What’s Going On: A criminal, an immigrant and a wall

By all accounts, he was true to his name: he was an ordinary Joe.

Your typical blue-collar worker, Joe did whatever it took to provide for his family, mostly in construction.

And he had quite a family; six children in fact, four boys and two daughters before his first wife died.

Now, Joe wasn’t what you’d called an “evolved” man in terms of possessing the maternal skills needed to raise a family that included six children.

He needed a new wife.


Maybe you heard … but the federal government is “partially shutdown” due to an ongoing dispute between President Donald Trump and Congress.

In short, Trump couldn’t convince the Republican-controlled House and Senate to pass a budget that included $5 billion in funding for his border wall. Now, with Democrats in control of the House, the likelihood of getting a bill of that nature passed seems unlikely.

As such, Trump is digging in his heels. In fact, during a meeting with Congressional leaders Friday, Trump reportedly said he would “keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months of even years.”



Joe would find his new wife and despite a significant age difference, they seem destined to be together.

Joe’s devotion would be tested early in their engagement when his bride-to-be revealed a potentially shame-filled secret: she was pregnant and he wasn’t the father.

Maybe it was because he truly loved her. Maybe he just really needed some help in raising six kids. Maybe it was something else entirely, but Joe wasn’t leaving her and eventually, they married.


Love him or hate him, we can all agree Trump’s presidential campaign was unlike any other.

I remember four recurring themes from it including the “lock her up” chants regarding Hilary Clinton and her e-mails; the “drain the swamp” pledge, referencing crooked and self-serving politicians; promising to repeal Obamacare; and of course, the promise to not only build a border wall, but have Mexico pay for it.

Two years later, Clinton walks free, Obamacare continues (thanks to fellow Republicans), and countless state and federal investigations surround Trump’s inner circle indicating the swamp simply has new rats.

Then there’s the wall. With the stock market soaring one day only to crash the next, a waffling economy hamstrung by a trade war, and an aimless foreign policy, Trump needs this wall. He needs something, metaphorical and literal, to hang his hat on. A crowning achievement. A big win.

This wall would be just that. It would provide him the legacy he so desperately seeks.


Rather unceremoniously, Joe’s wife gave birth while they were out-of-town to a healthy boy. While technically not his, Joe would raise the boy as his own, alongside his other six children.

Maybe it was those paternal instincts kicking in, or some other warning, but Joe knew he had to take his family and leave as their home was no longer safe. The government, and specifically the leader of it, was oppressive at best … genocidal at worst.

Joe had to get his family out of there, which is exactly what he did. Along with his new wife, newborn and six other children, Joe’s family formed … dare I say … a caravan … and split. They emigrated to a neighboring country where they lived for a while. I don’t know if they broke any immigration laws or not in getting there, but I do know this: Joe didn’t care. All he cared about was his family’s safety.


As with most political issues, immigration is one filled with emotions.

But as with all things, it’s important to remove emotions (and especially fear) when making decisions while considering as many facts as possible.

As such, here’s the latest findings by the Pew Research Center regarding illegal immigrants:

The number of illegal immigrants in the country have dropped every year since 2007, down 13 percent in 2016 compared to that high-water mark. The reason? A record number of illegal immigrants were deported during President Obama’s tenure. Remember that when someone is trying to convince you Democrats want to protect illegal immigrants.

There is 1.5 million fewer illegal Mexican immigrants in America in 2016 compared to 2007 while the numbers from other countries remained about the same.

About two-thirds of illegal immigrants living in this country have been here more than 10 years, compared to half that amount 20 years ago. Why? Because the number of illegal immigrants coming into the country annually keeps dropping.

So in summary, we have fewer illegal immigrants than 10 years ago, fewer Mexican illegal immigrants, and fewer illegal immigrants coming into the country every year … without a wall. With that said, there is still about 11 million illegals in this country, of which 5 million or so are Mexican and a wall would undoubtedly reduce that number somewhat. It’s hard to say by how much, but somewhat.

Whether or not that wall becomes a reality remains to be seen. After that aforementioned meeting Friday, Trump said he’s considering declaring a national emergency to fund his wall … the equivalent of a political nuclear bomb. The fallout, politically speaking, of such an unprecedented moved would be something we have never before seen.


After a short exile, Joe’s family returned home safe and sound where he lived the remainder of his days.

Joe’s children from his first wife lived equally unremarkable lives, but his son from his second marriage would make a name for himself. After learning the construction trade with his father, Joe’s son found his own path as a teacher and spiritual leader.

Tragically though, his life would be cut short as he would fall victim to a corrupt government. Unlike in his childhood, Joe’s son wouldn’t join a caravan and seek asylum elsewhere. He agreed to stand trial on trumped up charges in a sham of a court of law.

Found guilty, he was executed.

And every year at Christmas, we read the story and celebrate the birth of this immigrant, criminal, and son-of-a-carpenter known as Jesus Christ.

I may be guilty of comparing apples to oranges with that elaborate analogy. Regardless though, it’s undisputed Jesus Christ was both a criminal and an immigrant who as a child, found safety and asylum in a foreign land that had no walls at its border.

If it had, the Christmas holiday we just celebrated would be much more different.


Gregory Orear is the publisher of The Journal. His award-winning weekly column, “What’s Going On,” has been published in four newspapers in three states for more than 20 years. He can be contacted at gorear@nujournal.com.