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I firmly believe in an active form of democracy and holding our elected officials to account for the positions they take on issues that are of vital importance to the lives of “we, the people.”
To that end, I contacted my congressman, Rep. David Rouzer, R-7th District, seeking his position on the government shutdown, the wall and its funding.
Our government is in crisis. Not only are 800,000 federal workers going without paychecks as I write, but millions of U.S. citizens are suffering, facing the loss of their homes, unable to pay for food and essential medications. Government subcontractors are also among those growing more desperate by the day as this insane debacle continues.
Rouzer supports this shutdown, he supports the wall and he supports us taxpayers footing the cost of the wall. He need not worry. He sits in a voting district that the Republican Party has gerrymandered and carved out so that he is assured of support from the far-right constituents in his congressional district.
Rouzer can afford to ignore the fact that 71 percent of the American people are opposed to this shutdow which his president, whose lap he is in, has proudly claimed he takes full responsibility.
Listen to the race-baiting and fearmongering prompted by Trump and echoed by Rouzer in his letter to me, “…our nation has experienced an influx of very dangerous individuals with criminal records, an increase in human trafficking and a lethal spike in drug trafficking.”
He goes on to claim that even here in North Carolina we are suffering the results of this scourge of illegal drugs from Mexico taking the lives of our family members and neighbors.
For starters, our own government statistics indicate that the current flow of illegal immigrants across our southern border is at 1972 levels. I’m failing to see this invasion of rapists, drug smugglers and human traffickers about to destroy our democracy.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, less than 2.7 percent of the 11 million illegal immigrants have been convicted of a felony. Keep in mind that this figure includes all illegal immigrants, the majority of whom are those who have overstayed their entry visas, especially those coming in from Canada. A wall is meaningless in these cases, which is near 60 percent of all the illegals in the United States.
If Rouzer is serious about attacking human trafficking, he needs to take a hard look at Russia and its mafias operating in the U.S, coming in by ports of entry and across the Canadian border.
According to independent studies on the flow of illegal narcotics into the U.S., they come through our ports of entry, not by way of our southwestern border by illegal immigrants on foot. This is a Trump-created fallacy which Rouzer embraces and passes on.
If Rouzer’s staff would take the time to research the effectiveness of walls and barriers and their effectiveness to stop illegal immigration and drug smugglers, they would discover overwhelming evidence that walls don’t work. Years of research on this issue by the Cato Institute and the Pew Research Center validate this point. But when did facts and truth ever influence Trump’s policies and those who support him?
By the way, Congressman Rouzer, have you bothered to visit our southwestern border and talk to the farmers along that border whose livelihood depends on the daily crossing of that border by Hispanic farmworkers? Then there are those farmlands that have been farmed for generations by the same families that will be seized by the U.S. government to build your wall.
I’m certain that you, Congressman Rouzer, are being up front about the actual cost of this wall and its long-term upkeep which we, your constituents, will pay out of our hard-earned paycheck tax deductions.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers have estimated that the actual cost of this wall would hit $31.2 billion while Homeland Security estimates the cost at $22 billion.
Congressman, you were not happy just being Trump’s lapdog regarding this fake border crisis, the wall and the government shutdown; you felt it necessary to blame the poor and the elderly for our nation’s budget crisis.
Quoting Rouzer: “The country’s debt is driven by the mandatory spending programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare.” Then he adds “Social Security” as a part of the total problem.
Never mind, Mr. Rouzer, that corporate welfare, better known as corporate subsides, is almost double that of public welfare (subsidies). We look forward to November 2020.
Edward “Ned” Walsh of Princeton is a retired Baptist denominational worker who served as executive director of Johnston County Habitat for Humanity from 2004-08.