January 10, 2019
The new year is already packed with history-making politics. There are now more women in Congress than ever before. Nancy Pelosi has reclaimed her position as Speaker of the House and Democratic candidates such as Elizabeth Warren are slowly but surely gearing up for the 2020 presidential election.
But amidst all this progress, a partial government shutdown has been dragging on for weeks now. While the government shutdown may not be directly affecting you, it is disrupting the lives of many across the United States.
As a result of the shutdown, the Smithsonian museums and many National Parkshave closed. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees, who are crucial tonational security, are working without pay.These are just a few of the tell-tale signs of agovernment shutdown. But the consequencesare only expected to become more severe asthe shutdown continues—illustrating the pervasive role of the federal government in manyaspects of our lives.
Despite the need for an immediate remedy,President Donald Trump is proving to be a hard bargainer. He is maintaining his poker face, boldly willing to let the shutdown persist for months or perhaps even a year. As of today, there is no end in sight.
The primary reason for the shutdownstems from one of Trump’s main campaignpromises to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexicoborder. In order to accomplish this, Trump isrequesting over 5 billion dollars. Apart fromthe government shutdown this has caused,Trump’s proposal to build a new wall is troublesome for a number of reasons.
Throughout his campaign and presidency,Trump has placed such an emphasis on the wall that he neglects the other ways individuals or contraband can enter the United States.For example, elaborate tunnel systems have been used by people like the infamous cartel leader El Chapo to smuggle contraband across the border. Even if President Trump gets the funding for the border wall, it is impossible to create an impenetrable force around the United States.
Not only is building a new border wall illconsidered, it is also costly. From the start,Trump has been adamant that Mexico willpay for the wall. He continues to stand by thisstatement claiming that Mexico is indirectlypaying for the wall via his restructuring ofthe North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA). The New York Times, however,found Trump’s statement to be false. Taxpayers are ultimately the ones who have topay for the wall.
If the goal is to improve national security,there has to be a more effective way to do so.For example, during Tuesday night’s broadcast, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi offered several suggestions. Among other things,she said we could “install new technology to scan cars and trucks for drugs coming into our nation” and “fund more innovation to detect unauthorized crossing.” Trump, alongside Democrats and Republicans in Congress,must agree to a solution that will improve national security in the most sensible way.President Trump must reconsider his request for the sake of those negatively affected by the government shutdown.
Celia Martinez is a sophomore political science and communication major and is the editor of the Opinion Section.