We Do Not Understand Southern Border Immigration

The Southern Border Is Complicated, And Americans Don't Get It

"We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently and lawfully to become immigrants into this country." — Barack Obama

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President Obama, in 2005, called for comprehensive border security, a topic that has remained at the forefront of political discourse for decades. Today, it looks like the only option we have is to build a wall along the southern border that spans 1,954 miles, a length that is not easily rationalized by the average American.

The wall would be anywhere from 30 to 55ft tall and will go as deep as 10ft. A project this size is costly, and there are a number of different estimates on how much the wall could cost. FOX News reports the wall, including materials, yearly maintenance, and labor, would cost $25 billion. Other sources estimate that the wall could cost up to $67 billion to complete.

Where would this money come from?

American taxpayers.

I am a Democrat. One that is involved in the community, one that has worked on a very contentious US Senate race, and one that loves to grapple with issues that relate to safety and homeland security. I am a fan of comprehensive border security because, like President Obama said when he was a senator, we simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States when we do not know who they are, but the wall is a ridiculous idea and a waste of taxpayers' money.

The immediate argument becomes, "Well, so many other countries across the world have walls that work," or "We need to keep criminals out of our country." I understand these arguments and I understand the fear that other citizens may have, but these arguments are invalid.

Other borders that have fences, walls, and/or militarized barriers do not fit the situation that we have on our Southern border. India and Pakistan, The Gaza Strip and Israel, Israel and The West Bank, Egypt and Gaza Strip, North and South Korea, and Hungary and Syria are a handful of examples of borders with walls that divide countries and people. However, their experiences include conflict, which is something that is vacant from our experience down South.

The US/ Mexico border is different. We are not at war with Mexico. We are not at war with any of the countries that migrants are coming from. The people that are coming here are escaping violence and famine because that is the only option they have. If they stay, they die. If they leave to come here, they may still die but it is worth the risk.

We forget that almost 50 years ago, US influence began destabilizing countries by protecting our economic interests, supporting rebel groups in civil wars, and waging the war on drugs. Since the US did not have any part in rebuilding any countries affected by our foreign policies, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras, amongst others, were left with organized crime and crumbling governments.

Refugees today are likely targets for gangs or cartels, are escaping sex slavery, or do not have the resources to stay in their home countries, but we label these human beings as criminals- Murderers, rapists, drug and human traffickers, but a study conducted by the CATO Institute found that Migrants were 25% less likely to be convicted of homicide than native-born Americans, 11.5% less likely to be convicted of sexual assault than native-born Americans, and 79% less likely to be convicted of larceny than native-born Americans.

I am not arguing for open borders. The United States does not have the infrastructure to support that spike in population, but an archaic solution to a very 21st-century problem is nonsensical. Instead of spending $30 Billion on a wall, let's spend $30 Billion on a system that helps people contribute to our economy. Instead of spending $30 Billion on a wall, let's spend $30 Billion on a policy that will rehabilitate the governments that we destroyed. Instead of spending $30 Billion on a wall, let's spend $30 Billion to help HUMAN BEINGS find opportunity in "the land of opportunity." Instead of shutting down the government over $5.7 Billion, let's spend $5.7 Billion to work across the aisle and find a solution that is in the best interest of the American people, our economy, and the people who are risking their lives to come here.

The narrative of the United States in the world should be one that reflects empathy and innovation. This should be a place where we welcome those who come peacefully and are willing to contribute to society in order to find a better life. The majority of those who are coming here seek a fresh start. Who are we to reject those who are looking for "The American Dream"?

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Dear Immigrants, Don't Let Yourself Be Silenced

You deserve to be heard.

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Dear immigrants,

I write this not being from an immigrant family myself, but from a point of wanting to sympathize with you and let you know your struggles and sacrifices have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. We hear you and we commend you for your bravery.

All you want is to live a happy life in a place that provides you with the most opportunities to thrive and succeed, which your home country may not be able to do. Even if it means packing up your life and literally starting over somewhere completely foreign, you do it because you see the potential for the future for your family and children.

These choices are life-altering, and you put so much at risk by delving into the unknown. The melting pot that is the United States is quite the culture shock, made up ironically of a plethora of ethnic communities that all were immigrants once, too.

This can be comforting thinking that you are not alone in the immigrant aspect, but the process of assimilation can be completely overwhelming. You have seemed to create a happy mix of assimilation while contributing many admirable attributes of your own culture to society, which in my opinion is what makes the American culture so unique.

You have fought past the negative connotation that has been given to the word immigrant from the media, and continue to fight every day. You are an integral part of society and work so hard to chase your dreams and enrich society. The opposition and naysayers seem to be motivation, as you have successfully pursued rigorous degree plans at prestigious American universities, which is always something to be proud of. People may try to take away your strength mentally with hatred, but your education is one thing they can never take from you.

If you are reading this and you come from an immigrant family, I support you and respect you and all the hardships you may have endured. Whether it be to provide for children, siblings, or to pursue an education, remember to keep pushing past the struggles and celebrate all your victories. Although you may be thousands of miles from your family members, just imagine how proud they are of you.

If you are reading this and you do not come from an immigrant family, try to understand the immigrant community to the best of your ability, and think about everything they have been through. The United States was founded by immigrants, so it is very likely your family was in their position at one point. Take advantage of the rich worldly culture that surrounds us in our nation, you will be surprised by how much there is to learn from our international brothers and sisters.

I hope from this that one day we can all create a bright future united, for ourselves as individuals and the nation as a whole that we share.

Sincerely,

Carly Baysinger

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