4 Tips to Keep the Border Conversation on What Really Matters 

February 15, 2019 Julie Fisher-Rowe

Insights from The Opportunity Agenda

When it comes to immigration (and other issues) we cannot let President Trump’s promotion of fear, hate, and division distract us from talking about what really matters and demanding actions that support communities.

The best way to address Trump's harmful messaging is to focus on uplifting a positive, values-based vision of the southern border and its vibrant communities, and calling for actions that promote immigration policies that reflect our values as a nation.

Stay centered on core values and solutions using these four tips:

1. Keep the long-term story in mind. The wall and talk of a state of emergency are meant to distract from what’s important: support for families, children and the vibrant communities that comprise the southern border. Keep pushing for what’s really needed: an end to a detention system that violates human rights and our values; real investments in the border region that support infrastructure and community health; protections for immigrants and refugees; and so on. Consult with individuals and organizations in the region to keep the conversation on those stories, while at the same time challenging specific situations, like this reckless threat of a state of emergency declaration.

2. Call out the President’s hateful divide-and-distract strategy. Frame his declaration as a cynical, childish tactic to excite his base and focus on an unnecessary and immoral wall at the expense of substantive solutions that uphold our shared values.

3. Don’t repeat harmful terms like “crisis.” Redirect the frustration, fear, anger, and uncertainty many of us are feeling back at the president by shedding light on his true intentions and track record. Emphasize that border communities are safe economic hubs with vibrant communities. Not only that, they oppose the president’s scare tactics and reject being used as an excuse for harmful rhetoric and policies to advance his cynical and hateful agenda.

4. Talk about the solutions we DO want. Border communities need infrastructure investment. Immigration policies should prioritize keeping families together. We all need policies that uphold our values and move us forward together, not further apart.