Walls and Barriers

“Everybody knows that walls work,” Trump declared in his speech on Saturday. Really?

Over 30 years ago, another Republican president urged the president of the Soviet Union to “tear down that wall.” The barrier he was referring to was called the Iron Curtain and separated a nation and continent. It was made of concrete in the capital city, and of electrified fences of steel and razor wire in the countryside, monitored by soldiers in watchtowers. To reach the barriers, people had to get through no-man’s land, a death zone covered with land mines. Some made it, others were killed, but in the end, it all collapsed.

I grew up less than one hour away from that barrier, and it leaves me dismayed that we have learned so very little from history — barriers, no matter what they are made of, have never worked to prevent people from crossing to seek a better life.

Over one hundred years ago, when poor immigrants from Southern Europe, mainly Italy, arrived on our shores, they were called the “scum of the earth,” and the U.S. government tried to prevent them from entering with similar legislation and travel bans demanded by this current administration. The first wave of Chinese arriving before them, used as cheap labor to build the railroads to the West, were not treated any better.

Fortunately, it did not stop people then and will not now. We need immigrants to avoid the aging of our population, and the majority of immigrants are not only hardworking people but will make every effort to improve the life and education of their children.

I wonder how many Trump supporters are ready to pick the fields for minimum wage? Enough with the fear mongering!

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