Let’s limit this report to facts. Here they are – and at the end of this list, you draw the conclusion that best fits your view, based on common sense. Here are the ten most salient facts related to border security and the recent shutdown, now approaching week two.
First, according to the Department of Homeland Security, approximately 1,100 illegal aliens have been crossing the border daily between the Rio Grande and Yuma sectors. This does not include the “caravans,” massing slowly south of San Diego, to seek “asylum” from persecution south of Mexico.
Second, the overall trend in border penetration is growing, after an initial stall that followed President Trump’s election and hardline 2017 position on illegal entrants. Public projections for refugee flows north are a reaction to three factors: Rule of law challenges and narcotics-trafficking violence in Central America, more left-leaning Mexican administration, and a 2.3 million refugee outflow crisis from the cratering Venezuelan socialist crisis. None of these crises will dissipate soon; they must be prepared for.
Third, recent events in the United States indicate that a 2018 nexus exists between elevated illegal alien population, expanding “sanctuary” cities, and drug-related violence (spiking in certain cities, reflective of the national drug crisis). The nexus is contributing to a broad rise in crime, with the murder rate up (e.g. in Baltimore, DC, cities in Texas) and broader violent crime spiking (e.g. in key parts of Texas, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Indiana, California, New Mexico, Louisiana, Illinois, Virginia, Georgia, Missouri, and even South Dakota). Nor are the rises incremental – they are material. Then, last week, a California law enforcement agent was killed by an illegal alien – whose prior crimes were not reported to ICE based on sanctuary protection for the criminal alien in California. The crime is viewed by some as a pointer, to future events – if the border, ICE, CBP and national law enforcement are not supported.
Fourth, cross-border drug trafficking from international sources of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, other dangerous synthetics and marijuana – is experiencing a steep rise, as are concomitant addiction numbers in every drug category, according to a recent national assessment by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The report is corroborated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This can only be addressed by direct, proactive counter-narcotics and border security policies.
Fifth, the pending legislation – which is not being signed by the President for lack of five billion dollars to support a border barrier (e.g. wall) – is a composite of seven outstanding (incomplete) appropriations bills. Ground truth: The bills total almost one trillion dollars, with roughly 322 billion in “discretionary” money that could be moved around by Congress; the rest is untouchable “entitlements.” Within the 322 billion – passed by House and Senate, but only House included five billion for a wall – are Senate “marks” that elevate federal spending on programs for things like Housing and Urban Development (HUD), foreign aid, above the president’s request. Example: $43.6 billion for HUD that is $11.9 billion OVER the President’s request. One solution: Just bump up HUD programs by, say, $6.9 billion, allowing the rest for a wall (i.e. five billion).
Sixth, another possible solution would be for Congress to officially allow the President – in this spending bill – to transfer funds from one or another accounts, up to five billion – to allow for the beginning of the formal border security program or wall. That would allow the Democrats – which for some reason want open borders as a national policy – to adopt the (political) fig leaf of no border money, but then allow the President to protect all Americans with a transfer of resources up to five billion dollars, to get the process of securing our sovereign border started.
Seventh, polls of Americans are revealing. First, the “wall” was a signature issue contributing to President Trump’s win in 2016, and by all accounts remains a strong issue for the Republican Party, and some in the Democrat party. Southern states are sensitive to the issue, but it is national in nature. Thus, while some polls tip against the “wall,” many (including liberal polls) put at least 40 percent in favor. More specifically, Gallop (for example) puts 73 percent of Republicans in favor a wall, with 13 percent of Democrats in favor. On the other hand, while most Americans see some value in making a “pathway to citizenship” for 800,000 children of illegals, “sanctuary cities” are firmly opposed by a majority of Americans.
Eighth, the new Mexican President – although tipping hard left – is seeking Mexican support for a more “free-trade zone” idea next to the US border, presumably accommodating Mexican corporate interest in a more US-like enterprise zone that encourages higher wages, lower taxes and more productivity, similar to US options. This zone could be endorsed, in concert with a new US-Mexico trade accord that beefs up US-Mexican border security, reduces drug trafficking, and also helps Mexico contain illegal crossers at its own southern border – and includes the wall. Ironically, a wall under these conditions might help both economies.
Ninth, the so-called partial shutdown is about to get more real – as four things happen: The President calls congressional leaders to get an “up close and personal” border security briefing at the White House this week, which will show effects in their many congressional districts; Democrats take control of the US House, thus also responsibility for shutdown resolution; the southern border crisis gets more severe, on the numbers; and federal workers (between 300,000 and 800,000) begin to face a possible delay in one two-week paycheck.
Tenth, the news will begin to leak out – as this report offers – that the whole resolution is dependent on roughly half of one percent of the pending bill, or less than two percent of the overall discretionary money. In other words, the Democrats could be outed for “grandstanding” and forced to admit that they can resolve this entire impasse – and protect the US border, which is under siege – with a simple transfer of less than two percent of the total pending bill.
Now, take a deep breath. Think on this issue, in context of these material facts. Does it make sense for the US Congress to continue to block the fractional request for money to start President Trumps’ border wall, or not? If not, what is the argument for not funding this commitment? If it makes sense, shouldn’t Congress wake up, sit up and step up – to funding? Is it not common sense to end the shutdown, and protect America’s borders?