An article published last week describes the new constructions on the border wall that Donald Trump promised as one of his landmark campaign goals. The publication shows the US President signing one of the sections of the wall built in El Paso, a very straightforward declaration on Trump’s policy to stop illegal immigration. Although the wall Trump promised is nowhere near completion, the rhetoric and accompanying strategy have already created obstacles to the true problem: insecurity.
During the campaign, the issue was framed by Trump as securing the border from dangerous criminals who slipped into the US from Mexico. The wall is meant to be a symbol of the physical efforts to stop the illegal flow of people into the United States whilst the administration also applied many controversial measures that lead to children being separated from their parents.
All the promises were made based on describing immigration as a rapidly growing phenomenon that brought insecurity to the US. The reality is that studies show that migration from Latin America, and especially from Mexico, has actually decreased. This does not mean that migration has stopped, the refugee crisis existing at the border shows that many still try to enter the US legally to try and escape the insecurity in their country of origin.
One of Trump’s claims about the wall is it would also help in stopping the smuggling of drugs into the US. Not only would that be inefficient but it also obscures the US’s responsibility in what is indeed a security issue. The insecurity created by the drug trade affects the entire continent. And as much as the existing portions of the wall have been useless in preventing ‘criminals’ and drugs going into the US it has also failed to block weapons from leaving the United States and into criminal groups in Latin America.
According to reports by NGOs, in the period of 2014 to 2016, “50,133 guns that originated in the United States were recovered as part of criminal investigations” in various countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. That number only reflects a small portion of weapons that fuels existing criminal conflicts in many countries of the region. However, Trump’s rhetoric and constant accusations never recognise the responsibility of the United States in creating such unsafe environments to migrants.