No, the world is not coming to an end. All Trump did was lay out a plan to enforce the border. He didn’t advocate that we use snipers, sharpshooters, or land mines to stop unwary illegals and their DACA-bound kids.
He might as well have.
Instead we got a border wall, which is a pretty benign solution to a very big problem that a fading number of conservatives being criticized as Trump’s base still want to put a stop to. Compared to the venom spewing from liberal mouths outraged that anyone would challenge the Democratic Party on immigration, the appearance with Mexico’s Nieto and Trump’s follow-up speech seemed positively pastoral.
No plan for border snipers while Congress vacations
Had Trump suggested we use snipers, sharpshooters, and mines would anyone in Congress have noticed? The political outcry after Wednesday’s double hit to liberals was minimal thanks to Capitol Hill’s long, taxpayer-paid summer break. That will change after Labor Day. Congressional seats are on the hook and the opportunities to step in front of Trump-hostile press cameras will be endless.
It didn’t matter what Trump said. Liberal Democratic hate was focused on the Republican nominee long before the convention. An American success story has far less utility to the left than 11 million illegals waiting to be forgiven.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez used Trump’s comments on banning Muslim travel to cover for his shameless support of illegal Latinos. He called the GOP stance on immigration a “sinister, anti-immigration arms race.”1 Then he attacked Texas Judge Andrew Hanan for issuing the anti-DACA decision:
Judge Hanen is also using some good old-fashioned scare tactics to see if he can compete with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the GOP presidential nominee for the title of who is most shamelessly anti-immigrant.2
Shamelessly anti-immigrant means defending the border, something we have every right to do. That could mean sharpshooters and snipers. It doesn’t. It means a wall that will be tunneled under or crawled over, like we see here:
Are Latino lawmakers anti-taxpayer?
It is no surprise that some of the loudest pro-illegal immigrant voices on Capitol Hill are Latino. They don’t want anything to interfere with their political futures as staunch representatives of a growing minority. That interference would include interrupting the free flow of illegals between the U.S. and Mexico, a nation which some think should be propped up by U.S. taxpayers:
Today Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) announced that he helped secure more than $157.5 million, as well as important language in the State, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2017 which will strengthen the partnership between the U.S. and Mexico.3
That $157.5 million included over $49 million in “economic support funding:”
to support Mexican programs regarding justice reform, promoting good governance, protecting human rights, implementing crime and violence prevention programs, and facilitating U.S.-Mexico trade and investment.4
Meanwhile, Democrats lament the lack of funding for schools and low-income communities here at home. If there is less to spend on citizens because we sent money to Mexico, that gives them more to blame Republicans for.
Border wall is the end of America?
The shrieks from Capitol Hill were loud well before we heard what we already knew Trump was going to say. Senator Bob Menendez sounded more like Winston Churchill as he tried to make entitling illegal immigrants a nation-saving imperative:
I repeat: The road to some of the darkest moments in history have been paved with the rants of petty demagogues against ethnic minorities for centuries – and Donald Trump is echoing those same racist rants, threatening to take this nation to a dangerous place. Let’s – all of us – speak out before it’s too late.”5
Republicans have said similar things about Obama’s demagoguery. We’re still here. So are 11 million illegals.
The Republican nominee is already being blamed for everything from endorsing hate to hastening nuclear Armageddon. Would suggesting that we place a sniper here or sharpshooter there make a difference in how he is being portrayed? It would show we are serious about immigration. It would prove we are not a nation of bumbling, indecisive oafs who let illegals control our government’s policies. If Trump were really a seething, racist demagogue he would propose exactly that kind of solution. Instead, there was a mannered exchange with Mexico. We heard a plan for a simple barrier to slow things down. His words didn’t sound dark or evil. They didn’t sound like a threat.
Quite the opposite.
March 23, 2017: Democrats say no
Trump’s executive order for border security, including the infamous border wall, was announced January 25, 2017. Democrats in the Senate introduced a bill on March 17, 2017 to put a halt to the president’s proposal. Their primary objection? Cost.6
November 28, 2017: eminent domain and bumper sticker spending
‘Tis the season for budget wars and pre-Christmas shutdown threats.
Building a border wall is divisive so we are hearing every argument imaginable to stop it, from the mundane to the creative.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) chose the first approach. He slammed the barrier proposal as “bumper sticker budgeting” to “save face for one of President Trump’s failed campaign promises.”7 This makes little sense when we are only 11 months into the first term and border wall budgeting is still on the table. Money is an excuse, not the reason to stall the project.
There is another problem that’s more difficult to reconnoiter than finding room in the Federal Budget.
Rep. Ruben Gallego and a handful of colleagues sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan arguing that there is a conflict between seizing private lands for barrier construction and the GOP’s stance on limited government.8 The congressman suggested that:
… fighting families in court for their own land should alarm every American.9
We are also alarmed by policies that protect criminals who come across the Southwest border by extending sanctuary protection from federal authorities. Paying for public services including education is expensive for taxpayers as well, though when the cash comes out of our own pockets it doesn’t seem to bother liberal lawmakers nearly as much.
So what should we do? Monitor the border with drones and hold private landowners responsible when illegals cross their property, make them an offer they can’t refuse, find a way to make a less intrusive border wall, or keep doing what we’ve been doing for years and suffer the consequences?
That last option is unacceptable. It’s also the one I’d put my money on as the budget battle segues to midterm campaigns.
January 28, 2018: instead of a border wall, spend on technology for New York?
Perhaps New York’s Senator Chuck Schumer was too busy playing games with border wall funding to attend the meeting where they talked about fentanyl coming across the Southwest Border. The senator complained about “illegal drugs flowing into border crossings like Peace Bridge and Buffalo-Niagara airport”10 and asked that we pass H.R. 2142, the INTERDICT Act to provide high-tech scanning equipment to Customer and Border Protection agents.
Schumer put Buffalo, NY first in line for the new scanners:
As a port of entry, Buffalo should be amongst the first locations to receive new high-tech drug scanners once this bill is signed into law.11
A few months prior to Schumer’s statement the DEA issued its National Drug Threat Assessment. The agency targeted Mexico as the “primary source of heroin for the U.S. market”12 and pointed out that China and Mexico are the biggest fentanyl offenders.13
We’re already paying for high-tech surveillance equipment to capture smugglers illegally crossing our borders:
Fixed systems provide persistent surveillance coverage to efficiently detect unauthorized border crossing and incursions by suspected drug smugglers. Once detection is confirmed, USBP can quickly deploy the appropriate personnel and resources to interdict.14
We’ve tried for years to stop the illegal drug trade, but politicians are no match for the black market in drugs, guns, human being, or anything else. Profit is also going to win and drug smugglers are very good at adapting their methods.
That’s why a border wall will always make sense except for one thing. It will reduce the flow of Mexican nationals who are encouraged by Democratic immigration policies to come to America. The party can’t have it both ways, but I suspect if push comes to shove illegals will win out over our drug interdiction efforts just like Democrats used them to shut down the government.
March 20, 2018: Obama’s Fence vs. Trump’s border wall
Replace and add, not start from scratch
We spent $2.3 billion on border fencing from 2007 – 2015. 535 miles were constructed from 2005-2015.15 While Democrats beat their chests over Trump’s plans for a border wall a March 15, 2018 Government Accountability Office report makes it clear that the administration’s order means we will “replace and add to existing barriers,”16 not build a brand new wall that never existed in the first place.
That’s right. We already have border barriers. Portions went up and money was spent while Barack Obama was president. We also upgraded the barrier we already have. Infrastructure gets old. It needs to be maintained and replaced. For example, the GAO reported:
… in fiscal year 2016, CBP began removing and replacing an estimated 7.5 miles of legacy primary pedestrian fencing with modern bollard style fencing within the Tucson sector.17
So why is a border barrier a problem now? Is it the word “wall” that Democrats find so offensive, is it the fact that border security is now in the spotlight instead of being carried out quietly in the background, or the fact that a Republican president liberal America will do anything to portray as racist and anti-immigrant is now overseeing border security?
March 25, 2018: Republicans trade $1.6 billion for 800,000 illegals
The joke was on Democrats and dreamers when the House and Senate agreed to a historically massive spending bill before fleeing home for Easter vacation.
Trump got a middling $1.6 billion for his border wall.
Illegals got nothing.
It’s hard to say how many non-citizens were looking for a helping hand from Democrats who blurred the distinction between DACA-eligible and those who needed to apply for or renew their protection. 800,000 is a popular number and the figure cited by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus18 after Trump canceled the program.
That means each dreamer was traded for about $2,000 worth of border wall. If we could apply that sum to every illegal in America, we could have Trump’s wall built in no time.