Is there a need for a border wall?

“Make America Great Again” (MAGA) was the campaign slogan used by Donald Trump when he ran to become the president of the United States.  “Maga” on the other hand is a Tagalog word that describes swelling and having an abscess.

The hot issue before the end of 2018 that has spilled-over this early 2019 is Trump’s insistence to build a wall in the US-Mexico border.  The so-called wall is Trump’s signature campaign pledge which he aligns and identifies with his MAGA call.

The funding to build the wall will come from American taxpayers and the opposition to this plan led to the current federal government shutdown.  With renewed vigor after their mid-term victory in the House of Representatives, Democrats are not giving in to the demand of funding Trump’s wall.  As expected, Trump already blames Democrats for opposing his plan.

Border walls (between territories and national boundaries) have not worked in the past.  Walls only serve to divert focus and attention from the real issues involved.  Walls do not and cannot deter the entry of undocumented immigrants.  Many immigrants including undocumented people work in jobs that are needed and are vital to the economy of this country.  These migrants come to this country because there are jobs available and are waiting for them.  Why not provide work permits for workers that this country needs?

Why is the president so hard-headed about the wall issue?  In the context of his MAGA pledge, a border wall is an effective symbol for his political survival.  The wall will show that he is a strong and determined leader and that he is doing something to address the perceived threats brought by unauthorized migration to this country.

But Trump’s MAGA does not recognize the enormous contributions of immigrants in this country.  The unfounded fears and untruths that immigrants are taking away jobs, social benefits, and income from Americans citizens are highlighted instead by him and his administration.  False information that immigrant communities are bringing in traditions, languages, and ways of life that have negative effects to the way of life of mainstream America is also being spread around like wildfire.

In medical science, “maga” or swelling is a transient abnormal enlargement of a body part.  It is considered one of the five characteristics of inflammation along with pain, heat, redness, and loss of function.  It indicates something that is not normal in a well-functioning body.

Trump’s MAGA also indicates abnormality in society.  As one writer puts it: “The fact is that Trump touched a nerve that was already inflamed.  Race, ethnicity, cultural heritage, economic dislocation, opioid addiction, the effects of free trade, the impact of robotics— all these issues were out there already, and a lot of people believed our elected officials weren’t dealing with them adequately.  Trump hasn’t a clue about what to do or how to do it.  But he knows how to poke and prod; he knows how to rile people up and sell them red hats (MAGA).”

I remember the famous line of President Ronald Reagan— “Tear down this wall”— when he challenged then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to destroy the Berlin Wall which stood as the physical symbol of communism in Germany.

This 2019, with Democrats gaining ground in the political arena, I hope that more Americans will realize the mistake of supporting the illusion projected by Trump.  The bigger and real issue is not about building the US-Mexican border wall.  It is about the wall of division among Americans that Trump has successfully built.


Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California.  His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases.  Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio “Jojo” Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.  You can also visit Jojo Liangco’s website at