Unpacking the President’s Border Wall Speech

President Trump made his first ever Oval Office speech to argue for 1000 miles of physical wall on the southern border.

A good fact check analysis by PBS of the speech can be found here.

More to the point, the speech downplayed the very real human rights crisis precipitated by the administration’s own changes in how it handles people arriving at the southern border seeking asylum.   Under longstanding U.S. and international laws, those fleeing violence and persecution can apply for asylum regardless of whether they present themselves at, or enter without inspection between, ports of entry.  By “metering” the number of people who can apply at the border, creating weeks-long waits, and by deciding to forcibly separate and then to detain families and children, the administration has created a humanitarian and human rights debacle that a border wall will not solve.

Just a fraction of the $5.7 billion that President Trump seeks for the wall, if spent on more asylum officers and immigration judges, would lessen the backlogs in processing asylum claims that can last for years.  And directing some of those funds to the northern triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, if tactically and transparently deployed, could help improve the conditions that are forcing people to flee for their safety and survival.

MeBIC agrees with this cogent response by the Center for Migration Studies.  From a human rights and an economic perspective, this administration should be spending taxpayer dollars on meaningful immigration law reforms, not on a border wall.