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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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South Texas students weigh in on proposed border wall

The proposed wall along the United States’ southern border that made up a large portion of President Donald Trump’s campaign has become an unavoidable topic for communities in South Texas.
Partisan disagreement on how, if at all, the wall will be funded has led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. For border citizens like construction science junior Dani Diaz, the wall symbolizes division not only between Mexico and the U.S., but throughout the nation.
“Many people are being looked at differently, regardless of how many years they’ve been in this country, for the single fact that they crossed the border,” Diaz said. “This wall forces you to pick a side. You are either with it or against it, and if you are against it you are categorized as an enemy.”
President Trump visited McAllen earlier this month to display what he has referred to as the crisis on the border, surrounding himself with border agents, displaying drugs, firearms and cash that had been confiscated by border officials.
“[President Trump] is appealing to his base … people who have these erroneous ideas about illegal immigration and criminality when there is no evidence for that,” associate professor of history Felipe Hinojosa said. “There is zero evidence that [the wall] would curtail illegal immigration, zero evidence that it would curtail drug use or drug trafficking.”
Living in the Rio Grande Valley holds a sense of pride to its civilians because of its strong cultural ties to its Mexican sister-city, Matamoros, just over the bridge. To psychology junior Sophia Ramirez, this cultural pride is a way of life.
“Growing up in Brownsville is something I’m proud to say and something special to me,” Ramirez said. “Compared to other cities in the Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville is literally minutes away from the border.”
Ramirez said she believes that if the wall was built, it could have economic and environmental consequences in her hometown.
“The wall will cut right through a wildlife refuge, a state park and the national butterfly center,” Ramirez said. “People aren’t paying attention to the environmental damages this wall poses.”
While the wall is being proposed on the basis of national security, Hinojosa believes this wall stands for everything but.
“If [Trump] was worried about national security through our land borders, then we would be talking about building a wall between Canada and the U.S., some of the most unprotected area of border in our country, more so than the southern border,” Hinojosa said. “It is a waste of taxpayer money. It is a complete and utter disregard of the voice of the American people.”
Wall or not, the mere discussion brings about worries to many. The government shutdown continues, and the people who live on the wall’s land remain unconvinced.
Hinojosa said he doesn’t see a scenario in which he could ever support a wall along the southern border.
“I don’t believe that a nation that projects and positions itself as a leader in the world in terms of democratic values and in terms of justice needs a wall,” Hinojosa said. “Instead of walls, we should be building bridges.”

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