A part of the debate was missing from an Associated Press article published by the Portland Press Herald on March 10 that focused on the border wall funding provision in the president’s proposed budget.

The article highlighted that the president wishes to allocate $8.6 billion toward border wall funding. It is true that this number doubles what the president previously requested for “the wall”; the article’s author, Lisa Mascaro, correctly noted that during Donald Trump’s campaign, he said that Mexico would pay for it.

However, what was not mentioned was that the $8.6 billion for the border wall is more than 15 times the combined amount spent by the United States in 2017 on foreign aid to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala: three nations that many migrants are fleeing from.

Last Oct. 22, the president said that the U.S. was going to begin to cut foreign aid to these nations because they didn’t do enough to stop migrants from fleeing violence and poverty.

It seems counterproductive to cut foreign aid to nations, which is what the president’s budget will do, when the U.S. desires that these nations combat poverty and violence. After slashing foreign aid to these countries – in need of help after decades of imperialistic degradation at the hands of the United States – it seems wildly immoral to then build a wall to keep out the people seeking safety and economic security in the United States.

I urge Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, as well as Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, to stand against the president’s proposed funding of the wall and slashing of foreign aid. I also urge these leaders to propose more funding of foreign aid to countries that are in need, as does nearly every defense expert in this country.

Kurt Thiele

Portland


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