Media conjecture on the issue of border security is bouncing around like the little metal ball in a Japanese pachinko machine. Trump will have to cave again. Democrats will give Trump some money. Republicans will not allow another shutdown. The Senate/House conferees are close to an agreement. Talks have stalled or reached an impasse. Trump will declare a national emergency. No, he won’t. Take your pick.
It is impossible to predict what WILL happen when the funding deadline is reached but for Trump and the Republicans to come out ahead, there is only one viable path. Trump needs to make it clear that the $5.7 billion for physical border barriers is non-negotiable. This means that the Republican conferees need to understand that any compromise that does not include the money for the metaphoric “wall” will be vetoed.
Whether the conferees fail to reach a compromise – or whether they reach a compromise that is unacceptable to the President – the result is the same. No deal. No money to keep the government open.
In recent days, there has arisen another stumbling-block. Seems like the Democrats want to actually reduce the number of beds available for those detained after crossing our border illegally – even though it is anticipated that the flow of migrants will greatly increase in the coming months and years. A recent Gallup Poll indicated that 42 million Latin Americans are potential migrants to the United States. There are also reports indicating that more than 700,000 will cross our unsecured border yet this year.
Decreasing the number of beds is not only a deal-breaker but downright nutty. It shows that the Democrats have no interest … zero … in securing the border and reducing the numbers of illegal aliens residing in America. Tie this to their efforts to eliminate Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and their defending sanctuary cities and it is obvious that they want open borders and unrestricted migration for a perceived political advantage – even if it means the admittance of thousands of criminals and tons of drugs.
Democrats’ argument that most illegal aliens have overstayed visas is irrelevant. More than 700,000 people crossing our border is a problem – a crisis. Democrats say that most of those arriving are not criminals or drug cartellians, but thousands – yes, thousands – are, and that is a crisis for those Americans who will be the victims.
Democrats even argue that the hundreds of thousands who cross our border are NOT illegal because they are asylum seekers. Such a simplistic claim fails to recognize that more than 80 percent of the asylum seekers are not eligible for asylum. Furthermore, once in the country, they do not show up for their asylum hearing but remain in the United States – making them ILLEGAL aliens.
If Democrats continue to pursue their obstructionist policies and refuse to consider adequate border security funding, there may be – and should be – another government shutdown. This time for as long as it takes for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — or enough of her congressional Democrats — to put up the $5.7 billion.
The only other option for Trump is to declare a national emergency and shift money from other purposes to build border barriers in vulnerable locations. While that may seem like the simplest solution, it is fraught with short and long-term problems.
In the short run, it will most certainly be challenged in the courts. Trump is likely to win that battle, but it does put off any action as the case runs its course – even on an accelerated fast-track.
It will also create another round of negative spins as Democrats and their shameless toadies in the press hype one story after another of how the reapplication of the funds is hurting those agencies temporarily losing the money. If history is any example, the anti-Trump media will see every dollar transferred to the border as the end of the Republic.
Some claim that declaring an emergency would embolden future Democrat presidents to use the power. We first must recognize that presidents have been declaring national emergencies for all sorts of reasons – many not as critical as border security – and that we are currently operating under more than 30 national emergencies declared by presidents all the way back to Jimmy Carter. Trump declaring a national emergency will not encourage or discourage future Democrat presidents from using or abusing power.
Whether it deserves to be or not, the battle of border funding is an existential fight for Trump and the Republican Party. Should they fail to show resolve, the Republican tsunami that had been building since 2010 will completely collapse. The bases of both the Republican and Democratic parties are ready to declare internecine war if their leaders and their party fail to prevail.
Trump has always had the power position as long as the Republicans in the Senate refused to override a veto. If he caves or the GOP senators cave, 2020 will make 2018 look like a great year for the GOP.
Of course, there is always the possibility that the members of Congress could again kick the can down the road by agreeing on yet another short-term extension – passing another Continuing Resolution that would fund the government for a few more days or weeks. All that does, however, is make them all look worse than they do today. It would be further testimony to chronic governmental dysfunction. It is the worst possible option – which means it could be the most likely of all.
So, there ‘tis
AUTHOR UPDATE: Since the above commentary was written before the news of an agreement, it requires a bit of an update. IF the agreement between the Republicans and Democrats in Congress is as reported – with about $1.3 billion for border protection – it is a YUGE defeat for President Trump. He will now be getting less money than he would have in the earlier pre-shutdown agreement. This means that the shutdown was an abysmal waste of time and produced needless negative ramifications for NOTHING.
While there is still speculation as to whether Trump will sign such an agreement, it is unimaginable that the congressional Republicans would have agreed to anything that they did not know he would sign. It is possible that Trump will sign this deal and then proceed to declare a national emergency to obtain the rest of his funding. That is an awful option. This deal suggests that control of the federal government is in the hands of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats. It could well make Trump a lame duck President for the remainder of his first term – and it most assuredly will hurt is chances for a second.