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Is the call for a border wall already showing signs of cracks?

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NASHVILLE — President-elect Donald Trump’s tough-talking plan to rein in illegal immigration showed signs of cracking on Sunday, with the president-elect seemingly backing off his vow to build a solid wall along the southern U.S. border and the top House Republican rejecting any “deportation force” targeting people in the country illegally. Students at John Overton High School discussed many aspects of deportation including the majority of immigrants are from Mexico, the cost of transporting and deporting immigrants, and the lack of support that Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House is stating for a wall.

In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Trump said Sunday he would accept a fence in some places along the U.S. southern border where he had promised to build a wall.

Farouk Hassan, a senior student at Overton High School, considered by many to be the most diverse high school in Tennessee, shared  his beliefs regarding  Trump’s intentions.  “I think its going to happen because it’s not only Donald Trump that wants to move immigrants out of our country, but it is also, obviously, the desire of all of the citizens who voted for him. He has said he will  start from the criminals first and just go from there.”

CAMPO, CA - JULY 20: The moon rises behind the US-Mexico border fence as citizen volunteers carry out nightly patrols in search of illegal border crossers from Mexico on July 20, 2005 near Campo, California in eastern San Diego County. The California Border Watch, members of the Arizona Minutemen, and other volunteers carry guns for self-defense and phone the US Border Patrol to report any illegal immigrants they find. They have been shadowed by protesters who taunt them day and night. The new patrols come as the U.S. Congress considers immigration policy and how to treat the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

CAMPO, CA – JULY 20: The moon rises behind the US-Mexico border fence as citizen volunteers carry out nightly patrols in search of illegal border crossers from Mexico on July 20, 2005 near Campo, California in eastern San Diego County. The California Border Watch, members of the Arizona Minutemen, and other volunteers carry guns for self-defense and phone the US Border Patrol to report any illegal immigrants they find. They have been shadowed by protesters who taunt them day and night. The new patrols come as the U.S. Congress considers immigration policy and how to treat the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

At John Overton High School,  we have many students that have family members that may not have their citizenship, but the student himself is a citizen. This situation alone has caused so many students a huge emotional upheaval to think that maybe one or both of their parents might be sent back without them and their siblings. This has affected many students personally and made it very difficult at school and at home.

During his campaign he insisted he would deport 11 million people living in the country illegally, with exceptions. But he distanced himself from that position as time went on, and in his first television interview since winning the presidential election, Trump said he’s willing to deport or incarcerate 2 million to 3 million people living in the country illegally who “are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers.”

Earlier Sunday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, also told CNN  that “we are not planning on erecting a deportation force.” Ryan said,  “I think we should put people’s minds at ease on mass deportation because the top priority is really border security.” This statement does make many of our students relax, but it is difficult for students to know who to trust, the President-Elect or the Speaker of the House.

With regard to both men, on Sunday, the president-elect emphasized that securing the border is his first immigration priority even though he did not campaign on this as part of his platform.

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Trump campaign promised to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. The promise elicited chants of “Build that Wall” from the thousands throughout the country who packed his rallies. Mexico has said it would not pay for the construction of a border wall.

What has confounded many students at Overton is that knowledge that so many who immigrate from South America are not necessarily from Mexico. Many families are from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guatemala, Chile, Equador and other countries. Also, students have discussed the logistics of moving so many people and wonder exactly how this would be done and how many jobs would it affect if it was done.

Nearly 700 miles of fencing was put in place during President George W. Bush’s second term and the beginning of President Barack Obama’s first term.

The fencing is placed largely in urban areas along the nearly 2,000-mile frontier. It is not the type of solid wall that Trump has pledged to construct at Mexico’s expense. The fence has miles-long gaps and gates built in to allow landowners access to their property on the south side of the fencing. Immigrants have been known to go over and around the fence.

 

pie-chart-of-immigrant-background

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Is the call for a border wall already showing signs of cracks?