What is the wall really for? (2024)

Free Press readers| Michigan

Since its inception, the U.S. was always wealthy and stable in comparison to Mexico. But, during much of that time, we had no secured borders, and Mexican workers came and returned at will. In the 1990s, some political strategists figured they could get more white voters if they frightened them about the supposed threat of a Latino culture less refined than theirs. So, when they swept Congress in 1994, a Republican Congress enacted a harsh immigration bill in 1996. Because of that act, Mexicans crossing seasonally who had previously returned to Mexico each year elected thereafter to stay in the U.S. instead of returning home to Mexico and risking not being able to return to their jobs in the U.S., a classic case of unintended consequences.

But, due in part to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico started to have a middle class offering good jobs in Mexico. Together with Obama’s increased deportation of illegal workers, for the first time in years, more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. than entering. So, what is the wall for?

The wall Republican nominee Donald Trump is proposing has nothing to do with reality nor economics. It reflects a combination of many factors, foremost among which is insecurity among certain white voters who feel the country their ancestors built is being taken over. Actually, most reputable studies conclude that illegal immigrants help the economy by doing hard jobs Americans do not want to do, for reasonable fees, thereby basically subsiding many aspects of our lives and standard of living.

Do you think it is unlikely that intelligent people could be so mistaken? In the early 20th Century, some members of the intelligent European nations thought they had a Jewish problem, when in fact they had Jewish blessing in the likes of people such as Albert Einstein. Similarly, I feel some Americans perceive an illegal immigrant problem, when we could very well have an illegal immigrant blessing. And to the extent that illegal immigration is a problem in need of solution, a wall is not the answer.

N. Peter Antone

West Bloomfield

Tolerance should cover both sides of fence

So some people are saying that Bishop Wayne T. Jackson is “going to hell” because he invited Republican presidential Donald Trump for an interview? Tsk, tsk. How many Democrats would be in favor of legalizing illegal immigrants if they were assumed to be future Republicans? Don’t hold your breath. So much for the “Party of Tolerance.”

Gary Walsh

Auburn Hills

Don’t dismiss warnings about hate groups’ rise

Although I have lived the last 26 years in southeast Michigan, I was born and raised in rural Iowa, and I have relatives who still live there. So when President Barack Obama was first elected to the presidency in 2008, I received forwarded e-mails from one of those relatives expressing fear that our new president would raise taxes on white Americans to benefit black Americans. This to me was the beginning of the Tea Party and the frightening rise of hate groups throughout the Obama presidency. The GOP, rather than disavowing these hate groups, has courted them along with other fringe communities under the guise of “small government”, but winking all the while to racists and dragging its congressional feet to minimize President Obama’s agenda and legacy. So when Hillary Clinton condemns the Trump campaign for legitimizing the alt-right, Nazis, and racists, we would do well to listen to her, rather than dismissing her words as further political mudslinging.

Ethlyn Vogler

Ann Arbor

Don’t waste time, money on Boblo boat

After 25 years of sitting and decaying, someone wants a free dockage for a decrepit, decaying ship without an engine that once took people to an amusem*nt park called Boblo.

Promises of returning decrepit destroyed things, whether a building or a boat require money and so far we have the Packard Plant, a leading contender by age and collapse, followed by the Detroit Train Station and thousands of homes and plenty of downtown structures called Art-Deco that are empty and decaying.

What was will never be again.

Health, education and welfare suffer in a state placing business first. An ancient boat does not fit the 21st Century.

Paul A Heller

Washington Township

A sympathy plea for transit millage

All millage proponents must know playing the sympathy card is the way to get proposals passed. With school millages it’s “for the kids.” For local municipalities it’s “save police and fire services.” Now for the proposed transit millage it’s “this will help the seniors.” In fact, many seniors who still own their homes would be hurt by this proposal because the levy is so high.

Al Jagenow


Corrupt principals should do time in class

Two thoughts on schools: One, the judge should sentence that bribe-taking principal to the maximum time, but not in prison. Since the parents want him back, this is a good time for creative sentencing. Suspend the sentence on the condition that they serve the time teaching at DPS and at entry-level wages as a way of making restitution. That’s a budget win for both DPS and the state prison budget. Perhaps that could also work for other teachers and even administrators. Two, if you are looking for an explanation for the lack of progress for Detroit and Michigan students in general, consider the old adage that you get what you pay for.

Dennis L. Green

Farmington Hills

Check complete data before judging

The data in Third Way’s report on public universities suffers from deficiencies. Importantly, the federal graduation data it uses counts students who transfer institutions as dropouts.

This deficient data led Third Way to the mistaken conclusion that six-year federal graduation rates reflect student success at Michigan public universities. With more complete data from the National Student Clearinghouse, the Student Achievement Measure (SAM) captures the full set of student outcomes. Using SAM, 44% of students graduate from Oakland University in six years, another 15% graduate elsewhere, and 21% are still enrolled. At Wayne State University, 34% of students graduate from WSU in six years, another 7% graduate elsewhere and 28% are still enrolled. Far from “dropout factories” the vast majority of entering students at OU and WSU either graduate or are still in school.

Judgments about student success must start with complete data. Anything less isn’t good enough.

Christine Keller

Washington D.C.

Michigan should welcome refugees

Refugees from the Middle East are human beings that need to leave their country because crazy people with weapons who are killing their families, friends and neighbors. Michigan has lost many residents since the 1970s. The refugees are hardworking people who believe in doing a full day’s work.

Curtis Jacobson


No win in this election

This election seems to be a decision between a concrete wall or a concrete ceiling.

Charlotte Daves


What is the wall really for? (2024)


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