Alibi V.28 No.4 • Jan 24-30, 2019 

Letters

What Do You Have to Say?

Dear Editor,

With so many political opinions spewing on social media these days, it's hard to believe your "Letters" page is facing a shortage. And yet in v28 i2 you wrote that "these days, [you] rarely receive letters from locals."

I hope this week you're so inundated by New Mexicans' opinions that you don't have room to print this. But just in case, here's what's on my mind here in Albuquerque.

Trump's televised Oval Office address on Jan. 8 was just the latest in his years-long pattern of race-baiting, fear-mongering and fact-altering.

He said there’s “a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.” In fact, there's no new or noteworthy threat to our national security. And the only humanitarian crisis is the one manufactured by his policies—criminalizing everyone who crosses outside a port of entry, rather than distinguishing between traffickers and asylum seekers; separating children from their families, without any procedure to reunite them; imprisoning immigrants for prolonged periods, rather than freeing them while they await their day in court.

He said “90 percent of [heroin in the US] floods across from our southern border.” In fact, the vast majority of illicit drugs imported from Mexico are smuggled at legal crossings—to say nothing of fentanyl flown in from China or home-cooked meth. Walls in the wilderness won't address any drug crises.

He said a wall would “be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.” In fact, that is simply not how tariffs or budget appropriations work.

Here are the facts. Constructing hundreds of miles of new steel fencing or concrete wall would disrupt ecosystems, sever sovereign tribal land and block desperate asylum-seekers who have a legal right to enter the country and plead their case. Meanwhile, illegal drug and human trafficking would continue the way it always has: in trucks and shipped packages, through official ports of entry and tunnels.

But Trump doesn't care about facts. He cares about the cheers of his riled-up base and the applause of TV pundits. Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter have become our White House policy advisors. Stephen Miller is our national propaganda generator. Trump's Twitter feed claims to speak for us. Hell, the Conservative Caucus of Warrentown, Va., gets to fill the pages of our Albuquerque alt.weekly?

Hey, New Mexicans—what do you have to say about all this?

It was here in New Mexico, near the remote Antelope Wells port of entry, that 7-year-old Jakelin Caal crossed into the US to seek asylum. After less than 48 hours in Border Patrol custody, she died of dehydration and shock.

It was here in New Mexico, at a bare-bones facility in Alamogordo, that 7-year-old Felipe Gómez Alonzo was held for two days. On Christmas Eve, he died at an Alamogordo hospital.

It's here in New Mexico, across our rugged desert and private ranches, that Trump wants to seize land and stud it with steel. Not because he cares what happens here—just for a photo op and bragging rights.

What do the people of New Mexico think about the fact that Trump's orders have deliberately created bottlenecks at the country's busiest ports of entry in San Diego and El Paso, grinding asylum applications to a virtual standstill? What do we think about the fact that this manufactured backlog is shunting desperate people into the dangerously remote desert in between—our state's southern border? How do we feel, knowing that this administration's policies have caused children to die in our hospitals? That next they want to spend billions of taxpayers dollars to plant steel bollards across our landscape? How do you like being a political football for the rest of the country's raging debates?

Personally, I'm sick of everyone else speaking for us. Write to the Alibi. Let's talk.

Karie Luidens,

Albuquerque
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via email to letters@alibi.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.