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America's Voice

 

Americans Want Solutions, Not Shutdowns and Walls

 

Across the nation, concerned constituents are urging Senate Republicans and President Trump to end this harmful and asinine government shutdown and focus on the pressing issues plaguing our country and communities, instead of a useless and wasteful border wall.

Below are a few recent examples of in-state Americans focused on the personal, damaging consequences of Trump’s immigration policies and highlighting better uses of taxpayer dollars. Links and excerpts below:

In Illinois’ The News-Gazette, Joyce Smutz pens a first-person account of how the shutdown is affecting her family:

Since the shutdown of the government, all these employees are facing bankruptcy, loss of income to pay bills, less money to buy food and clothing, frustration, depression and total uncertainty in their lives.

Two of these happen to be my sons. Our eldest son is the port director for customs border protection at the airport in Halifax Nova Scotia. He had to work 14-hour days with no pay, had to furlough some of his assistants (one who is a divorced man with custody of his three children, one of whom is in college) and sees disruption in the daily operation of the airport at our Canadian border.

Our youngest son works for NCIS at the Quantico Marine base, and even there, things are disrupted by this plan to “build the wall at any cost.”

…What is our president thinking?

What are our representatives doing? Write them with your concerns. Hold them accountable for their actions or inactions.

Elsewhere in Illinois, writing to The State Journal-Register, Sharon Bivens bemoans:

American families cannot afford this shutdown, and we cannot afford to have our tax dollars wasted.

Tax dollars should be used to improve our schools, child care and health care. If we fail our children, we all fail. Strong schools and good health care are the cornerstones of a healthy society.

There is nothing healthy about our present government. We must demand they stop this self-serving governance and take care of the people like they were elected to do.

In Washington State, Christopher Lawrence contrasts the potential harm of a border wall with the community’s needs:

The wall is not just a hateful symbol of exclusion and a waste of billions of dollars that could be used instead to improve the health and education of children. It also will be a disaster for the environment, killing wildlife by interfering with migration patterns and impeding access to food and water. It will cause dangerous flooding and endanger the lives of border residents.

Our tax dollars should be used to improve our schools, child care and health care, not to finance the Trump administration’s heartless anti-immigrant policies. For example, Congress could use the $5 billion requested for a wall to instead fund a 30 percent increase in federal aid for K-12 public schools.

Congress should focus our government spending on programs that lift children and families, and must act as a check on cruel anti-immigrant policies, starting with this budget.

In Massachusetts, Gayle Hoisington recounts her time living in Guatemala and the dangers she faced and laments the death of a 7-year old asylum seeker:

I spent several months volunteering in Guatemala City in 2006. The area of the city where I was located was incredibly dangerous. I was not able to walk in the neighborhood without armed security. Thousands of children lived in this neighborhood that was overrun with violence.

Over the past 12 years, the situation has only worsened. I was able to ride public transportation safely in 2006, but that is no longer the case. Many Guatemalans’ lives are now at risk. They leave behind their home country to make a perilous trek through Mexico to the US border.

This month a 7-year-old child died in US custody. She had fled her home country of Guatemala with her family. I can only imagine the violence they had faced in Guatemala. Her family did everything they could to protect their daughter. They report she was healthy upon arrival at the US border. The US was entrusted with this young girl’s life, and now her family is grieving.

We need to consider how drastic of a situation we would need to be in to make the decision to leave our country. For most of us, we would need to fear for our lives. Congress needs to consider this as they create policies. They need to end funding that punishes and further harms families seeking asylum.