“Build it and they will come.” You know the quote. From “Field of Dreams,” 1989 movie based on “Shoeless Joe,” a novel imagining baseball players flooding back from Beyond. Flew through my head this week, with a not-so-funny twist: “Un-build it and they will come.”
President Trump promised, blueprinted, and operationalized much of a 576-mile high-tech, high-deterrence “protective wall” along our Southwest border. The effort was fought vehemently by Democrats in Congress, state houses, and in courts, yet Trump prevailed. This week, roughly 475 miles are complete. See, e.g., https://bronx.news12.com/president-trump-touts-immigration-policies-border-wall-in-texas-speech.
When direct appropriations to Homeland Security were blocked, derailed, and watered down, Trump prevailed in reprograming money from Defense to this security concern. In December 2020, he secured another 1.375 billion for construction in 2021. See, e.g., https://thehill.com/policy/finance/531088-congress-to-approve-1375-billion-for-border-wall-in-2021.
At the same time, Trump brought US immigration policy into line with existing laws, rationalized asylum and refuge policies, stopped Obama’s “catch and release” and “caging” plans, applied pressure to states harboring illegals in “sanctuary cities,” where crime and homelessness rose.
Finally, Trump negotiated with – and won concessions from – regional neighbors, reducing the inflow of illegal aliens through allied countries, including Mexico. So significant were Trump’s domestic and international legal victories, that Mexico and Guatemala became destination countries – for tens of thousands who would otherwise have resettled illegally in America. See, e.g., https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-mexico-idUSKCN20M2SC.
Those seeking refuge or asylum from outside Mexico could no longer slip through Mexico and claim an urgent need to escape persecution, since they were already in Mexico – not persecuted. They were required to remain in Mexico, as claims were adjudicated. Moreover, Mexico began deterring illegal alien caravans on their own southern border, with some 17,000 troops. See, e.g., https://www.reuters.com/article/us-trade-mexico/update-3-trump-is-confident-mexico-will-enforce-new-immigration-deal-idUKL2N23F08X?edition-redirect=uk.
The result of Trump’s border security efforts – promising to build, building, and legally reinforcing a border wall, while discouraging sanctuary cities and deporting criminal aliens, was stunning. Overall, he reduced illegal immigration by 60 to 80 percent. See, e.g. https://dailysurge.com/2020/11/trumps-success-improving-americas-immigration-situation-could-be-overturned-quickly/.
In the first month after Trump ended “catch and release,” illegal aliens released dropped by 70 percent. See, e.g., https://www.helpsavemaryland.org/2019/07/06/trump-mexico-deal-cuts-release-of-illegal-aliens-into-u-s-by-70-percent/. In April 2018, Trump decried thousands of illegal aliens – chanting leftist slogans – pushing north in organized “caravans.” See, e.g., https://thenewamerican.com/trump-slams-huge-caravan-of-illegals-heading-for-u-s-border/.
His policies put the kibosh on them. “Apprehension numbers… tell the story,” because “as the expulsion policies locked into place, arrests of families entering the U.S. fell from nearly 85,000 in May 2019 to less than 5,000 in February 2020.” In effect, Trump ended the crisis. See, e.g., https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-got-what-he-wanted-at-the-border-would-biden-undo-it/ar-BB1atmTn.
Interestingly, after the COVID-19’s threat, 78 percent of Americans backed Trump’s efforts in mid-2020 to close the border except for essential travel. That number – amazingly – is an NPR poll. See, e.g., https://www.npr.org/2020/08/05/898915843/americans-back-trump-on-immigration-but-only-to-stop-covid-19-poll-finds.
Now – Biden pledges to undo all this. He pledges to reverse Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy, restart “catch and release,” place a “moratorium” on (read: end) deportations, open the door to refugees, support sanctuary cities, and if possible, freeze or “un-build” Trump’s Southern border wall. See, e.g., https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/02/biden-border-wall-trump/; https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2020/november/biden-to-stop-building-border-wall-vows-total-shift-in-immigration-and-refugee-policy; https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-immigration-courts-local-governments-3d6ab9e79153e67d974cee1bf592862f;
Already, in November, 70,000 illegals were arrested – a 64 percent increase year-over-year. “Caravans” of Honduran illegals are forming faster than Chicago stickball teams in the days of “Shoeless Joe” – who may, after all, be the model for “Basement Joe.” Biden seems non-plussed, unconcerned, and observers say the message is “We have open borders.” See, https://www.westernjournal.com/biden-democrat-vows-immigration-sending-signal-borders-open/; see also, https://www.cnsnews.com/index.php/article/washington/melanie-arter/trump-caravans-forming-border-anticipation-biden-presidency.
So, where are we? Looks like “back to the future.” Sorry, wrong movie. This rerun seems custom made for a new quote, reflecting Biden’s hate for Trump’s wall. “Un-build it and they will come.” Sounds about right. “Basement Joe” will be a star. Just when we had things figured out, they go south – or come north – again. That is Hollywood – and new Democrats – for you.