The American Myth Behind the Border WallRoundup
tags: immigration, Trump, border
Greg Grandin, a TomDispatch regular, teaches history at New York University. He is the author of Fordlandia, shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, The Empire of Necessity, which won the Bancroft Prize in American history, and Kissinger’s Shadow. His newest book, The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border in the Mind of America (Metropolitan Books), will be published in March.
On February 15th, Donald Trump declared a state of national emergency in order to fund his “great, great” border wall without having to go through Congress. There is, of course, no emergency, despite the rape fantasy that the president has regularly tried to pass off as public policy. In speech after speech, including his declaration of that emergency, he has told the same story: the United States needs a border wall to prevent sex traffickers from driving women into the country, bound with duct tape.
“Women are tied up,” he typically says. “They're bound. Duct tape put around their faces, around their mouths. In many cases they can't even breathe.”
It’s a scenario he’s only continued to elaborate over time. “They have tape over their mouths, electrical tape, usually blue tape, as they call it. It’s powerful stuff. Not good. And they have three, four, five of them in vans, or three of them in back seats of cars.” As they approach ports of entry, he swears, the vehicles carrying them “get off the road, and they drive out into the desert and they come in, they make a left turn -- usually it's a left, not a right.”
Fact-checkers and experts in border sex trafficking have been quick to insistthat they know of no such incidents, however elaborately imagined -- not one. Instead, most women and children forced into prostitution, they report, enter the country through legal ports of entry.
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