What Does a Wall Mean to You?
I have always seen a wall as something holding me back. Others may find comfort and protection within confinements. It is natural to want to shield what you value from harm. Who cares what is on the other side if you already have everything you need? We can build conservation, tall and wide, and stand on the edge only to flaunt what others do not have.
But what does that say about our nation? Are we are so fearful of anyone who does not share our origins that we are willing to spend billions of dollars separating ourselves? A wall embodies the false idea that the world is divided into “us” and “them”. Putting up a wall, for me, is sending a message of hate. A message saying I solely respect my section of the world, and have no real need to respect yours.
However, if what the United States’ President Elect has so explicitly implied is true, if Mexico is intentionally sending rapists and murders to harm the US, then yes, some sort of protection is in order. A country intentionally shipping criminals almost sounds like terrorism.
Except it isn’t true. According to Ewing, Ph.D., Martínez, Ph.D. and Rumbaut, Ph.D. immigrants actually have a lower rate of criminal activity than the native born population. Also, there is a strong link to surging immigration rates and lower violent crime. Yes, illegal immigrants account for 9% of federal murders, but that is only 8 murder cases out of 11 million undocumented immigrants. Information does not support the claim immigrants are more violent. We must not blindly believe anything said with power or scare rhetoric.
However, even if the criminal rate was higher amongst immigrants does that actually say anything about immigrants? The incarceration rate for African-Americans is six-times higher than white Americans. Does that mean African-Americans are inherently more dangerous than whites and we should practice racial profiling? This simple fact gets down to the root of racism. Do you believe that African Americans are more likely to be incarcerated simply because they have dark skin? Or, do you believe African Americans are more likely to be incarcerated because of the situation our country has placed them in?
If you believe the second explanation, as I do, then we have to fiercely implement change and stronger legislation for equal opportunity. Building a wall is the complete antithesis of equality and acceptance. A wall, to me, is a subconscious belief that certain groups of people are less than.
“The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States.” American Immigration Council. N.p., 29 Nov. 2016. Web. 15 Jan. 2017. <https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/criminalization-immigration-united-states>.
Gomez, Alan. “Voices: How violent are undocumented immigrants?” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 16 July 2015. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.
Williams, Janice. “White Men Vs. Black Men Prison Statistics 2016: Why Are More African American Males Incarcerated?” International Business Times. N.p., 05 Oct. 2016. Web. 15 Jan. 2017. <http://www.ibtimes.com/white-men-vs-black-men-prison-statistics-2016-why-are-more-african-american-males-2426793>.