On Dec. 22, many Americans lives were negatively impacted in the result of the now longest ever, government shutdown in history. President Donald Trump advised the government shutdown due to disagreements with Congress about his long-term campaign promise to “build a wall” across the southern border of the United States.
This government shutdown specifically affected about 800,000 federal employees, some of whom live check to check. This crisis also suspended various agency and department operations that many average Americans found affecting their daily lives.
On Jan. 25, Trump signed a bill to reopen the federal government, but only for three weeks. This now leaves Americans in a state of recovery and government officials with a big budget decision to make.
The next three weeks for the Democratic party include debating border security with the president. When the deal was reached to reopen the government, the president made authoritative based claims to use his power to move forward with building the wall as a state of emergency if Congress does not come up with the funds to support it.
“We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or a steel barrier,” Trump said. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 15 again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.”
According to multiple sources, the deal does not include money for the wall although before Trump was demanding $5.7 billion to fund it. With the wall being number one on the president’s agenda, Congress still must consider economic consequences.
Dr. James Hedtke, a history and political science professor at Cabrini, said trying to fund the wall by making an irrational move like a second shutdown would be a poor political decision and would not serve him being elected for a second term.
“The first shutdown has cost the United States a minimum of 11 billion dollars, that’s double the amount for the wall. It’s cost families about 30 days of income. Already, 57 percent of Americans said they won’t vote for him in 2020, and only 37 percent of Americans say they will. That’s only the result of the first shutdown, if he shuts it down again there will be the same or worse economic results,” Hedtke said.
He also said that among many differences between the president and Congress, this has been an ongoing issue since his election in 2016.
“There are many differences between Congress and the president, but I think in this instance its how to handle undocumented immigrants in this country and how to best secure the border.”
On the other side of the conversation, the question is what happens if a wall is built?
Abel Rodriguez, a professor who teaches courses on religion, law and social justice at Cabrini, spoke on the effects of a wall on immigrants.
“There are already all sorts of barriers on the U.S. border and that began primarily in the ’80s and ’90s with different programs like operation Gatekeeper. The effect that it’s had has increased the number of deaths on the U.S.-Mexico border. So, what we see is that creating more obstacles pushes people out into more dangerous and remote areas to cross the border.”
Since his reopening of the government, Trump has delivered a series of tweets about the wall already being built and how having a wall would lower murder rates, stop drug hauls, and stop the attempted invasion of illegal immigrants. According to his tweet on Jan. 31, “The wall is getting done one way or another.”