On January 24, 2019, the U.S. Senate voted on two competing bills — one from each party — introduced to end the partial government shutdown.
While both bills roughly received the same number of votes, far short of the 60 votes required for the measure to pass, it is the Democrat bill that I would argue came dangerously close to passing. This is because the Senate Republicans are in the majority, so for the Democrat bill to get as many votes as the Republican bill indicates that Republicans are wavering on border security more so than the other side of the aisle.
This is distressing, for had the Democrat bill passed it would very likely have resulted in the end of hope for security at our borders.
As unfortunate as the shutdown is for the workers who are temporarily without pay, without it the Democrats would have no incentive to provide for any funds — not one dollar, as Speaker Pelosi says — for a border wall; and without such a physical barrier border security is impossible.
The Democrats’ argument, to the contrary, is transparently farcical. They claim that they are border security hawks; that the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning and the last thing they do before they go to sleep at night, is think about how they can best secure the border. But they argue that the best way to do so is with what they call a “Smart Wall” — drones, x-ray machines, cameras, and so forth — that would provide such great border security that a physical border wall would be a waste of money (and far be it for Congressmen to waste money).
As Representative Hakeem Jeffries — along with many other Democrats who were apparently told to recite from the same script — recently said, “What Donald Trump and the Republicans want to do is waste $5 billion in taxpayer money on an ineffective, medieval border wall that is a 5th-century solution to a 21st-century problem.”
It seems reasonable to include these high tech measures as part of a border security package, since such tech would allow us to x-ray trucks going through legal points of entry, thereby slowing the flow of drugs into our communities. But this does not explain why Democrats demand that we fund a technological Smart Wall instead of — rather than along with — a physical wall.
The reason isn’t financial. Even if the final cost of a physical wall was, say, $100 billion dollars, after all the various expenses such as buying private property from landowners and so on, are factored in, this cost pales in comparison to what illegal immigration costs us.
According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR):
“At the federal, state, and local levels, taxpayers shell out approximately $134.9 billion to cover the costs incurred by the presence of more than 12.5 million illegal aliens, and about 4.2 million citizen children of illegal aliens. That amounts to a tax burden of approximately $8,075 per illegal alien family member and a total of $115,894,597,664. The total cost of illegal immigration to U.S. taxpayers is both staggering and crippling. In 2013, FAIR estimated the total cost to be approximately $113 billion. So, in under four years, the cost has risen nearly $3 billion. This is a disturbing and unsustainable trend.”
So, as much as one may be appreciative of the Democrats sudden desire to squeeze every taxpayer penny until George Washington turns blue in the face, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that if the physical wall were to only partially reduce the cost of illegal immigration it would pay for itself very shortly.
The reason the Democrats have taken this position is simple: the Democrats demand a Smart Wall rather than a physical wall, or a Smart Wall and a physical wall, because a Smart Wall would not impede the flow of illegals across our southern border.
As columnist Byron York points out:
“. . . the problem is, a smart wall would not actually wall off intrusions. Indeed, the main feature of a smart wall — in past debates, it was often referred to as a virtual fence — is that it will not stop anyone from crossing the border into the United States. It can detect illegal crossers and alert authorities to their presence. But it does nothing to keep them from entering the country. ‘
Republicans should quickly abandon the vain hope that there is some sort of compromise to be made with the Democrats. The open borders credo has become an intricate part of their platform; as essential to their DNA as abortion, climate alarmism, or the government takeover of our healthcare system.
This is evident by how Democrats at the state and local levels are responding to illegal immigration.
New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, for example, has recently demanded that the citizens of his state, already one of the highest taxed states in the nation, as well as a state that pays more than $5 billion a year on expenses related to its high number of Illegal alien residents, now pay for financial aid and scholarships for illegals who wish to go to college.
The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, wants New Yorkers to provide free healthcare for illegals.
New York’s most famous congresswoman, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, has become a leading voice in the Democrat for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) to be abolished.
Phil Murphy, governor of another overtaxed state overflowing with illegals, wants millions set aside to fight illegal immigrant deportations.
On the other coast, Oakland mayor, Libby Schaaf, made headlines recently by warning illegals of ICE raids.
There are approximately 500 sanctuary cities in the U.S., all of which are likely to be governed by Democrats, and at least one state, California, has officially declared itself to be a sanctuary state.
The examples that could be provided to illustrate their philosophy are numerous, but here is the bottom line: those who invite illegals into their communities with promises of free education, free healthcare, and freedom from deportation are not going to support the sort of border security necessary to prevent illegals into the country.
Democrats are, therefore, not likely to be steered away from their support for open borders with bargaining or concessions. President Trump has announced a three-week deal (until February 15th) to reopen the government while a border wall deal is being negotiated. At best, this will be a mere stutter step until President Trump declares a national emergency to essentially see if the courts will allow him to build the wall without Congressional approval. It will not be a pathway to a border wall. It does not matter how long the government stayed shut or how long President Trump negotiates with them, today’s Democrat Party will not bend on open borders. It is part of their DNA now.
Only one year ago, for example, Minority Leader Schumer was offered a sweetheart deal that would have given full legal status to millions of DACA dreamers (illegals who were brought to the U.S. as children). One would think Senator Schumer would have agreed to that deal as quickly as I would agree to a date with Halle Berry, given how long and often they promise to protect the DACA dreamers. Yet the most Senator Schumer would concede in return to secure immediate guaranteed amnesty of millions of illegals was a promise that he would talk about border wall funding at some later, unspecified, date.
If President Trump had agreed to this deal, the promised discussion about border wall funding would have gone as follows, “Thanks for helping so many get permanent legal residence here. So now let’s talk about your request for border wall funding. Our answer is ‘no.’ Not one dollar. Nice chat.”
As mentioned, it is worrisome that some Republicans do not seem to fully understand the Democrat position on immigration. Yet some — including the six Senate Republicans who voted for the Democrat funding bill — evidently do not.
If they did, and do not share the Democrats’ open border philosophy, then they would be as unwavering in their support of the president as the Democrats are in opposition to him.