COMMENTARY: Why not build a wall and rid ourselves of Dreamers?
There’s a raging debate across the country about whether a tradeoff between a Dream Act and money to build a border wall is a good deal. It’s high time to say things as they are: We should do both, build the wall — the tallest wall — and keep all the Dreamers out.
Those who defend the Dreamers often argue that these folks were brought here as children, through no fault of their own, and that they are not to blame for their parents coming to this country in search of a brighter future for their families. They claim that these young men and women have no country to call home other than the United States.
Well, they might have been brought here as children, but they are certainly grown up by now. And if they’re not, as soon as they turn 18, these boys and girls should man-up and return to the country where they were brought from. Who cares that they have no family, don’t know the language, and have no connections to those countries! If they are, as they claim to be, bright and hardworking young men and women, they will certainly learn the language, make new friends and figure out how to make do back there. Who cares that they are teachers, nurses, doctors, artists, lawyers, police officers and contributing members of our communities and the economy! They should have thought about the possibility of being deported before putting thousands into an education, sacrificing long hours for years, and trying to better themselves and their families. There’s no room for that kind of reckless people in this country.
Some of these dreamers have tried to join the Armed Forces only to be turned away when they discovered that they lack the proper documentation. Thankfully! Even if they have the desire to serve this country — the country they can call home — what assurances do we have that they will be uncompromisingly loyal to the United States? Who can assure us that they will not join and risk their lives in the Armed Forces but in the back of their minds be thinking that they wish they were supporting the armies of Mexico or Guatemala or Costa Rica? That is a risk we cannot afford to take.
Critics of building the border wall argue that it will not keep people from crossing illegally into the United States because they will simply use a taller ladder. To them I say that the answer is simple: If they build a taller ladder, we will build a taller wall. No improvised group of Third World lawbreakers is going to outwit the mightiest military power on Earth.
Others claim that the wall will cause irreparable environmental damage in South Texas and destroy natural sanctuaries such as the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, in Alamo, and the National Butterfly Center, in Mission. Those tree huggers are misguided. Anyone who has walked around in either of those places in the dead of summer will know how miserable it is to feel the south Texas heat and have to bear the long cicada songs as you watch the sunset; go for a stroll early in the morning and be frightened that you might run into an indigo, a red-tail hawk, or an ocelot; have to suffer the breeze of the Rio Grande as it winds its way down toward the Gulf and not be able to bathe in its waters; go bird and butterfly watching and be bothered by the graceful flight of a monarch or a Giant White butterfly or, worse, a rare hummingbird. I’m much more at ease knowing that a big, beautiful slab of concrete will go up there and keep all these nuisances out of my sight.
For anyone who says walls don’t work, all they have to do is take a look at history. Walls have been tried in other places before, and the only reason none of those worked is that they weren’t tall enough. Our politicians should not make the same mistake.
The art of this deal is not to trade a border wall to save the Dreamers. Nonsense. It’s truly inspiring to see a president and Texas senators willing to stand up for their convictions: Separate families in order to erect a concrete barrier that will destroy our local natural habitat — and spend billions of dollars doing it.
These guys are, like, really smart. We should all make sure to remember this when we vote this November.
Efrén Olivares is racial and economic justice director at the Texas Civil Rights Project in Alamo. He writes for The Monitor’s Board of Contributors. And in case it wasn’t obvious to you, this piece is satire.