I do not see the basis for Representative John Katko’s claim that the Auburn Citizen editorial board mischaracterized his position. Even in criticizing Katko, it stated that Katko had, to his credit, supported opening the government. But the editorial board criticized Katko for sometimes supporting the border wall. Katko’s response indicates that the Auburn Citizen was correct in accusing him of supporting a border wall.

When Trump first proposed a border wall, even some of his supporters understood it as a symbolic gesture, not a serious proposal. For good reason. It’s ludicrously expensive (more expensive that Trump has admitted) and does little to secure the border.

But I have a deeper objection to Katko’s support for the wall. The big threats to national security stem from Russian interference in our election and mass shootings by native born Americans, not immigrants fleeing violence and poverty in search of a better life. The crime rate among immigrants is much lower than among the native born. And all of the killings by extremists last year were from right wing hate groups.

Trump’s wall, therefore, constitutes a symbol useful in dividing America along racial lines, not an effort to address serious national security threats. I want to see more courage from all politicians, including Katko, in pointing out that “border security” is not as pressing an issue as domestic gun violence, right wing hate groups, and cybersecurity, especially with respect to elections. Katko’s support for the wall and harping on border security make him an unwitting accomplice in Trump’s effort to sully America’s name through slandering and abusing the marginalized and the dispossessed.

David Driesen


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