start with law enforcement, since Trump often leans heavily on his “tough on crime” stance and the need to support police agencies. Well, at least two border sheriffs oppose the wall, maintaining that there isn’t a crime wave along the border. Meanwhile, the shutdown the president created put serious strain on law enforcement agencies and officers.

Reporters for the Star-Telegram spent an extended period of time along 325 miles of the border to interview people who actually live there, and the overwhelming takeaway was that these Texans weren’t interested. They cited a variety of reasons for their opposition, but the theme of feeling like immigration wasn’t really a problem kept coming up — and that was true for people of all political stripes. Overall, 61 percent of people in Texas oppose the wall, higher than national polls, at 58 percent.

Meanwhile, Native communities are speaking out about what increased border security and proposals for the wall are doing to their culture, traditions, families and food supply. Many indigenous people live on sacred lands that extend across both sides of the colonialist border, and they’ve historically been allowed free passage back and forth. Now, the side they live on can have life-changing consequences, separating families and communities.

Building the wall will also inevitably require some confiscation of land via eminent domain, though the administration has been downplaying this fact — likely because property rights are a hot-button issue for conservatives.

Yet, people are already receiving notice about construction on or near their land, including a Texas teacher who lives right along the border in a home her family has owned for generations. She’s not impressed with proposals to build the wall, again commenting that she sees very little immigration activity near her home. The feds are also threatening to plow through churches, butterfly sanctuaries and more.

There certainly are pro-wall people living along the border, but their views appear to be in the minority; many people don’t see the need to waste money and resources on this project, even in cases where they take a hardline stance on immigration.

After all, the wall won’t prevent people from coming here; it will just make it harder and more dangerous while destroying border communities.

So when you hear people making dismissive comments about states like Texas and Arizona and suggesting that everyone there is a conservative who hates immigrants, think about sheriffs and teachers and butterfly lovers who refute that stereotype. Or consider how Beto supporters attending a counter-rally in El Paso beat Trump’s turnout two to one.

Photo credit: Tom Hilton/Creative Commons

55 comments

Anna R
Anna R21 days ago

thank you

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Elaine W
Elaine Wabout a month ago

Noted. Thanks and petition signed.

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Ruth S
Ruth Sabout a month ago

Thanks.

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Ruth S
Ruth Sabout a month ago

Thanks.

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heather g
heather gabout a month ago

I like the description I read about earlier, namely, Donald Trump ‘doing his impression of a coke addict’. It is heartening to read that border area people are mostly against the wall.

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silja salonen
silja salonenabout a month ago

hmm ... isn't there one person with common sense in the WH. Walls do not work!

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Shirley P
Shirley Plowmanabout a month ago

GREAT, NO WALLS EVER,

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Elaine W
Elaine Wabout a month ago

How can anyone trust someone who lies and makes up his own statistics. They take his word because they do not want to have to think for themselves.

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Dot A
Dot Aabout a month ago

Cheese 'n crackers, got all muddy! Reading some of the comments here, can make anyone's crackers soggy! 911. really? We can see how logic isn't how tRump wins his audience,.... Cheese!!!

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Mary B
Mary Babout a month ago

NO WALL ! There are tunnels and air planes. Stupid people.

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