By Kassie Boyd, editor-in-chief
President Donald Trump began his first televised Oval Office speech in January with claims of “a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.” The speech attempted to justify the 35-day partial government shutdown that left thousands of workers without pay, and reiterated his demands for a border wall between the United States and Mexico.
Simply put, there is no crisis along our southern border. According to a Border Security Metrics Reports compiled by the Department of Homeland Security in 2018, illegal border crossing apprehensions in 2017 were the lowest they’d been since 1971. That same report reveals that undetected illegal border crossings have dropped by approximately 800,000 from 2006 to 2016.
Though Trump’s claim that ninety percent of heroin enters the United States through our southern border is technically true, a 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment done by the D.E.A. revealed that most of this heroin is smuggled in cars via legal ports of entry, and physical barriers are already present in sectors with the highest percentage of heroin seizures.
The real crisis is not along the border but rather in the White House. On Jan. 25, President Donald Trump ended the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Approximately 800,000 federal workers labored without pay or were furloughed, and while the majority will be compensated, many relied on the regular income to support themselves and families.
However, federal workers are not out of the woods yet. The bill signed by President Trump offered Congress an ultimatum: “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 15, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.”
The American people have made abundantly clear that they value the wages of workers above a steel barrier. When asked about Trump’s next move, a poll conducted by CNBC revealed that 66 percent of Americans believed Trump should allow the government to reopen – even without proper funding for his wall.
In an age of unprecedented technological advancements, a wall is perhaps the least effective way to defend the border. House Democrats offered one generous deal after another. They even matched Trump’s $5.7 billion dollar border security budget provided that the money goes towards immigration judges and drones rather than a wall – though it was struck down by the Senate.
What President Trump has painted as Democrats’ unwillingness to compromise is nothing more than his inability to concede and explore other, more functional solutions.