In the last few days, thousands of people around the country have decided to donate their money to a GoFundMe page called “We the People Will Fund the Wall.”
Before being elected, President Trump made building a wall along the U.S./Mexican border a major campaign promise, even assuring voters that Mexico would pay for it. Mexico has refused, and now Trump himself seems to have given up on the wall promise entirely.
Now, the GoFundMe page seeks to raise a billion dollars, and in just a few days, has already taken in almost $3.5 million, mostly from small donations from private citizens.
Just a reminder, it’s Christmas time, a time when many people are suffering, and there are literally people standing out in the cold ringing bells to try and get people to spare even some loose change to help those in need. Yet, this is where many people are choosing to give.
The page was started by a man named Brian Kolfage, who explains that he is a Trump supporter on the page: “Like a majority of those American citizens who voted to elect President Donald J Trump, we voted for him to Make America Great Again. President Trump’s main campaign promise was to BUILD THE WALL. And as he’s followed through on just about every promise so far, this wall project needs to be completed still.”
Kolfage explains that he is a Purple Heart Recipient triple amputee veteran, and by all accounts heroically served in America’s military. He said, “As a veteran who has given so much, 3 limbs, I feel deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today.” He was also a special guest of Pres. Obama to the 2012 State of the Union Address.
However, there are some statements made on the page that don’t line up with actual stats: “Too many Americans have been murdered by illegal aliens and too many illegals are taking advantage of the United States taxpayers with no means of ever contributing to our society.” Studies have repeatedly shown that immigrants—even ones that are undocumented—commit far less crime than native-born Americans.
An author of a study by the Cato Institute (a conservative think-tank founded by the Koch brothers) found “as a percentage of their respective populations, there were 56 percent fewer criminal convictions of illegal immigrants than of native-born Americans in Texas in 2015. The criminal conviction rate for legal immigrants was about 85 percent below the native-born rate.”
There has also been debate about the actual cost of illegal immigration to the American taxpayer. As Econofact explains, “Most immigrants are in their working ages and so, viewed as individuals, are average net taxpayers. Since they tend to arrive to the United States as adults, it means that the U.S. did not have to invest in their education, but will benefit from the taxes of their adult earnings.”
Meanwhile, charitable giving is declining. From TalkBusiness: “The Chronicle of Philanthropy released a study that said charitable giving has trended downward since the beginning of the 21st century. From 2000 to 2014, the share of Americans donating to nonprofit organizations fell from 66.2 percent to 55.5 percent.”
Here are five amazing charities you can give to instead of donating to a border wall:
Each year at Christmas, World Vision releases a gift catalogue that features things like medicines, farm animals, warm clothes and other items which can be “given” as gifts on behalf of people on your Christmas list.
As charity:water explains, providing clean water can do more than just helping people who don’t have access to it. It can transform entire communities: “Not only does walking for water keep children out of school or take up time that parents could be using to earn money, but the water often carries diseases that can make everyone sick.”
Preemptive Love is on the ground in Iraq and Syria, helping people that have suffered from decades of violence. You can go here to learn about the incredible work they are doing.
The Christian child sponsorship organization remains a highly rated charity for their incredible work around the world.
If immigration-related issues are important to you, than check out World Relief. There mission is to “partner with churches and communities around the world to provide relief from suffering and help people rebuild their lives.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.