Alexander's Column

The Humanitarian and Security Crisis on Our Border

A full analysis of Donald Trump's Oval Office address, as well as the Demo rebuttal.

Mark Alexander · Jan. 9, 2019

“The bosom of America is open to receive … the oppressed and persecuted of all nations … if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.” —George Washington (1783)

In his first Oval Office speech, President Donald Trump addressed the nation on the humanitarian and security crisis along our southern border. His remarks were brief, and adequately outlined the need for a secure southern border.

What follows are the president’s annotated remarks in full, key points in bold, followed by our analysis:

THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans: Tonight, I am speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.

Every day, Customs and Border Patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country. We are out of space to hold them, and we have no way to promptly return them back home to their country.

America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation. But all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration. It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages. Among those hardest hit are African-Americans and Hispanic Americans.

A key point we have made repeatedly is that Democrats, out one side of their collective mouth, claim Hispanic and black Americans as their constituencies. Out of the other side, they advocate for virtual open borders, which “drives down jobs and wages.” Trump is correct — “those hardest hit are African-Americans and Hispanic Americans.” According to U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow, “Black males are more likely to experience competition from illegal immigrants. It is not just the competition and the unemployment of blacks. It also depresses the wage levels.”

Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90% of which floods across from our southern border. More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.

As we have documented, Mexican drug cartels are terrorist organizations that pose a serious and growing threat to our nation. Violent gangs are pouring across our southern border, which then establish drug networks for the cartels in American cities — including pipelines for deadly synthetic heroin produced by China. As a direct result, there are now more than more than 15,000 overdose deaths annually. According to the CDC, “Mexican [Transnational Criminal Organizations] control the movement of heroin that enters the United States across the [southwest border], until it reaches its destination in cities all over the United States.” Securing our border will significantly reduce the gangs and drugs coming across that border.

In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings. Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country, and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now.

Trump’s arrest numbers are correct, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement numbers compiled in 2017 and 2018.

This is a humanitarian crisis — a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.

Last month, 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the United States — a dramatic increase. These children are used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs. One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico. Women and children are the biggest victims, by far, of our broken system.

The gangs associated with Mexican cartels, thanks in large measure to so-called “sanctuary cities,” have poured across our border and now infest many urban centers. And Trump’s figures on sexual assaults is confirmed by a 2017 report from Doctors Without Borders survey. Notably, CBS News estimates that “Between 60 percent and 80 percent of female migrants traveling through Mexico are raped along the way.”

This is the tragic reality of illegal immigration on our southern border. This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end.

My administration has presented Congress with a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers, and human traffickers. It’s a tremendous problem. Our proposal was developed by law-enforcement professionals and border agents at the Department of Homeland Security. These are the resources they have requested to properly perform their mission and keep America safe. In fact, safer than ever before.

The proposal from Homeland Security includes cutting-edge technology for detecting drugs, weapons, illegal contraband, and many other things. We have requested more agents, immigration judges, and bed space to process the sharp rise in unlawful migration fueled by our very strong economy. Our plan also contains an urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical support.

Furthermore, we have asked Congress to close border-security loopholes so that illegal-immigrant children can be safely and humanely returned back home.

The hard fact is, DC’s Democrat Party leaders don’t care about immigrant children — except when they can be used as “human pawns” and barriers against Trump’s agenda.

Finally, as part of an overall approach to border security, law-enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier. At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It’s also what our professionals at the border want and need. This is just common sense.

The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year — vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress. The wall will also be paid for, indirectly, by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.

Senator Chuck Schumer — who you will be hearing from later tonight — has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past, along with many other Democrats. They changed their mind only after I was elected president.

In fact, Schumer, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama all supported strong border enforcement until they turned their backs on blue-collar workers and decided the influx of illegal immigrants might be the Democrats’ best pipeline for future voters.

Democrats in Congress have refused to acknowledge the crisis. And they have refused to provide our brave border agents with the tools they desperately need to protect our families and our nation.

The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security. My administration is doing everything in our power to help those impacted by the situation. But the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and reopens the government.

The shutdown showdown has cast a long shadow into 2019, and may drag on. According to political analyst Brit Hume: “The Democrats … want to beat him on this [border debate] and leave him with nothing. That is where the impasse is … and I don’t see a way out of this anytime soon unless somebody decides it’s time to give ground. The president has tried to give some and it hasn’t gotten him anywhere, and he’s back to $5.7 billion. … I don’t see him giving ground.”

This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting. I have invited congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully, we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.

Some have suggested a barrier is immoral. Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences, and gates around their homes? They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside. The only thing that is immoral is the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized.

America’s heart broke the day after Christmas when a young police officer in California was savagely murdered in cold blood by an illegal alien, who just came across the border. The life of an American hero was stolen by someone who had no right to be in our country.

Officer Ronil Singh, who immigrated to the United States legally, should be more than a statistic in the long list of illegal-immigrant violence against American citizens. At the swearing in ceremony for new California Gov. Gavin Newsom Monday, an advocate for “sanctuary cities,” a protester interrupted that festivity yelling, “Corporal Ronil Singh’s blood is on your hands! Shame on you! Shame on you!”

Day after day, precious lives are cut short by those who have violated our borders. In California, an Air Force veteran was raped, murdered, and beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien with a long criminal history. In Georgia, an illegal alien was recently charged with murder for killing, beheading, and dismembering his neighbor. In Maryland, MS-13 gang members who arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors were arrested and charged last year after viciously stabbing and beating a 16-year-old girl.

Over the last several years, I’ve met with dozens of families whose loved ones were stolen by illegal immigration. I’ve held the hands of the weeping mothers and embraced the grief-stricken fathers. So sad. So terrible. I will never forget the pain in their eyes, the tremble in their voices, and the sadness gripping their souls.

How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?

To those who refuse to compromise in the name of border security, I would ask: Imagine if it was your child, your husband, or your wife whose life was so cruelly shattered and totally broken?

To every member of Congress: Pass a bill that ends this crisis.

To every citizen: Call Congress and tell them to finally, after all of these decades, secure our border.

This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice. This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve.

When I took the Oath of Office, I swore to protect our country. And that is what I will always do, so help me God.

Thank you and good night.

A couple points I would make in closing:

President Trump will fly to the border on Thursday to meet with those on the front lines of the national security and humanitarian crisis.

The Republican National Committee’s Chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel summarized the president’s remarks:

“Tonight, Americans saw their president fighting for a solution to fund our government while protecting American citizens, versus the approach of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, which is to resist, resist, resist at all costs. It wasn’t always this way. President Trump is simply asking Democrats to support border-security policies they all supported just a few short years ago. It’s time for Democrats to put down their swords and work with President Trump.

"When 2,000 people are crossing our border illegally every day, when you have a backlog of 800,000 asylum cases that are backlogged in our courts right now, we are being deluged, and we do not have the capacity to deal with this inundation of people coming across our border illegally. It has to be addressed. It’s getting worse and worse and worse. For decades we have seen politicians talk about this: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer.

"We just released a website, BorderFacts.com that goes through all the things that other politicians have said. The president is saying, ‘It’s time to put away politics as usual and solve problems that every American and every Democrat and Republican knows need to be solved.’”

Trump’s remarks are indicative of his revised strategy for border security. By including his border security barrier plan in a much broader humanitarian and security context, he will broaden his base of support.

Political analyst Mark Levin offered this observation: “Let’s keep this in mind when you watch Schumer and Pelosi. They are a pathological liars. They fooled Reagan, they fooled Bush (41), they fooled Bush (43). But they’re not going to fool Donald Trump.”

Our colleague Gary Bauer has provided a succinct assessment of Democrat obstruction of border security. And there are many “essential government employees” who are not on paid vacation right now, and who should not be forgotten in the midst of that Democrat obstruction.

It is time for Democrats to put American workers and veterans first.

Schumer and Pelosi — The Automaton Bobblehead Rebuttal

Looking like a couple of wax museum figures, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) regurgitated the Democrat rebuttal to Trump’s address. In their now-familiar rhetorical response, both impugned Trump’s motives for seeking a border wall with overwrought emotive language, including words like “malice,” “stoking fear,” “obsession,” “cruel,” and “temper tantrum.” Neither actually addressed the merits of Trump’s argument; rather they insisted that Trump was simply “manufacturing a crisis” in order to get his own way.

Naturally, Pelosi and Schumer ignored the facts of the not-so-distant past — that Democrats just as much as Republicans for the past 20 years have been ringing alarm bells over the crisis of illegal immigration. As Trump reminded the American people, Schumer and other Democrats have voted and called for a border wall. So who exactly is guilty of exploiting this long-running crisis?

Schumer called a wall “expensive and ineffective,” but how does that stack up to not building a barrier? Trump is asking for a mere $5 billion to build a wall to help deter illegal border crossing, while a 2017 study conservatively estimates the taxpayer burden of illegal immigration to be $155 billion annually. It’s disingenuous for Schumer to claim he’s concerned about the wall’s expense when he’s actually more concerned that a wall would be too effective in stemming illegal immigration.

Oh, and for the record, Congress already authorized redistributing $10.6 billion in taxpayer funds to Mexico for its own southern border security.

Furthermore, Pelosi and Schumer laughably demanded that Trump capitulate to their legislative efforts to end the shutdown and then negotiate over the wall. But what motive would they have to negotiate once they’ve received what they desire? The answer is obvious — Americans have seen Lucy pull the football away from Charlie Brown too many times in the past.

In closing, both Schumer and Pelosi insisted that Trump’s call for security at our border is a “manufactured a crisis.”

So let’s review what they consider a “manufactured crisis”: ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings. The need to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers, and human traffickers is imperative. Thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country, and thousands more lives will be lost. Last month, more than 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the United States, many being used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs. One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico. Women and children are the biggest victims of the lack of a secure border and broken immigration policies supported by Democrats. Illegal migration puts enormous strains on public resources and drives down jobs and wages, especially for black and Hispanic Americans. More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War — many of those drugs are “imported” from south of the border.

The facts regarding the humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border are bear out how ludicrous it is for Democrats to label this a “manufactured crisis.”

Even The Washington Post acknowledged there is a bona fide crisis: “After years of Trump’s dire warnings, a ‘crisis’ has hit the border but generates little urgency. … With parts of the federal government shut down over what has morphed into the defining symbol of Trump’s presidency, administration officials are clamoring louder than ever. Only this time, they face a bona fide emergency on the border, and they’re struggling to make the case there’s truly a problem. Record numbers of migrant families are streaming into the United States, overwhelming border agents.”

The primary reason it is difficult for Trump make his case is because the Democrat Party’s impressive Leftmedia propaganda machine has successfully obfuscated the truth regarding the humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border — which was a problem long before Trump was elected. And Schumer, Pelosi and their Leftmedia outlets will continue to undermine the Trump administration’s agenda with their “wrap-up smear tactics.”

Finally, a few Republicans weighed in on the Pelosi/Schumer rebuttal. Sen. Lindsey Graham declared, “I’m flabbergasted to hear from my Democratic colleagues who have voted for billions of dollars in border security money that this is ‘manufactured.’ Was it manufactured when Obama wanted the money? No. Why did you give the money to Obama and Bush if it was a manufactured crisis?” Graham has Senate border legislation ready to go, which will include the significant elements of past legislation supported by Democrats, including some concessions for Obama’s 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.

And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed his Democrat colleagues, “President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to addressing the humanitarian and security crisis at our nation’s southern border. His proposal to increase security through physical barriers suits the reality on the ground. It’s what career Border Patrol experts support and are asking for. And it simply builds on earlier legislation that Senate Democrats like then-Senator Obama, then-Senator Clinton, and Senator Schumer previously supported with enthusiasm. The past eighteen days have shown that Democrats’ refusal to negotiate is not due to any principled objection, but simply due to partisan spite for the president. For the men and women of the Border Patrol, for the safety of American families, and for all Americans who deserve a fully operational federal government, I sincerely hope my Democratic colleagues will come to the table and help deliver a solution.”

But he’s not holding his breath.

Democrats are prepared to plunge the nation into economic recession to maintain what is, in effect, an open border policy. The want to flood the nation with a legions of future Democrat voters, and don’t care about cost to their current constituencies.

Update: On Wednesday afternoon, President Trump 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!” In a further development, Trump has declared that all furloughed government workers will receive back pay.

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