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The hypocrisy of Donald Trump

1-15-2019

Julia Guerrein, Editor-in-Chief

On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office. Although his speech only lasted about ten minutes, Trump used that time to again push his anti-immigration agenda while creating a distorted picture of who immigrants are. This is not only a misrepresentation of the issue, but also a display of the president’s baffling hypocrisy.

 

First, it is important to recognize the use of the words “illegal alien.” From the get-go, this language creates an “us” versus “them” dynamic that is used to perpetuate a fear of people who  are made out to be “others.” These people are humans, just like you and me.

 

The most disturbing part to me is Trump calling the border crisis a “humanitarian crisis.” The way he meant it is different from how I think about the humanitarian crisis at the border. Trump’s argument is that children are being used as pawns at the border by “vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs” and that “one in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico.” What he failed to recognize during his address is why people are fleeing all they’ve ever known to come here.

 

An article published by the Brookings Institute in June cites a Doctors Without Borders report, which explains that people from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are fleeing death, rape, and being forced into crime. The report states that these countries are experiencing “unprecedented levels of violence outside a war zone” and that “citizens are murdered with impunity, kidnappings and extortion are daily occurrences. Non-state actors perpetuate insecurity and forcibly recruit individuals into their ranks, and use sexual violence as a tool of intimidation and control.”

 

The government is arguing that many of these people are not technically refugees, but the United Nations (UN) issued a report in 2015 that said “a significant percentage of those fleeing… may be in need of international protection, in line with the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.”

 

These people are seeking asylum from violence in their homes, and Trump’s response is to ignore that. It is not convenient for him and other supporters of the wall to see these people as human beings. It does not fit his agenda to treat children as children. Instead he separates them from their families, causing irreversible damage to their psychological well-being and relationships with their family.

 

Instead of building a wall, the money could be spent on any number of resources to help smooth the influx of immigrants. It could be used to fund more employees to process refugees and immigrants. It could be used to support those fighting human trafficking and sexual assault. Instead of using the money we have to tackle these issues in a constructive and lasting way, the Trump administration wants to block the rest of the world out and treat those seeking asylum like less than human.

 

I am not a starry-eyed dreamer. I know it is unrealistic to expect that we can open our arms and border to all people trying to come here. If immigration was an easy issue to solve, it would not still be a problem. Building a wall and then shutting down the government out of spite are not ways to solve that problem. Those things are only hurting people and wasting valuable resources. Instead of building a wall, our elected officials need to work together and build solutions that treat the people at the border with dignity.