By Parker Lee
President Trump’s border wall, once a laughable idea for his critics, now seems a step closer to completion every day.
With guidelines and a timetable set, American construction firms have already begun bidding on the project.
As CNN reports, the owners of those firms, like Mario Burgos of New Mexico, include Americans of direct Hispanic descent — many of whom are now learning just how unforgiving their fellow citizens can be when it comes to the controversial wall:
To be clear, Burgos certainly couldn’t be labeled a die-hard Trump supporter.
He insists he didn’t vote for Trump and has made it clear that he finds some of the president’s rhetoric — particularly his controversial comments about Mexicans — “absolutely mean-spirited.”
Nonetheless, this son of Ecuadorian immigrants and owner of the Burgos Group says that, if the wall is to be built, he wants in:
“Every country in the world has borders. If you don’t have borders, you don’t have a country.”
Burgos, who lives and runs his business in New Mexico, a state that has dealt with some of the country’s highest unemployment rates for months, says this choice is simple:
“We have 120 employees now working for us. Our employees have families that they need to feed just like we have families that we need to feed.”
Burgos isn’t alone, either.
Another contractor, Patrick Balcazar of a Puerto Rico-based firm, had a colorful explanation for why he wanted to build Trump’s border wall:
“Work is work. I’m not a big fan of how Lady Gaga dresses, but if I’m a tailor and she wants me to make her a dress, I will make a dress and I will tell her it looks good on her.”
Al Anderson, general manager of the Hispanic-owned KWR Construction in Arizona, views the matter much the same way:
“I try to be politically neutral in my decision-making process.
We want whatever jobs here along the border that we can get, and set aside our personal beliefs to support our employees.”
Despite their intentions, however, these business owners say they’ve been called “racist” for their efforts to keep their companies afloat and their employees paid.
It’s powerful rhetoric that even some U.S. politicians have thrown around in the past:
For these citizens, however, it’s more than just social media banter and strongly-worded letters from politicians.
Construction firm owner Michael Evangelista-Ysasaga, for example — the grandson of Mexican immigrants — is among the Hispanic contractors who have volunteered to build the border wall, and have been greeted by stolen equipment, thrown rocks, and threats on their lives in return.
In one morning alone, Evangelista-Ysasaga said that he received no fewer than five death threats from “random people calling into the office and just screaming” about his bid to build the border wall.