GOP lawmakers take a trip to the border so they can promote failed wall


Republicans are sharing videos of themselves in front of the wall to push exacerbated rhetoric about a so-called 'crisis' at the southern border.

Senate Republicans spent part of their recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border filming public service announcement-style videos in front of the wall that experts have repeatedly said is not effective in combating the undocumented immigration GOP lawmakers have deemed a "crisis."

A delegation of Senate Republicans toured the border near the Rio Grande Valley in Texas on Friday in a highly publicized event intended to give an impression of chaos.

Days later, in a series of videos, the lawmakers continued to aggressively promote the border wall and drum up support to continue its construction.

On Tuesday, the official Senate GOP Twitter account featured a clip of Sen. John Barrasso (WY) standing in front of a section of the border wall, saying, "This is a wall. A Wall works."

Another video posted by the account on Monday showed Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) saying, "Walls are very effective when it comes to fighting illegal immigration. Let’s complete the wall."

Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA) posted his own video on March 26, standing in front of a section of the wall and saying he agreed with Donald Trump that's it was beautiful.

"Maintaining a strong border is the responsibility of a sovereign nation," he tweeted alongside the video. "Border Patrol agents confirmed to the senators that the border wall works and needs to be finished to help guarantee our national security."

But experts have said time and time again that walls don't work.

In addition to the fact that the border wall can be breached relatively easily, as numerous demonstrations and videos have shown — Border Patrol insists the construction works exactly as intended because it slows people down — the idea that such a barrier would cut down on most undocumented immigration or the illegal drug trade is mostly farce.

Dudley L. Poston Jr., sociology and demography professor at Texas A&M University in College Station, noted that a vast number of undocumented immigrants don't cross the border but instead overstay their visas. Others are sometimes able to pass through the U.S.-Mexico border without detection or using fraudulent documents, the expert added.

Additionally, most cartels and smugglers have developed complex methods of transporting illegal goods and substances across the U.S. border, that complete undermine any kind of physical barrier — including through elaborate tunnel systems — while others have flown illicit drugs in on air cargo shipments, or brought them directly through legal ports of entry.

Some have even utilized the Postal Service to deliver their goods, often going completely undetected.

Historians have said walls namely serve as a political symbol to otherize groups of people.

"They're a performance of a set of ideas of who belongs on the inside and the outside of a particular country," Reece Jones, a professor at the University of Hawaii, told Rolling Stone in January 2019.

The geopolitics expert noted that much of the talk about securing the border is rooted in racism, stemming all the way back to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. "The entire idea of patrolling the border and having restrictions on immigration in the United States is founded on racial exclusion," Jones said.

Republicans' latest push for the border wall comes as part of a larger effort to paint the U.S. southern border as being in crisis mode.

In their videos, GOP Sens. Dan Sullivan (AK), Tommy Tuberville (AL), and John Hoeven (ND) insisted such a crisis existed and was proof that construction on the wall must continue.

But experts say no such crisis exists, and that politicians are taking advantage of a seasonal increase in immigration at the border to fearmonger and frame Biden's reversal of Trump's harshest policies — which has also led to an uptick in crossings by those hopeful that their asylum cases will be heard — as a problem.

The messages notably echo those of the Federation for American Immigration Reform known as FAIR, a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group with ties to white nationalism, which has lashed out at Biden using similar rhetoric to dehumanize and demean those immigrants fleeing threats of violence and poverty in their home countries.

Further, a recent Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Customs and Border Protection data noted that the rise in border apprehensions began over 10 months ago — under Trump.

As of the end of February, data showed the number of immigrants apprehended was still less than the peak during the Trump administration in 2019 when there were nearly 133,000 border apprehensions.

Conspicuously, Republicans then did not drive the narrative that Trump created a border "crisis" at that time.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.