Did Donald Trump Jr. Just Compare Immigrants to Zoo Animals?

Note: Undocumented immigrants are not wild animals.


Joshua Roberts/REUTERS/Newscom

On the list of dumb arguments to make in support of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, the one Donald Trump Jr. made last night has to rank near the top.

After his father delivered a nationally televised address making the case for more immigration control, Trump Jr. appeared to compare zoo animals to immigrants. "You know why you can enjoy a day at the zoo? Because walls work," Trump Jr. posted on his Instagram story.

The comparison is, of course, ridiculous because undocumented immigrants are not animals.

The Trump administration has framed the situation at the southern border as a matter of national security. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for instance, claimed Sunday that border officials caught almost 4,000 known or suspected terrorists crossing the border in 2018. But that's not true. In fact, from October 2017 to March 2018 (the first half of the fiscal year), Customs and Border Protection apprehended just six such immigrants.

Plus, as Reason's Matt Welch pointed out yesterday, the State Department reported in 2017 there was "no credible information that any member of a terrorist group has traveled through Mexico to gain access to the United States." Not only that, but studies have suggested illegal immigrants are actually less prone to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

Walls at zoos are just as irrelevant to the immigration debate as the fences rich people put around their homes. "Some have suggested a barrier is immoral," President Donald Trump said in his speech last night. "Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences, and gates around their homes?"

"They don't build walls because they hate the people on the outside but because they love the people on the inside," he added.

Building a wall around your own home, of course, does not involve spending tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money or seizing private property. And those walls Trump referred to actually work, which is more than you can say for his proposed border barrier.

Unfortunately, this is the kind of reasoning you're going to use in front of the nation when you "borrow" talking points from cable news stars: