(UR) Op-Ed   It is no secret that Donald Trump wants to build a wall along the US-Mexico border if he is elected president. Since his first mention of the Wall in 2015, Trump has faced heavy criticism, especially from Mexico’s president, and from political opponents in general. Despite the rhetoric, the Trump Wall is already serving as a barrier, though not against ‘illegal’ immigrants.

The rhetorical wall is actually limiting the way people are seeing and experiencing the presidential primaries as a whole. It is also reinforcing the status quo. In this way, the Wall, for all intents and purposes, has already been built.

In an article published on Zero Anthropology this week, the social implications of Trump’s rhetorical wall are examined in depth. Frighteningly, the article examines how the implications of Trump’s Wall run deeper than the rhetoric. Take, for instance, the issue of deportation The Wall represents — since his inauguration, President Obama has actually deported more people than any previous president, making the ongoing attack on Trump’s deportation plans more than slightly hollow.

One of the major critiques of Trump’s Wall is his use of racist language when speaking of it, or his opinions on minorities and immigrants. If there is anything we’ve learned from the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, it is that racism is still deeply seated in American society. Trump, for all his bluster, rhetoric, and hate-mongering, is simply representative of a systemic reality many non-whites face every day.

More pragmatically, the construction of walls along borders has little to no effect on the reduction of illegal immigration. In fact, these walls tend to create the reverse context: because of the added difficulty and costs of sneaking into the U.S., most undocumented peoples are more likely to stay, increasing the abuse they will endure while suffering terrible jobs, for terrible pay, under terrible conditions. Essentially, the construction of this wall will lead to nothing more than guaranteeing slave-wage labour for the foreseeable future.

For voters and superdelegates, this is hardly the real issue. The real issue is the distraction the debate over Trump’s racist, protectionist rhetoric causes. This wall is a mental construct, as it distracts from what is really at stake: the continuance of the status quo. Only by pointing at an extreme, a far-right candidate with ideas that are so hard to digest, the more coercive “center” becomes palatable.

Having always considered the likes of Bush and Obama to be representative of two different ideologies, “extremist” candidates like Trump clearly place them within the same group: those who maintain the status quo. Sadly, this puts ongoing drone-strikesincreasing deportation, and the continuing erosion of civil liberties as things we are all willing to live with. Neoliberalism does not make distinctions between parties, meaning Trump’s actual ideological split serves to support neoliberal agendas as he pushes less far-right voters towards the “center.”

This article (Trump’s Wall Already Existsis an opinion editorial (OP-ED). The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Underground Reporter. This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Chris “Kikila” Perrin and UndergroundReporter.org. If you spot a typo, please email the error and the name of the article to undergroundreporter2016@gmail.com. Image credit: Flickr/Gage Skidmore