Border wall shutdown could prove harmful to New Orleans, other U.S. cities

Time has taught us to divide ourselves, whether it be by race, gender, age, sexual orientation or otherwise. As a country, these valleys separating us have possibly never been deeper than they are today.

In a time when unity is essential, Donald Trump is seeking to create a barrier in the most literal way. His campaign was based on hateful rhetoric meant to evoke deep emotion, positive or negative.

His proposed border wall is an assault on the diverse culture of the country, as well as the city of New Orleans.

The Trump Administration has already set its sights on New Orleans as a so-called “sanctuary city,” or a city that does not enforce federal immigration laws. Mayor Mitch Landrieu denies these claims, as New Orleans revised its immigration policies in February 2016.

The border wall would cripple New Orleans’ economy, to which immigrants contribute an estimated $7.6 billion a year. Currently, immigrants make up 7.4 percent of the New Orleans population. They are manufacturers, construction workers, business owners and students. In fact, the Orleans School Board recently voted to continue to allow undocumented immigrants in its schools.

During his campaign, Trump claimed that Mexico would pay for this border wall. Since Mexico has refused this demand, Trump is attempting to drum up funding in the next congressional budget bill. He claims the Mexican government will pay the U.S. back. Mexico has since responded, stating it will not pay for the wall “under any circumstances.”

This leads to the current question of who will fund the wall. Trump is pushing for Congress to fund the wall until Mexico reimburses the U.S., threatening a government shutdown if funding is not included in the next budget bill.

With the humanitarian disaster currently unfolding in Houston and across the Gulf Coast, coupled with Trump’s roll backs on Obama-era flood prevention policies, a government shutdown would be devastating.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston voiced her uncertainty over Trump’s willingness to offer aid to hurricane relief, stating, “I think the real question is if the President of the United States will be part of that leadership with a commitment not to shut this government down.”

The president faces a seemingly simple decision, to back down on his threats and allow a spending bill to pass, or to double down and veto any bill without funding for the wall, effectively stranding the people of Texas.

Hopefully, Trump finds it within himself to set aside his own personal agenda in light of the current tragedy.

This is an opinion article and does not represent the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Jordan is a freshman at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected]

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