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The border crisis: Fact or fiction?

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Anyone reading this column who is not aware of the ongoing political boondoggle issue of Trump’s demand for a border wall must have just come out of a long coma.

Even prior to our president’s nationally televised address, warning us of the dire nature of the state of affairs at our southwestern border, Trump has, from the onset of his race for the presidency and as the president, declared this as an urgent national safety issue.

Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants are pouring over our borders from Mexico, Trump warns. These hordes of illegals are saturated with drug dealers, rapists, criminals, terrorists, human traffickers and the worst sort of human beings, so our president would have us believe. Disaster is at hand.

As I write, our government is at a standstill, in shutdown. And all over the issue of Trump’s demand for a wall that he declares is necessary to keep our nation safe.

Eight hundred thousand federal workers face a payless month and millions of U.S. citizens are also paying a steep price as our governmental system is broken, dysfunctional.

Facts as to the actual situation at our southern border are at the fingertips of any citizen who really wishes to know them. The problem is the vast majority who support Trump’s assertion of imminent danger prefer to listen to the loudest voices, the ultra-conservative, right-wing propagandists who could care less about truth or facts.

I do not claim to have all the truth or to be infallible, but I do know how to do research and do so from reliable, long-respected and dependable sources. What do these tell us about this issue?

The Drug Enforcement Agency said, “…only a small percentage of heroin seized by U.S. authorities comes across on territory between ports of entry, not remote stretches of the border.”

In its 2018 report, the DEA indicated that most drug trafficking used by criminal organizations is to hide drugs in passenger vehicles as they drive into the U.S. through ports of entry. They also use buses, trains and tunnels, all of which would not be affected by a wall!

The independent and libertarian Cato Institute has conducted multiple studies and found that, “…people here illegally are less likely to commit crimes than U.S. citizens, and legal immigrants are even less likely to commit crimes.”

The journal Criminology recently found, “undocumented immigration does not increase violence.”

If Trump were honest with you, he would tell you, according to the independent Pew Research Center, the number of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. illegally has declined by more than 1 million since 2007. But when did such a fact matter to our president when he is seeking to stoke the flames of fear to get his promised wall?

In 2017, a report from a congressional watchdog stated that the government does not have a way to measure how well barriers (walls) work in deterring illegal entry into the United States from Mexico.

Between 2007 and 2015, the Government Accountability Office found we had spent $2.3 billion on the construction of wall barriers but could not measure their actual effectiveness. Trump is manufacturing his “facts.” Trump does not like to waste time reading well-researched reports. He has such a good brain and listens to his gut. Truth and facts are what Trump says they are and his worshipers believe him. This is how authoritarian leaders gain power.

We all want sensible, effective border security based on facts and modern technological advances, not on a $20 billion wall Mexico was supposed to fund.

Trump’s wall and his created border crisis reminds me of the childhood tale of Chicken Little. Trump is running around the country crying, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” Yes, Mr. President, it is — and you are the crisis!

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.