As many of us know in the immigration field, it is so easy for politicians, press and the public to demonize and scapegoat immigrants of all colors, creeds, and convictions. For years we have heard the loud cries to “build a bigger wall” or “build more walls” in order to protect American communities on the U.S.-Mexico border. But walls aren’t always the answer, and San Diego has had enough of being told what is good for them by bureaucrats who live far from the border and carry a different agenda.
In an October 31 article, The Washington Post reported (Build a wall on the border? No thanks, says San Diego.) on a group of local businesspeople, Republican Congressional Representatives, and the San Diego mayor, who are working to “fix” their own border problem. So you ask, “Are they building their own wall with more cement, barbed wire, and armed guards?” No, San Diego is building a bridge. Yes, that’s right, a bridge.
The purpose of the bridge is to connect the Tijuana airport with San Diego to allow people and commerce to flow to both sides of the border in an easier and faster manner. While all sides agree that the security of San Diego and our country is important and necessary, they also agree that $7 billion in lost trade and 62,000 lost jobs due to the congestion that the current security apparatus causes is too much.
The actions taken by the city of San Diego teaches us an important lesson: security and immigration can work hand in hand to produce a tangible and positive economic result; they are not mutually exclusive. Moreover, demonizing immigrants doesn’t work in border communities because, as former San Diego police captain and current mayor Jerry Sanders stated so aptly: “There’s no boogeyman on the south side of the border. We know that…There’s our families on the south side.”
Written by Matthew Maiona, Member, AILA Media Advocacy Committee