Letter to the Editor

Sean Freeman, Class of 2019

I feel the need to write a response to Mr. Leary’s piece on the mock wall in order to provide support for the SSJ and associated organizations, while countering some of Declan’s observations.

In your editorial Declan, you appeared to wonder why “they no longer felt the courage to do so aggressively as they did last time in the spring of 2016” when discussing the mock wall.   John Carroll University did not receive the press and attention they necessarily desired from the last mock wall.  The bad press had nothing to do with the wall itself, but with the reactions and actions of people in response to the wall.  The university, as a result, created and enforced several different rules and regulations to make certain events were better handled in the future, including requiring that students not block entry into buildings on campus.  The organizers were following the protocols of John Carroll.  

The Student Union senator who you interviewed stated, “[SSJ and those who created the mock wall] don’t want to provoke student outrage, because they know that the overwhelming majority of the student body is opposed to their agenda.”  He is correct that the wall did not want to “provoke student outrage” because that was not the goal of the wall.  In many ways, SSJ did everything possible to make sure everyone was heard and there were forums for people to express their views and opinions, hopefully avoiding any anger or frustrations students might have.  There was a kickoff meeting describing the goal of the wall to promote conversation on campus.  There was a box in the atrium where people could write down their thoughts and share criticisms.  There was an open debate to allow people to share their opinions about an important topic in not only the United States, but around the world.  To the senator’s comment that an overwhelming majority of people oppose SSJ’s agenda, I am incredibly confused.  The only agenda was to increase public knowledge of the situation by providing statistics and facts about the border and stimulate dialogue on campus.  Considering the Carroll News ran a front page article and two opinion articles on the subject, I would say that their “agenda” was achieved.

You also wrote about how the claims of human rights violations and “the claim that migrants are being ‘forced into the desert’ to die by policing of high-traffic points of entry is absolutely ludicrous.”  I had the opportunity to visit the physical border in January of 2017 through John Carroll and learned of the United States’ policy “Prevention by Deterrence” which literally in its doctrine claims the objective of having segmented walls in higher populated areas and next to nothing in deserts is to put the migrant “in mortal danger.”  We heard stories from nonprofit organizations, migrants, and Border Patrol officers who told us of how Border Patrol would watch people cross into the United States, but wait until it was night time to seize the migrants.  This was because they knew the migrants would be absolutely exhausted, too tired to run, and unsure of voyaging at night because it is difficult and dangerous to navigate across rocky surfaces and cliff sides in the dark. 

Additionally, you claimed that in the border debate, there is negligence shown to the root of the issue, questioning the integrity and motives of South and Central American countries and their governments as people desperately try to flee them.  I couldn’t agree more.  Looking into the root of the issue is incredibly important to understanding immigration. You stated that the American left “treat this as a problem with America and not with the many countries so terribly governed that their citizens see no other option than to flee.”  The problem is that it is often easier to look at immigration in the context of a border wall debate and the present situation, when this was a result of actions committed over decades of influence.  When people from countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador immigrate to the United States, it is difficult to put the historical context into the forefront, like the fact that the United States trained many of the governmental militias that harm and oppress their own people in camps like the School of Americas on U.S. soil or that the United States provided one million dollars every day for twelve years to support the El Salvadoran’s military action against its people or the fact that our government directly targeted and killed key leaders in those countries like Oscar Romero to try and diminish the people’s faith and hope or the fact that the United States sent criminals from the streets of Los Angeles back to El Salvador without warning them of the people’s backgrounds, resulting in the creation and domination of gangs like MS-13.  You could also look at the way the U.S. justified its actions, taking advantage of the fears U.S. citizens had of communism during the Cold War, calling the civilians of the countries they were funding comrades and communist sympathizers.  When a government is not entirely run by its people, free from outside influence and not given warning of a large influx of criminals returning home, it is difficult to expect stability and safety for its citizens.  

You ended your essay by calling out “our school’s social justice warriors,” asking them to “step back and make an honest appraisal of who they are, what they stand for and the despicable crimes their comrades are perpetrating against mankind.”  While the Carroll News is in print, the records of all entries will live forever.  I want to wish you luck Declan.  I hope you use your gifts of talented writing and your role in the Carroll News to the best of your ability and for the benefit of all who read your works.  I believe it is important to remember that your writings are opinion pieces and not news articles.  Please use your power responsibly.