Why is the wall offensive when there is already a fence on the border is the question I most often get asked. It is a good question. The answer is also simple. It comes down to context. It has to do with intent.

Donald Trump launched his presidential candidacy by proclaiming México sends “rapists” to America. As an immigrant from México, who is not a “rapist,” I was offended by that. Trump refused to apologize for the comment and even doubled down in subsequent television interviews.

But it’s one comment some argue, adding that I’ve taken it out of context.

I don’t believe so. Regardless, Donald Trump spent his entire campaign proclaiming that “Mexico will pay for the wall.” There were many chants of México paying for the wall from Trump supporters across America. As a matter of fact, there was likely more “Mexico will pay for it” then the “lock her up” when Hillary Clinton’s name came up.

Some of you may have noticed that Donald Trump has morphed his rhetoric about the wall over time. Now instead of México will pay for it, it has morphed into the American taxpayers will fund it. Recently, that has evolved into México will “eventually” pay for it under the NAFTA 2.0 proposed border trade treaty. Never mind that NAFTA 2.0 has not been adopted by any of the three countries, and even if it is, there is no mechanism to pay for a border wall.

But as much as the wall rhetoric continues to evolve, the notion that México and Mexicans are a danger to Americans remains.

Yes, there is a fence on the border. Yes, the Democrats have supported funding for the fence. I’ve written numerous times before that the Democrats have enacted much more restrictive immigration legislation than the Republicans.

So why does The Wall offend me and not the border fence?

The push for the border fence likely had racism as part of the reasoning behind it. There is no escaping that. But as far as I know it was never articulated as an official position of the United States government.

The Trump Wall, on the other hand, is racist from the onset and continues to be so.

First, Trump called Mexicans, like me “rapists.” Trump followed up that with the notion that México would pay for a wall that America wanted.

Supporters of The Wall like to use the analogy of people using walls and locks on their homes.

So, let’s use the analogy.

Let’s say an individual says Black people are drug dealers. The individual than proclaims he is building a wall to keep his family safe. He then demands that his neighbor pays for the wall.

Now contrast that with, a man builds a wall on his property to keep his family safe. He says nothing about his neighbor nor does he demand that the neighbor pay for the wall.

See the difference?

I’m sure some will argue, but what if the neighbor is known drug dealer?

What then? Should the man not build his wall to protect his family?

Let’s play that game. If the neighbor is a known drug dealer and the law cannot deal with it, the man builds his wall. But now the man wants the drug dealer neighbor to pay for the wall. Does he sue him? Imagine the man going to court and demanding that the neighbor pay for the wall because he is a known drug dealer. I am sure the judge wouldn’t be amused.

Even then, under that scenario, does the man have the right to assume all Black people are drug dealers because of the color of their skin? Most readers would find that offensive. How about if the man builds a wall around his entire house because his neighbors are Black people and they are drug dealers according to the man.

Donald Trump made The Wall racist. Trump must now own that.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

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