Author’s note: this post was published on September 2, 2016 and includes many updates. If you want to cut to the chase, start at the bottom and work your way back. If you prefer the whole, ugly story about how we arrived at where we are with Southwest border enforcement, start right here.
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.
UPDATE 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
UPDATE 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.
UPDATE 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.
UPDATE 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?
UPDATE 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.
UPDATE June 23, 2018: No snipers or sharpshooters yet, but there might as well be
I tried hard to find a positive after a week of lies and propaganda about border enforcement that ended with the Washington Post pointing a blameful finger at Time magazine over its “Welcome to America” cover.
Then it hit me. So many Americans are so angry over what they are told to believe about our actions at the Southwest border that no matter what we do the fallout can’t get any worse. You can only push these things so far and like other issues politicized to the point of abject stupidity we will eventually wear this one out.
If Trump gets on national television tomorrow and suggests we install snipers and sharpshooters at the border there is nothing the left can respond with that hasn’t already been said. They’ve already pulled Nazi Germany out of their trick bag. That’s about as far as you can go and a lot farther than the administration deserves for making sure these children are fed, have a roof over their heads, and aren’t dying in the hot sun.
That’s better than they got from their parents who brought them on this journey for nothing.
UPDATE October 22, 2018: is new mob from Central America election meddling?
When a caravan of Hondurans headed for our border in April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave us credit for the “most generous immigration system in the world.”19 Then he called the migrant mob:
a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system. There is no right to demand entry without justification.20
No border wall, new migrant mob
Now we are right back where we started. No border wall. Another mob of migrants headed our way. An election is almost here in which immigration is a pivotal issue. Whether by accident or design it’s time to call this what it is: election meddling from Central America.
Democrats have pulled every excuse they can think of out of the liberal trick bag to prevent the construction of the wall including protecting the environment:
These latest waivers of 28 environmental and public health protections are a direct attack on our communities, our wildlife, and our deep economic and cultural connection to our neighbors in Mexico.21
That last phrase is what matters most to Democrats who seem intent on a much larger plan than quasi-legal immigrant assimilation.
Close the border: doesn’t the rule of law do that?
The Trump administration has threatened to close the southern border if Mexico doesn’t halt the newest Central American mob. “Close the border” should be an oxymoron. We have laws to govern who comes and goes that are now off limits.
Democrats have called effective border security “militarization of the southern border” since the Bush days.22 Now they refuse to agree to any solutions short of open borders and assimilation.
Democratic rhetoric turns caravan into election meddling
Since Trump took office we have wasted countless hours and taxpayer dollars trying to find evidence of his collusion with Russia in the 2016 election. Now Republicans have an issue they can throw in their opposition’s face if they have the spine to do it. Is refusing to protect the sanctity of our borders and forcing a pre-election confrontation a stunt designed to manipulate voters? Probably not, but given the ridiculous rhetoric governing how we handle foreigners who believe it is their inalienable right to live in America the GOP should label it exactly that.
UPDATE January 1, 2019: Democrats demand that Mexico pay
Desperate Democrats are so eager to crucify Trump for the shutdown that they criticize the president for not forcing Mexico to pay for the barrier.
Illinois’ Krishnamoorthi: “Mexico was supposed to pay”
Illinois 8th District Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi claims “Trump is Destabilizing And Hobbling The Economy For A Border Wall That Mexico Was Supposed To Pay For In The First Place.”
That’s a lot of words. They boil down to this:
Instead of having Mexico pay for the border wall as the President has promised since 2015, he is asking for as much as $5 billion from taxpayers for a wall that will not accomplish its stated goal and which most Americans do not want.23
He never said who “most Americans” are, but it’s safe to assume they aren’t the ones who put the president in office.
Krishnamoorthi isn’t the only one to pick up this desperate rallying cry. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) echoed the charge and added $30 billion to Krishnamoorthi’s tab:
President Trump promised that Mexico would pay for his $35 billion fantasy Wall but that promise, like so many others, has just vanished.24
DPCC women rally on Mexico payment
An assortment of “Women Democratic Leaders” took up the rallying cry and accused the administration of dropping the ball on Mexico:
What happened to Mexico paying for the wall? I don’t think there is anyone sitting in front of you that is not for a safe and secure border. That is important.24
In two days the new Democratic House takes over. This is the party’s chance to show Trump who is boss and pass a bill to force Mexico to pay.
Don’t hold your breath.
UPDATE January 20, 2019: Democrats Obstruct Solution for Children in Jeopardy
Trump went out on a limb yesterday. He risked anger from both sides with a plan that solves a multitude of problems. As expected, Democrats said no. They chose to obstruct a solution for the very same children in jeopardy that they have used against this president and his party time and again.
Democrats’ open border stance has never been a secret, but now we know for certain that the only border security fix they will honor is no border security. No matter what they say, unless they present a bill to open the gates wide and admit every single foreign national that arrives at the Southwest border they are lying.
From that perspective we did get some honesty yesterday. We went from obstructionism to outright, no holds barred refusal of a solution that they would probably agree to if it came from any other president.
The problem for Democrats is that this forces a nuclear response from the president. One way or the other he is going to reopen the government. With another caravan allegedly forming, I’m placing my bet on his threatened national emergency.
UPDATE February 17, 2019: Congress votes no to border wall and enforcement
Don’t believe anything you hear from members of Congress about how the just-passed 2019 appropriations bill spends on border security.
It doesn’t. Lawmakers preserved the security status quo and agreed to spend more to take care of illegal immigrants.
Of the $22.54 billion allocated for border security only 6.1% went to a barrier. Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) called this:
a substantial down payment on the border wall.26
This “down payment” sounds more like the kind of sell out that lost Republicans the House last year.
The write up for this Democratic Party take on border security talks up:
unprecedented investments in physical barriers, law enforcement personnel, custody enhancements, humanitarian needs, and counter-narcotics and counter-weapons technology.27
Legislators like to use “unprecedented.” When you hear it, rest assured that nothing new is happening.
We wouldn’t have to spend tens of billions on border security if Congress did its job instead of engaging in this protracted, partisan open borders vs. enforcement struggle that plagues our politics and wastes taxpayer money.
So what, exactly, does “unprecedented” mean in dollars and cents? Here is a smattering of examples:
Customs and Border Protection got a $942 million increase.28
$414 million will go to “urgent humanitarian needs”29 for the people we are trying to keep out.
ICE gets another $512 million. That’s a lot of money considering Democrats argue that we should shut the agency down. It includes 5,000 more beds for detained immigrants and also goes to pay for:
safe and humane supervision of those found to be in violation of immigration laws.30
That’s not border security. It’s spending on care, feeding, and housing for people who should have been stopped before they got here.
Mitch McConnell spoke the truth when he stated:
To be sure, in recent months we’ve seen the radical left go out of its way to try and gum up the works. Even the Speaker of the House threw her support behind wild assertions that tried-and-true methods of securing sovereign borders were now immoral.31
So far the left is winning. Blame the Republican Party for that. Had the GOP kept the House or even stood behind Trump and done more to secure the border when they had a majority we wouldn’t be facing this open border crisis. Democrats pursuing open borders in the name of security are forcing confrontations and putting lives at risk.
UPDATE March 9, 2019: Nielsen, H.R. 1 amendment reveal Democrats’ dangerous end game
Despite all evidence to the contrary Democrats are steadfast in their rejection of a border crisis:
Time and again, President Trump has lied and mischaracterized the actual situation to the American people, claiming a ‘crisis’ at the border and that the ‘worst of the worst’ are pouring into the United States. These claims are demonstrably false and made only to justify harmful policies meant to appease his base.32
Meanwhile, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen made a few claims of her own. Last week she spoke of 76,000 illegals crossing into the U.S. in February 2019 and 268,000 since the beginning of the year.33
What was a crisis, is now a full-fledged emergency.34
Democrats responded yesterday by rejecting an amendment to their H.R. 1 election takeover boondoggle that affirmed:
It is the sense of Congress that allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote devalues the franchise and diminishes the voting power of United States citizens.35
Saying no to illegals voting is a frightening development from a party whose stock in trade has been protecting our democracy from Trump and Russia. There is no crisis because the goal of their destructive game is to ensure we can’t manage the influx of aliens they encourage with promises of asylum and assurances that Trump’s hateful America will one date come to an end. The numbers work to their advantage. So far we don’t have much reason to hope that we can stop this legitimate threat to our democracy before the party gets what it wants.
UPDATE April 8, 2019: thank Democrats for new border casualty
DHS Chief Kirstjen Nielsen’s farewell message was short and formal. Below her signature it states:
With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.
That’s a tough standard to live up to thanks to obstructionist, open border, pro-amnesty Democrats who just scored another victory against American sovereignty.
Decency is apparently off the table as well. To kick off the deluge of anti-Trump press releases we can expect in the wake of Nielsen’s departure, Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) added gleeful insult to the surprise announcement.
Thompson referred to Trump’s “misguided, wall obsessed anti-immigrant agenda” and threw a final punch at Nielsen:
Hampered by misstep after misstep, Kirstjen Nielsen’s tenure at the Department of Homeland Security was a disaster from the start. It is clearer now than ever that the Trump Administration’s border security and immigration policies – that she enacted and helped craft – have been an abysmal failure and have helped create the humanitarian crisis at the border.36
What Thompson didn’t admit to the American people is just how valuable this crisis created by Democratic rhetoric is to his party. Without Democrats and their Federal Court enablers there would be no crisis at the border, but in Washington blame is an opportunity to be passed around. The question now as always is why Democrats are so good at this and why the Republican Party is so impotent in the face of ridiculous pro-immigrant propaganda.
Another caravan is on the way. With it arrives another opportunity for Dems to dig their claws into the next DHS chief while they deny the American people their right to a sovereign nation.
UPDATE June 8, 2019: mid-year numbers show half a million illegals and counting
At the end of May the Border Patrol grabbed over 1,000 illegals in one day.37 This happened in the El Paso sector, where Democrats claim we don’t have a problem.
So far in 2019 the Border Patrol has had its hands full with over half a million aliens trying to break into our country.38 While officers battle to keep the border as secure as Capitol Hill allows, Bennie Thompson again confused the situation and blamed the president:
These numbers are yet another sign that the Trump Administration’s border security and immigration policies are abject failures. We have a full-blown humanitarian crisis, which is being exacerbated by the Administration’s inhumane treatment of migrants in custody.39
Let’s break down what Thompson’s humanitarian crisis really means:
1. There would be no crisis if we protected the border, but we don’t have the human resources to do that. Sharpshooters and mines are off the table. How about a border wall?
2. Migrants have nowhere to go but custody. Should we placate Thompson’s party and put them up in nice hotels at further taxpayer expense?
3. A humanitarian crisis isn’t the same as a border crisis. One means stopping the flow of illegals into the U.S. The other means taking care of them after we let them in.
Democrats will never acknowledge that illegals swarming the border are a problem. That’s what happens when they get involved with Homeland Security and turn it into Democratic Party security.
UPDATE June 24, 2019: blame Democrats, not America for AOC’s border concentration camps
I’m still confused why anyone pays any attention to the assorted idiocies that come from New York Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, but she just stepped over the line again and is in hot water and the headlines after a remark about concentration camps at the border.
House Republicans were quick to pounce:
Like clockwork, House Democratic leadership is circling the wagons around Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after she accused the United States of operating “concentration camps” at the border, clearly referring to those used to exterminate millions of Jews in World War II.40
The GOP retort blamed Democratic Party leadership for making AOC the “intellectual leader of their caucus.”41 The hilarity of that statement aside, the inflammatory use of the death camp analogy makes it too easy to ignore the obvious: if there are concentration camps at the border it’s the Democratic Party’s fault.
Democrats drew a line in the sand long ago to spell out their border security ultimatum: pass comprehensive immigration reform or do nothing. Then they got lucky. Migrants swarmed the border and kept on coming. The inevitable do nothing alternative to their thinly veiled plan for amnesty created a crisis that party members do everything in their power to obstruct and with a majority in the House that power is considerable. Now Republicans and America in general bear the blame for a tragedy created by liberal politics.
UPDATE July 27, 2019: SCOTUS border wall spending decision doesn’t answer the real question
The Supreme Court just threw a $2.5 billion wrench in the Democratic Party’s open border policy.
Get ready for a deluge of sour grapes, beginning with this hypocritical statement from Nancy Pelosi. The speaker wants to secure our elections with the SAFE Act and H.R. 1, but ironically secure borders are off the table. Pelosi and company prefer to rip the doorway to America right off the hinges.
The Speaker needs to reread Article III of the Constitution:
The Supreme Court’s decision tonight to allow President Trump to defy the bipartisan will of the Congress and proceed with contracts to spend billions of dollars on his wall undermines the Constitution and the law.42
Wrong, Madame Speaker. It’s a judiciary for the United States, not the Democratic Party.
When the high court decision approved counting illegals as citizens on the Census by refusing to allow a citizenship question Democrats thought SCOTUS hit the nail on the head.
Now the Supreme Court is a threat.
Unfortunately there is no case to be brought to answer the question Capitol Hill is forever dancing around: does the United States have an open border policy or not?
UPDATE October 4, 2019: alligators are a better idea than border sharpshooters
We found out last week that the president is even more on point than we thought. As the Los Angeles Times reports,43 the word got out that the president’s suggestions for all manner of ways to deal with the border influx segued from shooting rock throwers to filling a moat with snakes and alligators.
That last idea is an especially good one. Reptiles have no conscience. They don’t understand morals. They only react because of two survival instincts: the search for food and protection. Both serve our needs. Reptiles don’t cost much to maintain as long as they have a food source. They work for free. That’s a huge advantage.
Left of center Americans assume the president is an idiot. He’s not. The point is there is no strategy too outrageous to frame the ridiculous situation at our Southern Border with Mexico. No, we can’t use sharpshooters and mines. No, we can’t use voracious, venomous reptiles either. But we can push the rhetorical envelope in search of a solution Democrats will do everything in their power to stall.
If only they were smart enough to see just how clever Trump’s suggestion really is.
UPDATE January 13, 2020: Cook County counters border wall strategy by releasing offenders
While Democrats were puzzling over how to use the Senate to kick our president out of office, Homeland Security announced that 100 miles of Trump’s new barrier went up along the Southwest border.
Before the July 2019 SCOTUS ruling that allowed this to happen was handed down, Committee on Natural Resources Chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) worried about how the barrier would impact local wildlife migration, “damage communities throughout the region,” and continue Trump’s “atrocious human rights abuses.”44
There are all sorts of ways to damage communities and put people in danger. ICE mentions one that officials in Cook County, Illinois are apparently very familiar with. The county refused to honor more than 1,000 ICE detainers in 2019:
The most concerning issue about working in an area that refuses to cooperate with ICE is not only that we do not know which criminal aliens are being released from custody, but the public doesn’t know either,” said Henry Lucero, ICE’s acting deputy executive associate director for Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).45
The crimes committed by those the county deemed worthy of sparing from the clutches of ICE include assault, attempted murder, battery, aggravated discharge of a firearm, domestic violence, and indecent exposure.
Sanctuary cities in the interior of our country would rather see these individuals walk the streets than be sent back home where they can’t harm the public. That makes a border wall the perfect solution to keep them from entering in the first place. Democrats must fear its effectiveness at keeping illegals out or they wouldn’t be so angry that they can’t stop it from going up.