Justin Willman (Screenshot: YouTube)

It seems like a concept taken from sketch comedy, but for the last year, America has had to give actual, serious consideration to Donald Trump’s plan to build a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border as a means of quelling illegal immigration. Many feel that this strategy is ridiculously impractical, not to mention expensive, but the idea has nevertheless struck a chord with many voters. Comedian and magician Justin Willman, best known to TV viewers for his appearances on The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars and Disney’s Win, Lose, Or Draw, hasn’t been swayed by the hype, however. In an excerpt from his act posted to YouTube, Willman presents a trick he calls “The Unity Wall.” Measuring 20 feet by 15 feet and made of “solid American concrete and steel” with barbed wire on top, Willman’s wall is surrounded by guards on all sides. It seems that an imposing structure like this should keep the magician from successfully crossing the stage. But, no, he appears to pass right through it as though it weren’t even there.

As a magician, Willman brings special insight into the political arena. He knows what Trump’s wall is really all about: misdirection. The goal is to keep the people in the audience distracted so they don’t notice what’s truly happening. It’s something every magician “from the great Harry Houdini to the late David Copperfield” does, Willman says. While the magician is performing his trick, various fun facts appear at the bottom of the screen including “The number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. has been steadily decreasing since 2007” and “Mexican food is delicious.” In the end, the magician concludes that the wall “isn’t even about immigration. It’s about fear. Fear that keeps us from focusing on real issues like gender equality, civil rights, the fact that we’re running out of water.”

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