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Opinion Piece: How Trump’s Government Shutdown is Doing More Damage Than His Wall Would Do Good

Now that Donald Trump’s partial government shutdown has officially claimed the title of the longest government shutdown in United States’ history, it is becoming more and more important to understand how it impacts the lives of everyday Americans. With every day that passes, the shutdown’s influence on Americans intensifies. One effect that has acquired a great amount of attention is the effect that the government shutdown has had on TSA agents. In what is presumed to be an act of resistance, TSA agents have called out sick from work after being forced to work without receiving their pay. An airport in Miami has resorted to closing one concourse early for three days as a result of so many workers not showing up. They are just one out of the several groups that have been affected by this shutdown. Please, keep reading to find out exactly how the shutdown has changed lives.


In addition to TSA agents, federal employees and contractors are also not receiving pay. In “The Financial Impact Of The Partial Government Shutdown On Federal Employees”, by Ryan Guina, he describes that there are approximately 800,000 government workers that have been required to continue working on a normal basis despite not currently being compensated for that work; workers have taken to social media to show their followers pay stubs reading $0.00 and even some in the negatives due to mandatory withholdings. He also explains that this is a huge issue for Americans who need to pay for food, rent, gas, as well as other bills and expenses; according to a survey done by BankRate.com, approximately 63% of Americans do not even have enough savings to cover a $500 emergency. As a result, these workers will be forced to either struggle to find alternative ways to survive such as taking out loans, using credit, etc. Being that Trump has boasted about how he would allow the shutdown to continue for months or even years to get the money he needs for the wall, this information is startling. This shutdown can have devastating financial implications on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans simply trying to provide for themselves and for their families.


Image via CNN.


Unfortunately, the problems do not end there. Not only are workers being financially shortchanged, but government agencies are as well. This lack of funding is disrupting the ability of many organizations to function. The most important one, in my opinion,is the FDA. According to New York Times author Sheila Kaplan, the “Food and Drug Administration has stopped routine food safety inspections of seafood, fruits, vegetables and many other foods at high risk of contamination because of the federal government’s shutdown.” This is serious. These routine inspections have the potential to catch problems such as E. Coli contamination and keep as many people safe as possible. But because of the government shutdown, millions of Americans are being put at risk of facing food contamination.


While this is only a small glimpse of the implications that the government shutdown has had, these examples make it extremely clear that it is causing a great deal of damage; however, in this case, will the end justify the means? I doubt it. Although President Trump claims that his five billion dollar wall is for the greater good, declaring that it will keep illegal Mexican immigrants from bringing crime into the United States, I strongly disagree. In Professor Emeritus Michael Dear’s Five Problems Trump’s Wall Won’t Solve, he argues that the wall is unnecessary. First of all, he claims that there are already illegal immigrants in the country. He states that data from the Department of Homeland Security revealed that the main source of immigration is tourists overstaying their visas after arriving in the country via airplane or boat. A wall cannot prevent that. Next, he argues that Trump is underestimating the ability of cartels to outsmart checkpoints, describing them as clever and tactical in adjusting their behavior. Furthermore, he counters Trump’s argument that illegal immigrants are bringing terrorism to the country by bringing up the fact that an overwhelming majority of active terrorists in the United States are homegrown. As for foreign-born terrorists, Alex Nowrasteh compiled of list of 154 who have committed or plotted terrorist acts, which contained only one of Mexican descent. Next, he argues that Trump is causing immigration to surge by causing panic about disruptions to the Mexican economy, which subsequently causes Mexicans to travel to the United States to look for work. Finally, he argues that the immigration courts will become oversaturated to the degree that it will come to a halt if he follows through with his claim to target millions of more people for deportation. That being said, while I definitely agree that the country should have secure borders and maintain national security, I believe we should do so in a more feasible and ethical manner. A five billion dollar wall will not solve our nation’s problems. We must unite as a nation, remember our humanity, and do what is best for our country.


For live updates on the Government Shutdown, check out this article!


If you would like to learn more about the other ways the government shutdown has affected people, bookmark this article from CNN.


Brianna Walton

Agnes Scott '21

Brianna graduated from Agnes Scott College in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Business Management. She has a passion for social justice issues, self-care, and self-expression via writing. Her favorite things to do are listen to music, draw, talk to friends, and take long walks in nature. She is currently working as a digital marketer and freelance social media manager.
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