Tension builds as Trump fights to build a wall

In early August of 2014, current US President Donald J. Trump took to Twitter and said “SECURE THE BORDER! BUILD A WALL!” These six words and their implications marked the start of countless debates between those for and against a wall on America’s southern border. Leading into 2019, the controversy escalated and thus began the longest government shutdown ever recorded in US history.

In attempt to battle the migrant crisis along the southern border, President Trump has repeatedly proposed setting up a 1,000 mile barrier between the US and Mexico. The biggest obstacles facing Trump at the moment include funding delays alongside negotiating with Democrats who oppose of the wall altogether.

These two issues collided with Trump’s demands for $5 Billion dollars in financing for the wall from Congress, who refused to pay new money for the project. This led to what ended up being a 40-day funding gap period, and a partial shutdown of federal agencies.

Nearly 800,000 federally employed citizens went without pay for over a month, while national parks and government programs were completely disrupted. The ripple effect of the shutdown is spreading throughout various aspects of our society. Some have been evicted from their homes or faced bankruptcy for the lack of income and ability to pay their mortgages. With no federal money towards essential programs, community-based projects and their workers have struggled to meet the needs of their people; including those who feed children and families, facilities for veterans, educational programs, and more.

While thousands of federal workers went without pay this past month, not all were on temporary leave and without jobs. Some employees deemed “essential” were forced to attend work without compensation. A few have since sued the government over this requirement, and the American Federation of Government Employees stated the work without pay was “inhumane.”

Though the money was withheld at the time, Congress has now approved back pay for federal workers who will be fully compensated for the duration of the gap period. However, it is likely the effects of the past month can not simply be reversed with a paycheck, as communities will need to take time to recover from more than a month without pay.

With the shut down now temporarily over, we’re left wondering if and when a decision will be made on Trump’s controversial vision of a border wall. And with discussions of another government shutdown soon, only time will tell.