Focus on border security, not a wall

Sheri Kotzum

Let's talk about the elephant in the room, or rather the elephant-shaped wall in the room. The current government shut down is poised to become the longest government shutdown in history and it’s all because of a wall.

President Trump is asking for $5.7 billion out of an annual budget of $4.407 trillion. Basically, it’s like asking for $57 out of an annual budget of $44,070. Sounds like a no brainer, dontcha think?

The other day, I saw someone say “Imagine your other half saying ‘we’re not going back to work, the kids aren’t getting allowances and we aren’t paying our bills until you give up the idea of spending $57 to fence in our yard.’” Well, when you put it like that, it does sound ridiculous. And that’s exactly what I think about this shutdown: it’s ridiculous.

Recently, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “a wall is an immorality,” but just five years ago, Democrats unanimously supported a bill that required the construction of 700 miles of border fencing. Pretty similar to Trumps proposed wall of 700 to 900 miles long. Current Democratic leader Charles Schumer was one of the eight Democrats who proposed the bill, but here he is, adamantly against it now. Every Senate Democrat voted for the Gang of Eight bill, including 36 senators who are still serving today.

The best part? Then-president Barack Obama himself agreed to sign it and said that building a 700-mile fence on the southern border was consistent with the principles of the Democratic Party. But somewhere along the way, that all changed. Unfortunately, the U.S. House of Representatives didn’t act on the bill and it expired at the end of 2015.

From what I’ve observed, the only differences from the Democratic bill and Trump's idea is that fact that Trump is the one pushing it, the wording has changed from “fence” to “wall” and the relationship between Republicans and Democrats has severely deteriorated. You wouldn't hesitate to build a fence around your home to keep you and your children safe, protecting the border is the same concept.

In my un-important opinion, I think maybe we should focus more on border security than building a wall. Let’s improve the fencing and upgrade the security. Let’s provide more funding to the men and women who patrol the border and let’s focus on immigration reform. A wall is hitting the target, but I think it’s missing the bullseye.

Sheri Kotzum is a reporter for The Destin Log. She can be reached at or 315-4353.