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Never again can we let this cruelty happen

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While campaigning for President ahead of the 2016 election, Donald Trump repeatedly promised a “beautiful” wall on the U.S. southern border, “from sea to shining sea.” He portrayed it as an ironclad way to “protect” America from immigrants, whom he derided as criminals and rapists while conceding that “some, I assume, are good people.” Trump also promised the wall would cost U.S. taxpayers nothing because Mexico would surely pay for it.

After finagling a narrow Electoral College win in that election, Trump had four years to prove himself correct with everything he proclaimed about his beloved border wall. However, not only was Trump’s pet project a failure like he was, but two years on we are still learning the extent of his colossal mess while cleanup efforts continue.

Last year, I wrote about an unnerving report exposing Trump’s cruelty in issuing an executive order within days of taking office to extend the height for hundreds of miles of border wall near San Diego from 6-17 feet to 30 feet. JAMA Surgery revealed that Trump’s order resulted in severe injury and deaths. According to the journal, the added height raised the number of falling deaths from zero to 16 after 2019 (in addition to hundreds of hospitalizations).

Newly released data from the Mexican Consulate in San Diego paints an even more gruesome picture: 16 deaths in 2020, 41 in 2021, and 42 in 2022. Over those three years, the total number of deaths and injuries combined total 646. According to Mexico’s Consul General Carlos González Gutiérrez, “Empirical evidence shows that higher walls have not been able to stop or divert the flows of migrants but have clearly increased the severity of injuries and deaths.”

In addition to learning more about the sadism behind Trump’s wall, we now know that yet another one of Trump’s wall promises concerning the potential for tunnels was nonsense. According to a Cato Institute Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) found 40 tunnels from 2017 to 2021 under the segment of the 30-foot wall.


Despite being warned about tunnels, Trump repeatedly boasted of using “the best technology, including above- and below-ground sensors” that would “find and dislocate tunnels and keep out criminal cartels,” according to reporting from HuffPost. Instead, the CBP uncovered roughly one new tunnel in each month Trump scrambled to build that segment of the wall in 2020. Last year, another tunnel was discovered in “one of the most fortified stretches of the border,” according to The Guardian.

It has been two years since the heartless xenophobe has left office, yet we continue to obtain more proof that Trump’s border wall was the racist, dangerous boondoggle we knew it would be. According to Homeland Security data released this week, about 74% of children ripped from their families after crossing the border have now been reunited. Sadly, close to 1,000 are still orphaned. Never again.

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