Today, in response to the President’s Executive Action ordering the construction of a wall on the US Southern border, New York State Assembly Member and Candidate for DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake released the following statement:
“President Trump's Executive Orders are racist, discriminatory and further divide us as a people rather than unite us. As a child of Immigrants, it is absolutely reprehensible that a President would care more about campaign rhetoric than the urgent necessity of helping people, in a country that will soon be made of a majority of immigrants and their descendents.
The President launched his campaign by demonizing Mexican immigrants, Latinos and all of us who care about respect and decency by calling for a wall on our southern border to divide us as a people. Since his inauguration, he continues to send a signal to the world that isolationism and xenophobia is the new law of the land.
The notion of spending taxpayer dollars to construct a wall or hire I.C.E. agents to separate families is absolutely against our values as a people. Those resources are put to better use building schools or hiring diverse Americans to unify our country. It is also both costly and an ineffective means of deterring undocumented immigration. The U.S. spends nearly $7 billion annually in enforcing immigration from Mexico, and building this wall places a severe undue burden on taxpayers. There are significantly greater threats to our national security than undocumented border crossing. Trump promised throughout the campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, however President Peña Nieto made clear that Mexico will absolutely not pay. Now as President, we have learned Trump's plan all along is to make the American taxpayers pay for the $25 billion border wall.
We must implore and demand that the President countermand this executive order and instead direct resources toward fixing our broken immigration system. Our focus must be creating easier paths to citizenship while keeping families together, extending protected status to those fleeing persecution, and giving work permits to those who have overstayed their visas but are otherwise model citizens; this is a far more effective use of taxpayer dollars and would ultimately benefit both the US economy and workforce.
Let us remember we are undoubtedly a nation of immigrants. The symbol of our nation is the Statue of Liberty for a reason.