The Wall: A Leap Forward Or Back?


Image credited to Eden E.

The longest government shut down in history has been caused by a border wall.

Alisha G., Ashima G., and Maleehah H.

Trump’s wall has been a source of dispute for 28 days. But what exactly is the government shutdown? The government shutdown means federal agencies that lack proper funding for their work have been closed. How did this happen? Simply put, President Trump requested about $5.7 billion from Congress in order to build a wall/fencing on our border. When he was denied by Congress, he refused to agree to a budget, pushing the government into a partial shutdown, leaving nine out of the fifteen Cabinet-level federal agencies out of work.

Considering Trump’s decision to shut down the government, many people are blaming him for this catastrophe. Trump tweeted, “I am doing exactly what I pledged to do, and what I was elected to do by the citizens of our great Country. Just as I promised, I am fighting for you.” Trump had also pledged that he would make Mexico pay for the border wall, yet there seems to be little evidence that this will directly take place.

However, others believe that the real culprits for the shutdown are Democrats. “Why is (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi getting paid when people who are working are not?” tweeted Trump. Speaker Pelosi is currently earning approximately $223,500, while federal workers are faced with two choices: either working with no wages or simply staying at home and calling off work. Along with this, Democrat representatives like Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer, tweet stories of the federal workers who have been furloughed, but appear to offer no compromise to end the shutdown.

Brian Kolfage, an Air Force veteran and triple amputee, created a GoFundMe campaign for the southern border wall. Kolfage wrote on the campaign’s page, “Eight days before Christmas I started this GoFundMe campaign because I was tired of watching the U.S. government’s inability to secure our southern border. Like most Americans, I see the porous southern border as a national security threat and I refuse to allow our broken political system to leave my family and my country vulnerable to attack.” The campaign raised about twenty million dollars of its one billion dollars goal before being shut down, as the GoFundMe campaign was made to be an “all or nothing” campaign.

Tension has continued to build between Democrats and Republicans since the start of this shutdown. Pelosi tweeted, “@realDonaldTrump, stop holding the paychecks of 800,000 Americans hostage. There is no reason for them to be suffering right now. Re-open the government!” However, Nancy Pelosi is not the only person firing shots. Trump tweeted, “A big new Caravan is heading up to our Southern Border from Honduras. Tell Nancy and Chuck that a drone flying around will not stop them. Only a Wall will work. only a wall, or steel barrier, will keep our country safe! Stop playing political games and end the Shutdown,” aiming his tweet directly at Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, who seem to be his main opponents.

Though Democrats and Republicans disagree on the building of the southern border wall, their ideas haven’t always been so different. Speeches from both Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer appear to address the building of some type of barrier. “This year the Senate passed an immigration reform bill by a wide bipartisan majority, and it addresses the key issues that need to be addressed,” In 2013, President Obama stated, “It would strengthen our borders. It would level the playing field by holding employers accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers.” In his speech, Obama explained that the reform bill would “provide a pathway” for those who wanted to enter the United States legally. Because of this, Republicans accuse Democrats of hypocrisy. Some believe that Democrats have changed their way of thinking solely because they dislike Trump.

Overall, the shutdown has been a huge mass of confusion and tension as workers have had little way to earn an income. “Polls are now showing that people are beginning to understand the Humanitarian Crisis and Crime are at the Border. Numbers are going up fast, over 50%,” Trump tweeted, “Democrats will soon be known as the Party of Crime.” “People have different views on what’s good for border security. We all agree we need strong border security. But don’t shut down the government while we’re debating,” said Schumer.