So I listened to President Trump’s special address on the border wall but as I suspected he failed to make the case with solid evidence.
Even so, congress might overcome the impasse if it went for better fencing, I think. As it is Trump has shut the federal government down by refusing to sign a funding bill unless he gets a border wall.
From what I can gather president Trump this evening (1-8-2019) made the same stale and false argument that illegal aliens in large numbers are streaming across the U.S. southern border and committing serious crimes in this nation. The fact is that while there are terrible and sensational crimes committed by illegal aliens they only account for a fraction of crime committed here and they do not disproportionately commit crimes as compared to the general populace. Illegal aliens do show up in his crime statistics when they are stopped for things like traffic violations.
In his special address to the nation he also implied that somehow a $5-billion border wall, or possibly steel fence — I think he is beginning to slip in the word “barrier” (we already have fencing) — would go a long way to solving the problem of drug smuggling, terrorism, and the illegal entry of criminals and job-stealing undocumented workers. But those not supporting his border wall, citing statistics from government agencies, say that most of the illegal smuggling and other such activity comes through legal ports of entry, such as by air or in the back of trucks, not through a hole in the fence.
Trump also claims that there is a terrible humanitarian crisis at the border affecting families, women and children. Well there is. But a large part of it is caused by the Trump administration’s separating children from their families when they show up at the border. Administration officials have admitted that the policy was implemented as a tactic of discouragement toward migrants.
But there is a crisis of families being separated and held in detention and more and more families have been showing up, often from Central and South America, not so much looking for work as looking for safety, trying to escape the drug war violence and corruption in their home areas where gangs have taken over.
The problem is that instead of working together, the president and the new Democratic Party majority in congress have dug their heals in over the proposed border wall. Federal workers are missing paychecks — some even being forced to work without pay — and people wanting services from government are left wanting, from everything from food stamps to payments to farmers who were affected by Trump’s trade war. Home mortgages and various commercial activities are affected.
Trump, the nominal Republican, is using the government shut down as blackmail against the Democrats, even though he was the one who threatened it and the one who has carried it out.
Interestingly, while Democrats are opposed to the wall, they in the past have wholeheartedly supported border fencing.
But Trump has staked much of his political capital on building a wall to keep out foreigners in an appeal to what is called his base and often described as worried working class white voters (not necessarily totally accurate I am sure).
Both Trump and his opponents claim to be concerned with border security. It seems more of a political fight over philosophy on immigration and the hearts and minds of voters who may be bigots or more open-minded or in between.
It seems at this point it has to be up to the citizenry in a way, whether congress gets a message of support or not for the wall, and if that support is not there whether some Republicans will begin to break ranks with Trump (there being some hint of that, according to reports).
Seems to me there ought to be a clearer policy on who is allowed into the nation, whether for a straight-forward application for work and possibly application for citizenship or for political asylum or escape from violence in their home countries.
A better job of sending a message to potential migrants while still in their home countries that there are channels to go through before arriving and not everyone is going to be admitted must be made.
And it is frustrating to read those stories about illegal aliens who have committed crimes but are still not or immediately deported and then commit more crime, including murder. The excuse that the wheels of justice and bureaucracy are slow just does not cut it.
As far as sanctuaries, there has to be some limit to that. A church might rightly be a sanctuary temporarily for a person or family, but in some timely manner the issue needs to be resolved. It should never be a hiding place or safe zone for a criminal.
I think the onus on the president this evening was to make a case with solid facts and figures, but instead he issued broad statements with some statistics not necessarily correlating with his assertions. He misled.
But even so, the impasse might be broken if congress makes a counter offer on some type of upgraded fencing. If we have fencing at all, which we of course do, how could it hurt to upgrade it?
Some say that Trump was offering a bargaining chip by substituting the word “barrier” for wall. It was also said he may well go back full wall tomorrow.