by Lil Tuttle
In a nationally-televised address this week, President Donald Trump made a compelling case for erecting a Southern border wall as well as other border security measures to ameliorate the “growing humanitarian and security crisis” caused by thousands of illegal migrants flooding into the nation. A southern border barrier is the president’s primary condition in negotiations to end a partial federal government shutdown. Yet his opponents, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), continue to demonstrate an unwillingness to negotiate, despite having previously supported a border wall.
The President’s Case:
- Space: We are out of space to hold [illegal immigrants] and we have no way to promptly return them back home to their country.
- Public Resources: [While] America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants … all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration [that] strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages.
- Illegal Drugs: Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Every week 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border.
- Criminals: In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings.
- Humanitarian Crisis: Last month, 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the US … used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs. One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico.
The President’s Proposal:
- My administration has presented Congress with a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers and human traffickers.
- The proposal from Homeland Security includes cutting-edge technology for detecting drugs, weapons, illegal contraband and many other things. We have requested more agents, immigration judges, and bed space to process the sharp rise in unlawful migration.
- The plan also contains an urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical support. Furthermore, we have asked Congress to close border security loopholes so that illegal immigrant children can be safely and humanely returned back home.
- As part of an overall approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier. At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security [and] what our professionals at the border want and need.
- The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year, vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress.
Partial Federal Government Shutdown
The President also noted that “the federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security. … This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting. I have invited congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done.”
Responding to the accusation that a southern border barrier is immoral, the President argued that wealthy politicians “build walls, fences, and gates around their homes” not “because they hate the people on the outside but because they love the people on the inside. The only thing that is immoral is the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized.”
The president’s proposal is not a radical idea.
The idea was largely shared by leaders in both political parties until President Trump assumed office. More than 20 years ago, President Bill Clinton embraced the same idea during his 1995 State of the Union address.
The $5.7 billion price tag is not cost-prohibitive.
As Chris Buskirk at americangreatness.com pointed out, $5.7 billion is only “one tenth of 1 percent of the federal budget.” To put it in more easily-understood monetary terms, the price tag is the equivalent of $1 in $1,000.
The left did not present a compelling counter-argument to President Trump’s proposal.
In fact, the rebuttal delivered by Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi was largely ridiculed.
Can Chuck Schumer stare down the teleprompter any harder? pic.twitter.com/qr7GEyOKMG
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) January 9, 2019
The left has demonstrated an irresponsible refusal to negotiate.
In all negotiations, both parties come to the table with one or two “absolutes.” A border barrier is one of the president’s “absolutes” and his opponents know it. Rather than put one of their “absolutes” on the table, Speaker Pelosi shut down negotiations.
Following a White House meeting on Wednesday, Jan 9, media reported Senator Schumer’s take on the proceedings. the president asked Speaker Pelosi “’Will you agree to my wall?’ She said no. And he just got up and said, ‘Well, we’ve got nothing to discuss.’”
President Trump tweeted his version of the meeting: “Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total wasted of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things [i.e., government] up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”
Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2019
Writing at the American Spectator, Scott McKay observed:
There’s an old adage applicable here, which is the party at the negotiation who can most easily get up from the table is usually the one who wins. That party is clearly Trump. His argument is not only the clearer one, it’s also a core argument which got him elected — it’s a key pillar of sovereignty that a nation must control its borders, there are crucial, fundamental issues of national security being unaddressed by current federal policy, and it’s the president’s job to bring that chaos under control
Resolution to the government shutdown now rests in the left’s hands.
“Until now,” writes Marc Thiessen, “Trump has owned the 18-day government shutdown that prompted this address, because he’s the one who started it. But if Democrats continue to attack him, and won’t entertain any compromise, soon the shutdown will be all theirs — because they’re the ones who have refused to end it.”
We are convinced that President Trump’s position is the honorable, moral, and necessary position. The leverage he and like-minded congressional leaders hold in keeping the government partially shut down is the only leverage likely to produce the border security and barrier this nation has desperately needed for more than two decades, and the only hope American citizens have to end the southern border humanitarian and security crisis. We urge him to continue to stand strong.