This comment is being revised as of January 17 to include a discussion of a January 10 New York Times article:

Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/10/us/politics/steve-king-trump-immigration-wall.html

My original comment appears below.


Much of the media commentary on Donald Trump's border wall obsession is superficial and trivial as I have pointed out before. Most of it will be forgotten with a day or even even a few hours, after it appears.

But there is one column by a prominent journalist which stands out because of its understanding of the essence of what Trump's Wall really means and why he is insisting on building the Wall at all costs, no matter how much suffering may be caused to millions of federal government workers and other American citizens by the government shutdown over the Wall.

This column is by Carl Leubsdorf, former Washington bureau chilf of the Dallas Morning News, called :

Trump's border wall fight is really a struggle for America's identity.(January 13)

By coincidence, Carl Leubsdorf happens to have have been a high school classmate of mine at the Fieldston School in New York City many years ago, and I knew him casually then for a couple of years, but I have had no contact with him since that time.

However, his article is worth sharing, because nobody has understood or expressed the real purpose of Trump's Wall more accurately or clearly.

Leubsdorf begins by summarizing the real Wall issue as follows:

"..it's really a confrontation between two sharply different concepts of the United States; one more purist, one more melting pot.

Trump's concept exemplifies his signature slogan of 'Make America Great Again', his belief that modern-day America is 'a disaster' or, as he said in his inaugural speech, a 'carnage.' He want to restore the country of an earlier day by keeping out, expelling, or limiting those he blames for changing it.'

Leubsdorf then goes right to the essential point of the Wall, as a symbol of a larger agenda of keeping non-white immigrants out of America, including legal as well as illegal immigrants:

"It's not only erecting a concrete or a steel wall to curb predominately brown-skinned immigrants from the South. He would also restrict legal immigration that, in recent years, has come more heavily from Asia, as he yearns for more immigrants from white countries like Norway. His targets go beyond immigration to ending rules an guidelines aimed at helping minorities overcome prior discrimination."

And further:

"From banning entry from certain Muslim countries to seeking curbs on legal immigration, Trump's proposals sll would cut the number of immigrants, legal and illegal; in recent years, legal immigration from India and China has surpassed that from Mexico."

Also:

"The administration proposed barring citizenship or permanent residency (green cards) for immigrants receiving government benefits like Medicaid, food stamps or public housing. Most of the 12.6 million green card holders come from Mexico, China,India, the Philippines and the Dominican Republic."

There are, of course, other attempts to roll back non-European legal immigration which are not mentioned in the above article - such as Trump's attack on extended family immigration ("chain migration") and the Diversity Visa lottery; his attempts to make H-1B and other skilled and professional visas more difficult to obtain, among many other other executive actions without the consent of Congress.

But the examples that Leubsdorf gives are clear enough to show the real purpose of Trump's Wall - to take the United States back to its previous identity as a nation of racial discrimination and white supremacy - not only against immigrants, but against Americans of color too.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law