King’s Students Respond to Controversy Surrounding Trump’s Wall and the Effect on Local Communities.
According to a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center, the majority of Americans (58%) oppose substantially expanding the border wall, while 40% favor the proposal. The contentious issue has elicited strong responses from Americans, and King’s students, all over the political spectrum.
Aside from policy differences regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of the wall, and the relative importance of border security, students face what they feel to be a cultural and moral divide.
“The wall is a flex tactic that is being used as a sign of nationalism,” said Sha Sanders, a member of the Table. “I believe we should have border security, but I believe the way Trump’s administration is going about the border is wrong and in many ways inhumane.” Sanders expressed concern about the support Trump has gained and the divisive sentiments deeply ingrained in his campaign. “It’s absolutely distasteful,” she said.
Other students think the media has unfairly represented the issue. Conrad Franz, a “devout Trump supporter,” stressed the human trafficking risks incumbent of an open border.
“There are children apprehended at the border attempting to cross illegally… with people that are not their parents...The much bemoaned ‘family separation’ issue is more complicated,” Franz said.
However complicated, the divisive political climate has negatively impacted the lives of students belonging to racial minorities.
“Often when I’m going through Canal St. There are ICE officers that will stop and ask for identification to prove that I’m here legally. It’s become a fear of mine to walk through the streets without a form of ID-- even if I have my license number memorized, that they won’t believe me--” said Anna-Grace Bolen, a student adopted from Ecuador.
The Trump era, and its surrounding controversies, has struck a deep chord with Bolen.
“It doesn’t matter that I don’t have an accent. My sister-who lives in Ecuador- sent me one of those Incan alpaca hoodies…When I was in the south, I got stopped going through the airport and was told that my ID was fake,” she said.
Students struggle to evaluate the pragmatic issues amidst the bi-partisan rhetoric.
“I am for the wall. But, I think there is a lot of racism that goes along with it. If you remove Trump’s sarcasm, and his crude language, or his personality in general… I think he genuinely thinks [the wall] is the best way to secure our southern border,” said Natalie Imperial, a sophomore at The King’s College. “We have no protection from sex trafficking and drug cartels, which I think is ridiculous.”.
Despite her concern for the border, Imperial recognized the implications of Trump’s galvanizing behavior.
“There is a lot of hatred, and the way Trump talks is an issue… it’s inexcusable. I support a lot of Trump’s ideas, and the building of the wall, but I think he lacks humility. Even if he has good ideas, they won’t be received well by citizens if he’s not willing to appeal to kindness, or professionalism-expectations that come along with the presidential seat,” Imperial said.