U.S.-Mexico border expert on the problem with Trump's immigration approach

Ever since Donald Trump announced that he was running for president in 2015, he has emphasized that enhanced security along the Mexico border would solve issues of crime and drugs entering the United States. Fast-forward to 2019 and the president has declared a state of emergency to fund the wall. Miguel Lavario, an associate professor of history at Texas Tech University and a historian focusing on the Texas-Mexico border, opened up to Salon’s Amanda Marcotte about why the president’s promises won’t actually fix the real problems on the border.

According to Lavario, Trump is oversimplifying the issues by conflating immigration, border security, and the smuggling of illicit goods as interchangeable and the same problem. Lavario explained that there’s not a “cure-all policy” that Congress could pass that could address the root of every issue.

Marcotte and Lavario are both El Paso natives and offer explanations on why Trump’s border wall would wreck the multicultural communities built between border cities in Texas and Mexico. “We’re stronger and we’re better when we have this kind of diversity and biculturalism,” Lavario noted.

Instead of a border wall, Lavario recommends this. “We need to have a constructive and real dialogue and discourse and not use it as a political lightning rod, like we have been for the past 400 plus years.”

Watch the video above to hear why Trump’s border wall is not a “magic wand” for solving border security. And check out the full episode to learn more about how Trump damaging rhetoric is affecting Americans with Mexican heritage who live in border cities.

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Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on Salon.com.

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