Political Focus: Walls do not work, and there is plenty of evidence to prove it

The government shutdown is exceptionally close to a resolution with the swearing in of the new majority Democratic House of Representatives.

Hopes of resolving the government budget, however, are still at a standstill as Republicans are digging in behind President Donald Trump over border wall funding. There are signs that the end is in sight, but border security and the complete coverage of the Mexican border are still one of Trump’s biggest policy stances, and so he will likely only give up kicking and screaming.

In a world where statistics and history have any bearing on public policy, a border wall should never even exist as a concept. This government shutdown shouldn’t have happened, and Trump and his Republican counterparts have a lot to answer for.

Border walls have ancient roots. Whether you think of Hadrian’s Wall or the Great Wall of China, there’s a good chance you can think of some kind of physical divider that a sovereign nation has built in the past in an attempt to keep enemies out or citizens in.

Every major border barrier has, in some way, failed in its purpose. Rome collapsed after barbarians invaded from the north, and the Mongols ransacked ancient China and swept across the face of the Earth. Some even managed to break through the Berlin Wall.

The bottom line is that stagnant barriers do not work in deterring people from crossing them. The power of human ingenuity will always overcome whatever wall $5 billion can buy, and the people fleeing to the southern border are driven by incredibly dangerous and powerful circumstances. Even if they are physically imposing, they require constant staffing, funding and attention. A wall will only make their dangerous trip worse, and those billions of dollars will suddenly feel insufficient.

These insufficiencies can already be felt today. Multiple news sources are reporting on border guards firing tear gas over the border into Mexico to prevent migrants from entering the country. A wall will still need to have guards like these lining the border, they will still need to be armed and paid and they will need to be brutal and ruthless if they want to be fully effective.

And even then, people will still come through because their alternative is to return to a home run by dictators we helped create, or a home where poverty is rampant and opportunities are nonexistent. These people who look to our country for aid are instead met with smoke bombs.

The Republican Party, and any other person locking our country down over a 2,000-mile border, need to back off and stop this line of reasoning immediately. History and statistics tell us that these things simply do not work, and it would require resources on par with the Berlin Wall to get them to even the most effective state possible. And that is not a pretty comparison.

Instead of asking how we keep people out, we need to alter the conversation to how we help people come in. The United States prides itself on being a diverse land, and to truly embrace this mentality and help our country forward we need to look for policies that allow our country to help more people.

The government may soon be open again after far too long, but unfortunately, I don’t believe this is the last we’ve heard of Trump’s wall.