Thanks to the feckless Republican leadership, President Trump is unlikely to get funding for his border “wall” or legislative solutions for the Southwest border crisis before the new Congress. Democrats are now firmly against even a bad deal like a DACA amnesty/wall funding trade. He will either have to veto the next continuing resolution, hoping the Democrats will change their mind, or rethink how he can win against a Democrat-controlled House and filibuster-limited Senate.
I can’t see how a pre-Christmas shutdown will produce anything other than animosity. It’s better to leverage public support for a broader solution when Democrats must lead, not just obstruct. I think the path to that broader solution requires re-branding the “wall.”
I understand the wall is important to him and to many of you. It became a signature of his campaign and his Administration. The notion of a wall is symbolic, really. In reality, it refers to effective barriers that stop illegal immigration, etc. However, building physical barriers are just one way to stop illegal immigration.
It’s commonly accepted that around forty percent of illegal immigration is caused by people overstaying their visas. An effective entry-exit system with interior enforcement will solve that problem, not a wall.
The prospect for jobs induces most illegal border crossings and visa overstays. And the draw increases for those inclined to have a family on U.S. soil since the wrongful interpretation of the 14th Amendment yields public benefits for their kids. Here too, a wall is of limited benefit compared to cutting off the jobs magnet through E-Verify and a legislative clarification of birthright citizenship.
For some time now, the prospect for jobs also has induced migrants to game our asylum system. Loopholes in the asylum law, combined with related court rulings, virtually guarantee release for “family units” that present themselves at ports of entry. And if the numbers remain high, others must be released due to limited detention space. A wall can’t fix this problem because most are using “doors.”
As much as the president wants a wall, the American people are now more focused on the thousands waiting in line for an asylum interview at San Ysidro port. He’ll get little traction demanding wall funding before Christmas because the public understands that illegal border crossings are just part of the problem. But he can begin to re-brand his “wall” in an attempt to solve all of the above-noted problems.
The battle we face is one to protect American lives and livelihoods, our quality of life, the National Treasure and, ultimately, our sovereignty. In a sense, it’s a modern-day equivalent of the founding fathers protecting our unalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” They fought for our independence and it’s time we defend ours. We need to wall ourselves off from illegal border crossers, visa overstayers and asylum gamers.
This is the case President Trump can and should make. He can call it a “Wall of Independence” or “Sovereignty,” or use some more pedestrian term like “Interdiction,” but it must define the terms of debate. Then he should do what he does best - take the campaign directly to the American people. He needs to rally support for the moment when he eventually does veto a continuing resolution next year. That’s the only way to win in politics-as-usual Washington, D.C.
Updated: Sat, Dec 8th 2018 @ 12:40am EST