Alexander's Column

National Security on the Border v. Shuttering Some Government Bureaucracies

Funding to provide border security is casting a long shadow into 2019.

Mark Alexander · Jan. 2, 2019
“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.” —George Washington (1783)

Sometimes, the first column of the year is an easy one — just a few reflections about the year past and the year to come.

Unfortunately, the last week of 2018 was marred by a political confrontation over national security and our southern border, a dispute which is casting a long shadow over the new year.

On 22 December President Donald Trump implemented a limited government shutdown of “non-essential government bureaucracies” after Democrats failed to provide sufficient federal funding to secure our border with Mexico.

Regarding the border security/shutdown showdown

I have covered in detail how all Democrat Party leaders, including incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), have repeatedly advocated for border security and strong immigration laws — until it was no longer politically expedient to do so. Democrats oppose securing our southern border for two reasons: first, because Trump supports it, and second, because these illegal immigrants and their progeny represent the Democrat Party’s most promising and powerful source of new votes.

Demos, therefore, don’t want “immigration solutions.” They want to appease their Hispanic constituents with smoke-and-mirror political rhetoric. In addition, they are using immigration as diversionary fodder to undermine the Trump administration’s considerable economic policy success.

Thus, by advocating for, in effect, open borders, Democrats hope to create a socialist-voter pipeline by flooding our nation with illegal immigrants who they hope to provide fast-track citizenship – and who will then be entitled to costly long-term, taxpayer-funded government assistance.

However, an unforeseen problem with this strategy is that a growing number of Latinos and Hispanics in our country now, legal and illegal, don’t want the job and wage competition from more illegals flooding in from Mexico and Central America. Democrats say they support a “living wage” but then advocate, in effect, an open border, which ensures that millions of working men and women will never break free of the minimum wage.

The Democrats’ refusal to secure our border with Mexico, and their so-called “sanctuary city” agenda, has, over the years, invited millions of illegal immigrants to invade our southern border, many of them using children as human bargaining chips in order to stay in the U.S. Some are seeking economic welfare, while others pose a significant threat to our citizens.

Three recent and tragic deaths should constitute a low benchmark in the never-ending border-security debate.

In late December, there were two deaths of immigrant children in Border Patrol custody. The first was an eight-year-old boy whose Guatemalan mother declared, according to press reports, that the boy’s father brought the sick child with him “because they figured he’d have an easier chance of gaming the American immigration system to gain an illegal foothold here.” His sister said, “We heard rumors that they could pass [into the United States]. They said they could pass with the children.” Another Guatemalan child, a seven-year-old girl who was sick when she and her father were apprehended by the Border Patrol, also died.

President Trump noted correctly, “Deaths of children or others at the Border are strictly the fault of the Democrat … immigration policies that [encourage] people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. … The two children in question were very sick before they were given over to the Border Patrol. The father of the young girl said it was not their fault, he hadn’t given her water in days. The Border Patrol needs the Wall and it will all end. They are working so hard and getting so little credit.”

But there was another death in December, also the direct result of Democrat inaction on border security, that should be a rallying point for all Americans.

The day after Christmas, Newman, California, police officer Ronil Singh, himself a legal immigrant from Fiji, was murdered by an illegal immigrant. Arrested for that murder was Gustavo Arriaga, a Mexican national with reported ties to the violent Surenos gang and previous arrests that should have resulted in his deportation.

Tragically, California’s incomprehensible “sanctuary” restrictions prevented his arrest from being reported to immigration officials. In other words, Democrats opened the door for Officer Singh’s murderer to enter our country, and Democrat policies prevented him from being rightly deported. Seven other illegal immigrants have been arrested in connection with Singh’s murder. (A week earlier, another illegal immigrant in California murdered two people in a crime spree.)

Singh’s brother Reggie expressed his family’s grief and his gratitude for the apprehension of the assailant: “I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. … I wish I could thank all of the law-enforcement agencies, Homeland Security in San Francisco, everyone.”

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson, whose agency led the investigation into Officer Singh’s murder, issued this condemnation of the California laws that allowed for this cold-blooded murder: “While we absolutely need to stay focused on Officer Singh’s service and sacrifice, we can’t ignore the fact that this could’ve been prevented. … This is a criminal illegal alien with prior criminal activity that should have been reported to ICE. We were prohibited — law enforcement was prohibited because of sanctuary laws, and that led to the [murder of Cpl.] Singh. … This is not how you protect a community.”

This murder by a violent illegal immigrant — and countless others before it and to come — demands an answer to the following question: “Sanctuary for whom?”

On these senseless murders, Don Rosenberg, whose son Drew was killed by an illegal alien, said, “We relive what happened to our loved ones. It’s just another stab in the back, particularly in California by our government that doesn’t give a damn about our families. They don’t care about us. They don’t care that their policies and their laws are killing people.”

Officer Singh now joins a tragic and ever-growing list of Americans murdered by illegal immigrants, including Kate Steinle, Jamiel Shaw, and Mollie Tibbetts, as well as countless others whose violent deaths apparently didn’t warrant widespread media coverage. (Two days after Singh’s murder, in nearby Knoxville, Tennessee, an illegal immigrant was arrested for the criminally negligent homicide of a 22-year-old local resident.)

We extend our prayers for officer Singh’s family and for all law-enforcement personnel who man that wall 24/7, providing protection for their fellow citizens.

Responding to the latest instances of violence and the epidemic issues of drug- and sex-trafficking of minors across our southern border, President Trump, who has already deployed military personnel to assist with border security, declared that inaction on securing our border with Mexico will result in shutting it down entirely: “We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Democrats do not give us the money to finish the wall and also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with.”

Regarding the enormous financial cost of illegal immigration, Trump noted, “It’s a national embarrassment that an illegal immigrant can walk across the border and receive free health care and one of our Veterans that has served our country is put on a waiting list and gets no care.” Indeed it is.

The taxpayer burden of illegal immigration is conservatively estimated at $155 billion per year — versus a one-time expense of $7-$9 billion for Trump’s border barrier.

For the record, Congress has already authorized redistributing $10.6 billion in taxpayer funds to Mexico for its own southern border security. But on own southern border, Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman Tuesday, “Once again we have had a violent mob of migrants attempt to enter the United States illegally by attacking our agents with projectiles. The agents involved should be applauded for handling the situation with no reported injuries to the attackers.”

With a final word on the critical importance of border barriers, Acting ICE Director Ronald Vitiello offered this yearend assessment: “2000 people are coming to the border each and every day. … Loopholes in the law [are] encouraging people to come to that border. … We are running out of resources and the status quo is not acceptable. [Democrats] are saying that a wall doesn’t work. Agents need an enduring capability to slow people down [at the border]. It provides an anchor for them to add technology, access roads and patrol response, to protect our border. We always have a safer border where we have that barrier. People who don’t believe it works, why do they have fences around their homes and lock their doors at night. [T]his is getting bottled up in politics. … I was in the border patrol for 33 years… Walls work. We need to safeguard the border, give agents a safer place to work and protect the country better.”

Regarding the so-called “shutdown showdown”

President Trump has already signed legislation approving $900 billion of $1.2 trillion for federal agency operating expenses, but the partial shutdown is having a significant impact on 800,000 people on the federal payroll.

The interruption of “non-essential government services” and furlough of 380,000 government employees could be viewed as “paid vacation,” as Congress has always restored back pay retroactively. However, many of those affected live on tight margins, and missing paychecks means potentially missing loan and mortgage payments and other bills. They will begin feeling the pinch in January, but taxpayers, who are footing the bill, are already bearing the shutdown burden. The same is true of the 420,000 essential government employees who remain on the job, most in security positions, who will not receive pay starting in January, but are guaranteed their back pay. Those employed by government contractors will not see their back pay restored. (Trump has declared that all furloughed government workers will receive back pay.)

How did we get here?

In short, President Trump requested $5 billion in additional border-security funding in order to begin construction of border barriers along 20% of our southern border with Mexico. Before recess, in one of the last actions of the Republican-controlled House before Democrats take over this week, lawmakers passed a bill approving $5.7 billion in additional funding. But that bill was dead on arrival in the Senate, which only agreed to $1.3 billion for border security, and none of that for a border barrier.

When Senate Democrats denied additional border-barrier funding, including a $2.5 billion compromise offer from Vice President Mike Pence, Trump ordered the partial shutdown. For how long? According to the president, “I can’t tell you when the government is going to reopen. … [Not until] we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it. I’ll call it whatever they want. But it’s all the same thing. It’s a barrier from people pouring into our country.”

Trump drew attention to the necessity of security walls by mentioning one in particular: “President and Mrs. Obama built a 10-foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound. I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The US needs slightly larger version!”

The consummate dealmaker, Trump is looking for some concession from Democrats by using Obama’s illegal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) deceit as a bargaining chip – offering green cards to the children of illegal immigrants already in the U.S., but not a path to citizenship. For citizenship, they would have to return to their home countries, make application and get in line. But Demos are not likely to bite.

Notably, he has also issued an executive order putting a hold on pay increases for all non-military government employees — another bargaining chip.

Meanwhile, Pelosi’s incoming 166th Congress Democrat regime, the congressional “Trump Resistance Collective,” is weighing options, and will pass a package of Senate spending bills to reopen closed government offices — in an attempt to shift blame for the shutdown to Republicans.

Of course Trump will not approve that ploy, as noted by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “Pelosi released a plan that will not re-open the government because it fails to secure the border and puts the needs of other countries above the needs of our own citizens. The Pelosi plan is a non-starter because it does not fund our homeland security or keep American families safe from human trafficking, drugs, and crime.”

The president has called key members of Congress to the White House today for negotiations. But the biggest obstacle to border security is, as Trump noted: “The Democrats don’t want to let us have strong borders, only for one reason. You know why? Because I want it.”

While waiting on Democrat support for construction of southern border barriers, the Trump administration is doing what it can to close the loopholes which attract illegal aliens. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced a significant policy shift to thwart unqualified “asylum” claims, only one in ten deemed by the courts to be legitimate.

This border budget battle will extend well into January.

Update: After President Trump’s address to the nation on the humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border, he met with Schumer and Pelosi. As we expected, they refused to negotiate and he walked out. Trump said, “Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”

Note: Thank you to all who supported The Patriot Fund’s 2018 Year-End Campaign — we will provide an update on Thursday. This campaign accounts for almost 50% of our annual operating revenue and sustains our publication from November to April.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776

Click here to show comments

Defend Liberty!