Trump seriously wanted an alligator moat at the border. Footage shows Obama mocking the idea in 2011.
via Lis Power / Twitter

There are too many differences between Barack Obama and Donald Trump to list them all. But a recent Trump controversy exemplifies how the two differ in their basic humanity.

On Tuesday, a chilling report in The New York Times showed just how far Trump is willing to go to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a March meeting, Trump was fuming about undocumented immigrants crossing the border so he proposed some ideas that are so extreme they seemed to come from the Middle Ages.


Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That's not allowed either, they told him.

The idea that Trump has no problem shooting, impaling, and feeding migrants to man-eating reptiles shows a complete lack of respect for human dignity.

It's no wonder his administration thought that separating families at the border was somehow acceptable.

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Trump denied the accusations on Twitter.

In light of the controversy, footage has emerged from 2011 when President Obama made a speech at the border in El Paso, Texas in which he joked about Republicans wanting a moat filled with alligators at the border.

During his speech, Obama boasted about the upgrades he had made in border security, including more agents, completion of some fencing, and increased cargo screenings. But he said that no matter what he does, Republicans will still want more.

"We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement," Obama said.

"But even though we've answered these concerns, I gotta say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time," he continued.

"Maybe they'll need a moat," Obama said jokingly to laughter from the crowd. "Maybe they'll want alligators in the moat."

Obama's claim that the GOP wants alligators and a moat at the border was a joke that mocked the GOP's obsession with undocumented immigrants.

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This obsession with security seems even more questionable when one looks at the actual facts about undocumented immigrants in the United States. According to Pew Research, the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. has been on the decline since 2007 — four years before Obama's speech.

Further, the fear of undocumented immigrants committing crimes is largely unfounded, because study after study shows they commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans.

Unfortunately, anyone who wants alligators at the border probably hasn't much use for facts.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.