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Are Republicans Picking the Right Immigration Fight?

It hasn’t yet lasted “months or even years [1],” but the country is now experiencing the longest continuous partial shutdown of the federal government on record. President Donald Trump wants Democrats—the majority party in the House and a big enough minority to filibuster successfully in the Senate—to fund his proposed border wall. So far, they are not budging.

Trump famously said on camera in a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he was “proud” to assume the “mantle” of a shutdown that had resulted from Democratic border intransigence. That, combined with the fact that Republicans could conceivably have had this fight [2] when they controlled both houses [3], is why polls show the public blaming the GOP [4] for the current impasse. But Democrats could also easily reopen the government by agreeing to fund a couple billion dollars’ worth of fencing and other border security measures they already support [5] and letting Trump call it another “down payment [6]” on the wall.

Which raises the question of what brought us to this point. Immigration is among the core issues that powered Trump’s presidential campaign. Unlike his predecessors in both parties, he has given genuine restrictionists a place at the table [7] when Congress has discussed policy changes. Yet the biggest immigration-related fight of the Trump administration has been over the kind of border barriers Democrats until recently backed as a selling point for “comprehensive immigration reform.” That means amnesty plus increased legal immigration alongside more money for Border Patrol agents, fences, virtual wall technology, and other security measures.

Deterring illegal border crossings has taken on new importance, as the unauthorized entries have gone from being predominantly adult males, who could be sent home relatively quickly, to mostly families and unaccompanied children. Many in the latter group must go through a lengthy asylum application process. In 2017, only 20 percent of these claims [8] were granted. Physical barriers preventing crossings, along with more judges to speed up asylum adjudication, could help.

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Still, under Trump, border security has gone from a sideshow to the main event. The Republicans most closely aligned with Trump on immigration never bought into amnesty in exchange for border barriers. And Democrats lost some of their interest in border security once amnesty was no longer in play.

Even if there is partisan hypocrisy all around, Democrats have kept their eyes on the ball concerning immigration. They have gradually moved left on the issue. They increasingly regard enforcement as something to be done to those also guilty of other serious crimes, like catching Al Capone on tax charges. They would like a more lenient attitude toward the undocumented in general, and higher levels of immigration overall.

Republicans know they want immigration to be legal, but are divided on other important questions. How many immigrants should the United States admit annually? What kind of skills should they possess? How important is their economic mobility and cultural integration?

If you believe that admitting fewer immigrants with higher skills will promote assimilation and lead to more successful immigration, you probably voted for Trump. But Republicans as a whole are not sure, beyond the usual rule-of-law arguments against illegal immigration. Trump himself has been inconsistent here. Even the public safety concerns (crime, terrorism) that the president emphasizes are really more a product of non-assimilation than infiltration due to lax border security.

change_me

Many believe the Trump administration erred by not trading Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a targeted amnesty for young illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors, for the wall. Politically, that may be true. Substantively, there was a case for pairing DACA—which would have covered 1 million or so people—with offsetting immigration cuts elsewhere and disincentives for parents to bring their children illegally in anticipation of a future DACA.

The White House may have overreached by asking for immigration reductions for which Washington, and perhaps the country, was not prepared. They nevertheless made the first semi-serious attempt to exchange a meaningfully limited amnesty not just for border security money but also real concessions to those who want more moderate levels of immigration.

Now Trump is risking it all over the wall. It has become a symbol of both his presidency and the cause of immigration control, though even if built its contributions to both would be limited. That’s why Democrats hate it. It’s why the wall has taken on outsized importance with the portion of Trump’s base that expected him to be a different kind of Republican [9].

Until non-Trump voters share that sense of urgency, Democrats have every incentive to ensure that Trump’s most visible campaign promise goes unfulfilled—and immigration remains unreformed.

W. James Antle III is editor of The American Conservative.

49 Comments (Open | Close)

49 Comments To "Are Republicans Picking the Right Immigration Fight?"

#1 Comment By Youknowho On January 15, 2019 @ 10:13 pm

Here is the four step illegal inmigration dance

1) There is aggresive enforcement of inmigration with a lot of deportations.
2) There are stories in the papers about “Produce rotting in the fields”
3) Growers get on the phone to complain to their congresscritters – and by the way, most growers vote Republican
4) Aggresive enforcement aborts.

#2 Comment By Sheila On January 15, 2019 @ 10:25 pm

“If you believe that admitting fewer immigrants with higher skills will promote assimilation and lead to more successful immigration, you probably voted for Trump”

I support that position but I didn’t vote for Trump. I did some research into all of the lawsuits pending against him, and realized most of them were former employees or contractors alleging that he didn’t pay them per their contracts. I decided that someone who habitually breaches contracts to avoid paying his employees cannot be trusted to fulfill his campaign promises. So I didn’t vote for him and I haven’t been remotely surprised by the character (or lack thereof) he’s displayed in the White House.

I still don’t understand why so many people took Trump at face value.

#3 Comment By Ace of Spades On January 16, 2019 @ 2:06 am

What I find is that no matter what expedient is chosen to try to stem immigration, it “won’t work”, it’s “a discredited idea”, “America doesn’t do things like that”, “there is no ‘crisis’ anyway”, etc, etc, etc.

The goal is obviously to prevent anything from being done until it’s too late.

There are already over 20 million illegals alone. Even more immigrants have come in “legally”. It must be stopped.

#4 Comment By WorkingClass On January 16, 2019 @ 6:05 am

Trump wants immigration reform. That’s a job for the congress where D’s and R’s both want cheap labor lobby money. What Trump wants and what “Republicans” want are often two very different things.

All Trump can do is enforce existing laws. And liberal judges will not allow even that.

#5 Comment By Kent On January 16, 2019 @ 6:51 am

Many non-Trump voters have a sense of urgency over immigration, they just don’t think a wall will make a difference. Trump just needs to add comprehensive use of E-Verify and increased enforcement and penalties on employers who hire illegals and you’ll have a winner.

#6 Comment By Jhawk On January 16, 2019 @ 9:52 am

The real barrier to immigration reform including boarder security, like the shutdown, is Trump’s inability to stick to a deal. Sheila has it right: A man who thinks ‘winning’ includes breaking his word when it suits him can’t be trusted to negotiate in good faith. I don’t blame Democrats for holding firm when they know any concessions will just move the goalposts and won’t be reciprocated. That won’t change until either Trump is gone or both parties in Congress stand up to him. I’m not holding my breath.

#7 Comment By Disgusted On January 16, 2019 @ 10:51 am

The only reason to decrease legal immigration is to preserve a white majority. The only reason to emphasize “skills” (read: European) and “economic mobility and cultural integration” (read: white looking) legal immigrants is to preserve a white majority. The only reason to emphasize “integration” (read: western countries) is so you don’t have to lose your white majority. You conservatives are sick, wanting to CONSERVE something as stupid as skin color.

You false prophets claim your actual concern is a way to reduce welfare/save money/decrease public expenditure, but you just brought the national debt to its highest level in history – all under trilateral Republican leadership. Therefore, you are lying. You only want to preserve a white majority at the expense of anyone else. Disgusting.

#8 Comment By Collin On January 16, 2019 @ 11:04 am

When all else fails, sometimes I think of what contradictions the Average American has on issue:

1) Most Americans want increased border control but do not question why their contractor hired help only speaks Spanish.
2) The Wall is ineffective and want more E-Verify but also they want to avoid large government fines on employers of illegal immigrants.
3) They are comfortable with DACA protection and future citizenship but don’t want increased family immigration.

4) Even as open border side, it really does seem the need to process these family immigrants faster. Unlike past illegal immigration (1950 – 2000), we are not seeing as many continuous border crossings of seasonal workers in which the goal was to work 3 – 6 months and then return back to Mexico. Today, we increasingly seeing more families wanting long term immigration.

#9 Comment By TheScientist880 On January 16, 2019 @ 11:35 am

These arguments aren’t being conducted honestly. We are having all these discussions about something completely unrelated to the true heart of the matter. I will give you the honest take right here from the other side.

There is no point in providing charts and grafts about the efficacy of the wall. If a wall works or not is totally besides the point and isn’t going to convince a single democrat to support Trump or his boarder wall.

At the heart of the matter, Trump is a racist and the boarder wall functions as a reverse Statue of Liberty, a monument to racism no different than confederate statues at this point. This is why Pelosi refered to the wall as a moral issue.

Trump won a minority of the vote in his run for the presidency which is totally a legit strategy for winning the presidency. The problem with it is that you have no power over members of the house of reps who are much more sensitive to the will of actual majorities than the presidency is. Democrats feel ZERO pressure from
their constituencies to cave to Trump, in fact anyone giving in will be primaries next time around.

Republicans got smashed in the midterms losing the house popular vote by 8.5 points. Democrats weren’t elected to help Trump to pass his agenda but to block it.

The wall is a central plank of the Trump administration. Blocking the wall is a great way to depress deplorable turnout during the next election and cripple Trump’s presidency for the rest of this term. The vast majority of the population rightly blames Trump for the shutdown so there’s no pressure at all on democrats.

Lastly, we want to see his presidency fail. I feel absolutely no qualms in stating that. My life as a black man will be enhanced by a failed GOP presidency. Elections have consequences. I’m totally content with throwing sand in the gears of the Trump admin I’m not expecting anything positive out of this admin. Don’t waste your time trying to shame me or anything because that would require me to care what reactionary right wingers think about me.

The GOP will get the same cooperation they gave Obama during his presidency.

#10 Comment By EliteCommInc. On January 16, 2019 @ 12:11 pm

Let’s see. I will have:

the moratorium

The overhaul and restrictions on VISA’s Hb1 and the like

A thorough house cleaning of of private and public sector employ to ensure that all employees, to include private contractors are here legally — with preferences to US citizens

an overhaul of the US citizenship process

Hmmmmm and let me see, oh, certainly reinforced border, and a wall . . .

i beg your pardon, oh, of course a wall north and south built by US citizens.

#11 Comment By EliteCommInc. On January 16, 2019 @ 12:13 pm

For desert . . .

gps tagged passports and visa cards.

None of the “emotional” toppings.

#12 Comment By Tim On January 16, 2019 @ 12:35 pm

Legal immigration needs to be ended unless it’s on merit and the other issues of birthright citizenship and e-verify are arguably more important than a wall.

#13 Comment By Connecticut Farmer On January 16, 2019 @ 12:43 pm

This whole controversy begs two very obvious question:

(1)What are these people fleeing from in the first place?

(2)What can be done to ameliorate the conditions which led to (1) and thus reduce the incentive to emigrate in the first place?

We know the answer to (1)–no need to rehash the obvious–so the question becomes whether there is an answer to (2)? And the answer—is “nothing.” Which means we are left with having to treat symptoms because we are either unwilling or, more likely, unable, to attack the disease itself.

If you believe that events have a dynamic of their own, then what we are seeing may be beyond our control.

There will be no end to this, the “wall” notwithstanding.

#14 Comment By mrscracker On January 16, 2019 @ 12:47 pm

Kent says:
“Many non-Trump voters have a sense of urgency over immigration, they just don’t think a wall will make a difference.”
***************

I guess I’m peculiar but I voted for Trump based more on other issues.
We do need enhanced border security & barriers are appropriate in certain locations but it’s going to be an ecological disaster to try & extend that “wall” across the entire US/Mexican border. Even if it was physically possible to do so.

#15 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On January 16, 2019 @ 1:52 pm

“Now Trump is risking it all over the wall.”

As well he should. The Wall is necessary. But what can Trump do if the shutout drags on and on? What he can do is torture the Democrats by loudly and firmly calling on Congress–especially the Democrats–to reinstate Glass-Steagall, and once again separate commercial and investment banking.

This will force the Democrats to actually negotiate in sincerity with the White House, or risk being submerged by left-populism in future elections–especially if another financial crisis occurs before then. Independents will see that Trump is doing the unquestionably right thing, since who, except the big banks, opposes the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall?

In military parlance, it’s called “the strategy of indirection.” It will force weak-kneed Republicans in Congress to pipe down about any mere government shutdown if they are unwilling to stand up to the far more momentous soul-sapping of Wall Street’s commingling of commercial and investment banking.

#16 Comment By JeffK On January 16, 2019 @ 4:11 pm

@TheScientist880 says:
January 16, 2019 at 11:35 am

“The GOP will get the same cooperation they gave Obama during his presidency.”

I understand your point completely, and agree 100%.

I politely request everybody watch at least 5 minutes of the linked video. It contains highlights of commentary from Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the Fox News crew. Anybody that can get through 5 minutes of this without understanding why Faux News, and Republicans in general, are viewed so poorly by so many has my sincere condolences.

#17 Comment By Kent On January 16, 2019 @ 4:22 pm

mrscracker said:

“I guess I’m peculiar but I voted for Trump based more on other issues. We do need enhanced border security & barriers are appropriate in certain locations but it’s going to be an ecological disaster to try & extend that “wall” across the entire US/Mexican border. Even if it was physically possible to do so.”

+100

I happen to agree with a lot of the President’s (note I use the term respectfully) positions in general. Especially on immigration, trade, war, and infrastructure spending. Unfortunately I think he is just way off on his solutions. I don’t believe he is malevolent in his intentions. But I don’t think he has been wise enough to surround himself with thoughtful supporters.

I voted 3rd party just to send a message to both parties that they need to shape up. Not that they’re listening.

#18 Comment By Lee Green On January 16, 2019 @ 4:53 pm

The GOP is deeply divided on immigration. Their voter base is virulently anti-immigrant, but their donor base favors immigration. Part of that donor base depends on and profits from hiring illegal immigrants. If we really wanted to curtail illegal immigration, we’d crack down on those who hire them, but that won’t happen.

The wall is a brilliant solution, from the point of Republican political strategy. It’s a powerful emotional symbol, big juicy red meat for their voter base. However, because it will have little actual effect on the supply of illegals to hire, it won’t offend their donor base. In fact it’ll help them, because it’ll divert political attention away from measures that would actually curtail illegal immigration.

So yes, the Republicans are picking the right immigration fight from the perspective of their political strategy. That strategy is based on stoking up white nationalist fear and resentment, while actually pursuing the interests of corporations and 1-percenters. Those two facets are often in tension, but the wall is a win-win.

#19 Comment By JeffK On January 16, 2019 @ 5:32 pm

@Ken Zaretzke says:
January 16, 2019 at 1:52 pm

“What he can do is torture the Democrats by loudly and firmly calling on Congress–especially the Democrats–to reinstate Glass-Steagall, and once again separate commercial and investment banking.

This will force the Democrats to actually negotiate in sincerity with the White House…”

Actually, Ken, The Democrats would love for Glass Steagall to be made law again.

“Don’t throw me in that briar patch, Brer Fox…”

Song of the South.
[10]

[11]

#20 Comment By Dakarian On January 16, 2019 @ 5:41 pm

Ken Zaretzke said:
What he can do is torture the Democrats by loudly and firmly calling on Congress–especially the Democrats–to reinstate Glass-Steagall, and once again separate commercial and investment banking.
——–

I’d be all over that and would be along the left pushing Dems to get the wall up and get back something as big as that.

That ship has sailed.

The problem is that Dems went to Trump to look for a compromise earlier in the presidency. They went away with an agreement that they thought Trump was happy with. A few days later, Trump it’s throwing away the deal and back to demanding the farm. We also saw him do the same with Republicans, screaming at them to support that ACA repeal in the house, then the second they did going to the Senate to bash the deal as horrible and mean.

I can see Democrats supporting such a deal, if only by force. I can see Republicans supporting it though I’ve never seen it since at least the Bush era.

I trust nothing from Trump that isn’t in writing.

I wouldn’t trust him on the wall either. He wants it because that’s the line that got him his primary and it’s as popular as “you’re fired” to his fans. The second he can get more publicity elsewhere he’ll ditch that wall, just like he did the first two years of his presidency.

Not saying compromise is impossible. But this is where we are right now and we have a long way to go to get there.

Sidenote, I’d support a focus on attacking illegal immigration via employment. We’ve seen that the less cheese that is on the floor the less mice come to eat. No need to compromise on that.

But this wall is stupid and chances are this is the only big thing that will be done if it goes in. But if you really want it just for moral points, honey works better than vinegar.

#21 Comment By Kafkaesque On January 16, 2019 @ 6:31 pm

Republicans who are so wont to mock government waste, ineptitude, and inefficiency suddenly believe that a 5bn steel wall will be purchased without any of the above ills?

Look, you can manage people far more efficiently if you set your mind and disrupting code to it. Look at how China manages the Uighurs with the Shenzhen Valley tech Bros.

What Trump’s bluster is set to prove isnt a need for inmigration reform. No one really belives that the wall will be built. It’s so beautiful because it will always be the perfect fantasy. What Trump’s wall proves is that the GOP doesn’t have the fortitude to believe in real policies, that they can’t confront real inmigration control outside of letting Silicon Valley engineer their own elixir.

It also will prove that Trump is more than happy to hold 800,000 Americans financially hostage as long as they work for the government. Is that ethical? It surely is if you believe they are swamp people.

#22 Comment By EliteCommInc. On January 16, 2019 @ 8:52 pm

“Legal immigration needs to be ended unless it’s on merit and the other issues of birthright citizenship and e-verify are arguably more important than a wall.”

I thought I had these already, but they sound great. i will have those with the wall as well.

Yummy.

#23 Comment By Erik Kengaard On January 16, 2019 @ 9:14 pm

By the late 1960s cheap and available land began to become scarce. [12]

Today, about 75 million, or one-quarter of the U.S. population, consists of immigrants or the children of immigrants (Pew Research Center, 2015).

Nothing has done more to diminish the quality of life for the United States middle class through higher housing (land) costs, greater competition for jobs, lower wages, higher taxes to pay for greater poverty, mortgage fraud, medicare fraud, tax fraud, other crime, higher taxes to pay for indigent healthcare (hospital closings), higher taxes for cost of public schools, price of college, degradation of the military, depletion of resources, burden on the taxpayer and overall congestion than the INCREASE of and change in the nature (more poor, more criminals, e pluribus multum) of the POPULATION since 1965, driven almost entirely by late 20th century and more recent entry of migrants (immigrants, illegals, h1b visa holders, visa overstays, refugees, etc) their families and descendants.

Why do we need more people?

#24 Comment By Paul Emmons On January 17, 2019 @ 12:04 am

Connecticut Farmer writes:

>We know the answer to (1)–no need to rehash the obvious–

I don’t know for certain what answer you have in mind, but let me guess: a living hell of corruption and violence due to drug cartels.

>so the question becomes whether there is an answer to (2)? And the answer—is “nothing.”

I wouldn’t be quite so pessimistic. Maybe people in the 1920s wrung their hands awhile over the
equivalent of (1) building up in our own country,
but eventually prohibition was repealed. And
guess what? Alcohol abuse isn’t nearly the
problem today that it was before and even during
that period.

But we forgot the lesson and embarked on a “war on
drugs” which has failed just as badly of its objective but produced the same ill effects, this time on a more international scale. Americans
have a lot to answer for in third-world conditions
due to this program alone.

Repealing the war on drugs wouldn’t require a constitutional amendment, so it ought to be easier. But one wonders whether its best friends
are now the drug lords themselves, whom it so
enriches.

#25 Comment By M. Orban On January 17, 2019 @ 12:37 am

@Scientist880
I understand how you feel. Let them eat the wall

#26 Comment By M. Orban On January 17, 2019 @ 12:40 am

@Erik Kengaard
I just drove across the US, coast to coast. We have nothing but space.
So I call BS on your rant.

#27 Comment By M. Orban On January 17, 2019 @ 12:49 am

@MrsCracker,
I think immigration – and so many issues like that – is just something that stirs up emotions and serves as a tool for one group to dominate the other. I watched Ann Coulter to talk the other day, it is clear as day.

#28 Comment By Tim On January 17, 2019 @ 1:29 am

Hypocrisy on immigration starts with those brown guys cutting your front yard for less than you’d pay the neighbor kid, if he weren’t too busy playing online games. It also leaks upward, to advocates across the political spectrum who want highly skilled – and relatively cheap – foreign labor to displace Americans while they play ‘Budget Hawk’ with state education funding. The same cohort are happy to welcome foreign ‘business owners’ to the US via the short-cut to the front of the immigration line they are granted for investing $500k + to establish businesses here, because the suitcases of cash they use to pay for houses here strengthen the real estate market. That they are bringing in $ made on the backs of sweatshop labor back where they started from is of no interest or importance, nor is the fact that most Americans are priced-out of places they used to inhabit affordably, such as suburban California, NYC, Boston, etc. We need to restrict all immigration to a pure lottery system while making it possible for low-wage fruit pickers to come and help keep food costs low after ag subsidies are done away with by the upright advocates of wise money management in our political circles finally do what needs to be done.

#29 Comment By No Entry On January 17, 2019 @ 1:58 am

“Why do we need more people?”

We don’t. And we definitely don’t need more foreigners. The government must fix it. 23 million illegals comes down to a simple fact: massive, repeated government failure.

Take the trillions we’re currently blowing on pointless Middle East wars and the tens of billions on foreign aid and put it into border security for America.

Get it done.

And yes, by all means throw employers and other enablers (including these phony “sanctuary” predators) in prison.

#30 Comment By mrscracker On January 17, 2019 @ 6:45 am

Erik Kengaard,
Unless you are an American Indian, we are all immigrants or children of immigrants. Every one of us.

#31 Comment By mrscracker On January 17, 2019 @ 11:10 am

M. Orban says:

“I just drove across the US, coast to coast. We have nothing but space.”

******************
We do have a lot of that, though I wish we’d pay more attention to conserving prime farmland.

I understand that we need to have commonsense immigration laws but immigration’s such a valuable way of stirring up political interest(and usually the wrong kind) that we’re unlikely to make real immigration reforms any time soon.

#32 Comment By Sid Finster On January 17, 2019 @ 11:19 am

This is a no-lose issue for Team D. Or at least an issue that they can only lose if they cave.

Start here – Very few people outside Trump’s base want The Wall. At least they don’t want it so badly that they are willing to shut the government down to get it.

So the shutdown isn’t going to gain Trump many new voters, or people who would not already have voted for Trump. But it will cost him some voters, not to mention turn off the few remaining people who are on the fence about Trump. Those who already don’t like Trump will be even more motivated to vote against him.

At the same time, if Trump and not Team D caves, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter will be the least of Trump’s worries. He will be publicly humiliated, his promises shown to be shams, his negotiation skills a joke, and the target on his back will grow ever larger along with his impotence.

#33 Comment By Sid Finster On January 17, 2019 @ 11:21 am

@Disgusted: “The only reason to emphasize “skills” (read: European) and “economic mobility and cultural integration” (read: white looking) legal immigrants is to preserve a white majority.”

What utter nonsense. Are all those Asian H1-B skilled workers white now? When did this happen?

#34 Comment By Kurt Gayle On January 17, 2019 @ 11:22 am

Connecticut Farmer says (Jan 16, 12:43 pm): “(1) What are these people fleeing from in the first place? (2) What can be done to ameliorate the conditions which led to (1) and thus reduce the incentive to emigrate in the first place?”

You ask absolutely essential questions, Connecticut Farmer – questions that demand answers – because much of the solution to the problem lies in those countries from which millions are motivated to migrate.

Angela Nagle begins an answer to your questions by describing how the process of globalization has destroyed local farming economies south of the border (Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador) – thus pressuring millions of people to try to emigrate to the US. Ms. Nagle:

“…Globalization often creates a vicious cycle: liberalized trade policies destroy a region’s economy, which in turn leads to mass emigration from that area, further eroding the potential of the origin country while depressing wages for the lowest paid workers in the destination country. One of the major causes of labor migration from Mexico to the United States has been the economic and social devastation caused by the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). Nafta forced Mexican farmers to compete with U.S. agriculture, with disastrous consequences for Mexico. Mexican imports doubled, and Mexico lost thousands of pig farms and corn growers to U.S. competition…By 2002, Mexican wages had dropped by 22 percent, even though worker productivity increased by 45 percent. In regions like Oaxaca, emigration devastated local economies and communities, as men emigrated to work in America’s farm labor force and slaughterhouses, leaving behind women, children, and the elderly.”

[13]

Steve Bannon at the Oxford Union (Nov 16, 2018) argues in favor of re-directing some of the billions of dollars that the US has been wasting on wars in the Middle East: “…60 billion dollars—and we should spend that money in Central America in the northern triangle countries and in Mexico…”:

(18:20): “…The implosion of those societies people make a logical decision: ‘I’ve got to get out of here. And where I’m going to go is north.’ That has to be solved. Nobody argues about this biblical tragedy of the migrant crisis. I was the one–go back and read the books, read the reports—I sat there in the National Security Council and said we’ve got to draw down in Afghanistan…What I said at the time: It’s not going to be 30 billion dollars, it’s going to be 60 billion dollars—and we should spend that money in Central America in the northern triangle countries and in Mexico, because we don’t need to go to central Asia to see failed states, because we’ve got them on our borders…[The problem] has to be solved in those countries [Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador]. It has to be solved by engagement.”

#35 Comment By Jay On January 17, 2019 @ 1:45 pm

“Unless you are an American Indian, we are all immigrants or children of immigrants. Every one of us”.

Save your commie logic. American Indians came from Asia, which we were also pushed from by Turks and Arabs into Western Europe: an area that is also under onslaught by mass immigration.

In the absence of any refuge, your specious argument does not provide justification to relinquish all of our lands to the rest of the world and become integrated with them or otherwise stateless.

In short: your logic is mere words. It is utterly meaningless against our survival.

#36 Comment By Jay On January 17, 2019 @ 1:54 pm

“I just drove across the US, coast to coast. We have nothing but space.
So I call BS on your rant”.

Not habitable space. Half of the nation is a desert and largely incapable of supporting any significant population in terms of water and infrastructure, let alone economy. Look at a google satellite map and kindly get educated on the ecosystems of this nation. The parts that aren’t desert are a combination of over-crowded and economically without need for more competitors. You are the one producing the excrement here.

#37 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On January 17, 2019 @ 2:17 pm

“Actually, Ken, The Democrats would love for Glass Steagall to be made law again.”

Their base definitely wants it, but maybe not their big donors–Democrats have loved neoliberal economics since Bill Clinton. But even if they all want it, the fact is (as Nancy Pelosi might say) that when Obama was president, the Democrats did nothing despite having congressional majorities. As Trump would not hesitate to remind everyone. The real point, though, is that Trump can use Glass-Steagall to change the politics of the shutdown.

On the one hand, Trump absolutely must have the wall. Trump’s base wants the wall, he repeatedly promised a wall during his campaign, and the base will be extraordinarily displeased if no wall is forthcoming. Given these realities, what can Trump do to tighten the screws on the Democrats?

That’s where Glass-Steagall comes in. The shutdown impasse narratively conflicts with any Trump-Democrat alliance, much less one as welcome to sensible citizens as breaking up commercial and investment banking . Such an alliance will cause Americans to wonder why Democrats are so strongly opposed to a mere $5.7 billion for a southern border wall that they refuse to engage in the politics of compromise.

Not only will a bill to reinstate Glass-Steagall make Americans wonder about the Democrats’ immigration intransigence, but it will also remove any pressure on Trump to offer, or accept, a DACA-for-wall deal, since the grand compromise will be in the Glass-Steagall bill itself, and in Trump’s promise to sign it.

Trump can change the whole political narrative–and pressure Democrats to end the shutdown–by pushing Glass-Steagall in exchange for Democrats agreeing to fund the wall.

#38 Comment By mrscracker On January 17, 2019 @ 4:40 pm

Jay says:
“American Indians came from Asia, which we were also pushed from by Turks and Arabs into Western Europe: an area that is also under onslaught by mass immigration.”
************
It’s very true that populations have moved about historically & prehistorically, but generally when we think of immigrants to North America we think of the last 400 years, not the pre-Columbian era. But good point. We all got here from somewhere else.

#39 Comment By mrscracker On January 17, 2019 @ 4:46 pm

Jay says:
” Half of the nation is a desert and largely incapable of supporting any significant population in terms of water and infrastructure, let alone economy.”
***************

That would seem commonsense but it doesn’t seem to have affected development in So CA or the Southwest much. They manage to divert water there as communities grow.

#40 Comment By JeffK On January 17, 2019 @ 6:29 pm

@Jay says:
January 17, 2019 at 1:54 pm

““I just drove across the US, coast to coast. We have nothing but space.
So I call BS on your rant”.

Not habitable space. Half of the nation is a desert and largely incapable of supporting any significant population in terms of water and infrastructure, let alone economy. Look at a google satellite map and kindly get educated on the ecosystems of this nation. The parts that aren’t desert are a combination of over-crowded and economically without need for more competitors. You are the one producing the excrement here.””

This immigration discussion is a political discussion, not a geographical discussion. People are packed into those states because they want to live there.

Unfortunately (by constitutional design – a feature, not a bug), all that desolate space, and the relatively few people that live their, are represented with the same number of senators (but not equally from a per-capita perspective) in the Senate, as the most densely populated states. That gives those ‘Red’ (typically) states disproportionate political power.

Unfortunately, I think the only real remedy for a lot of our political problems is, for The Democrats, to absolutely crush those states financially once the Democrats have the political power to do so. And I do not say that lightly, since the residents of those states are Americans.

I don’t know how this would be done. It might be a long process and ugly process.

When The Democrats have the political power maybe they should close every federal facility possible in those states so that the employees have to liquidate their houses at rock bottom prices and move to places they hate.

Maybe strip every subsidy possible from the federal budget that dis-proportionally benefits those states so that the residents must move.

Maybe stop federal investments in infrastructure (roads, airports, etc) in those states.

Maybe zero out farm subsidies in those state.

This is bare knuckled, raw political power exercised as punishment. Maybe that’s what it takes to break the current political logjam.

Maybe such a threat, perceived as real, would force Red states to be more receptive to Blue state political desires.

As the article linked clearly shows, ‘Red’ states are, in general, significantly more dependent on federal largess than ‘Blue’ states.

Top 10 states dependent on federal dollars: New Mexico, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, S. Carolina, Arizona, Alaska, Montana, Louisiana.

[14]

#41 Comment By Thaomas On January 17, 2019 @ 7:21 pm

Enforcement of immigration laws need to be sensibly enforced. This means controlling and the rate of illegal border crossings according to the cost of enforcement and the harm that recent immigrants can occasion until they are fully assimilated. It is easy to get this wrong if we overestimate the harm. Of course overtime we need to change the focus from keeping out harmful immigrants toward attracting the worlds best and brightest.

#42 Comment By Anne Mendoza On January 17, 2019 @ 7:54 pm

I support admitting fewer foreign nationals with higher skills into the U.S., and I did not and do not support Trump. The Wall is an empty gesture because most illegal immigration into the U.S. occurs elsewhere. Until Trump and the Republicans enforce e-verify against U.S. employers, neither is serious about solving illegal immigration. Until then, it’s just noise and theatrical gestures.

#43 Comment By Lee Green On January 17, 2019 @ 9:59 pm

““Unless you are an American Indian, we are all immigrants or children of immigrants. Every one of us”.”

“Save your commie logic. American Indians came from Asia…”

“Commie logic.” Wow. Now there is proof, as if we still needed it, that humans are capable of rationalizing and excusing virtually anything in defense of their worldview. That one belongs in a social psychology textbook.

The last time I heard reasoning that tortured, it was a sweet little old lady and total bigot in Atlanta, explaining that we were entitled to take over North America because the Indians had had it for thousands of years and hadn’t done anything with it.

Jay, when the people who would become the American Indians came across the Bering Strait land bridge and spread across the Americas, they weren’t immigrants. There were no people already here. When Europeans came here, there were people here already. They had governments, social structures, societies. The Europeans were immigrants. Do you see the difference? Of course not, because you don’t want to.

The Trump cult’s views on immigration can be summed up neatly in one of the most poignant videos I’ve ever seen on YouTube. A group of armed (open carry) Trumpkins are screaming at a New Mexico state legislator, demanding his “papers,” demanding to know if he’s in the US legally.

He’s Navaho.

#44 Comment By M. Orban On January 17, 2019 @ 10:51 pm

@Jay,
Are you accusing MrsCracker of commie logic?
… well, my bruder, I can vouch for her, she has no love for the communist manifesto, trust me on that one.

#45 Comment By M. Orban On January 17, 2019 @ 11:01 pm

@Jay
“You are the one producing the excrement here”

Oh Jay,… at first glance I thought you were saying “excitement”. Well, thank you for this Trump-country gem.
You know what they say? It makes the desert bloom.

#46 Comment By Jeeves On January 18, 2019 @ 1:48 pm

If you believe that admitting fewer immigrants with higher skills will promote assimilation and lead to more successful immigration, you probably voted for Trump.

Really? How often did he reach that level of policy articulation in the campaign? (Even if he did, he wouldn’t have gotten my vote.) It was all Wall, all the time. Of course E-Verify, exit visa controls and all the other remedial measures are more effective than a wall; but Trump has decided it’s a hill worth dying for. Living in AZ, I wouldn’t mind a wall; but I think Trump and his base will ultimately be disappointed.

#47 Comment By mrscracker On January 18, 2019 @ 4:32 pm

M. Orban says:

“… well, my bruder, I can vouch for her, she has no love for the communist manifesto, trust me on that one.”

******************

True, but it’s kind of novel to be mistaken for a Communist.
One of my children thinks I’m somewhere to the right of the Taliban so it’s good to hear from the other side once in a while.
🙂

#48 Comment By Ken T On January 18, 2019 @ 4:50 pm

Democrats could also easily reopen the government by agreeing to fund a couple billion dollars’ worth of fencing and other border security measures they already support and letting Trump call it another “down payment” on the wall.

Or, to turn this around the other way, Trump could also easily reopen the government by agreeing to the Democrats’ offer of a couple billion dollars’ worth of fencing and other border security measures that already passed both houses of Congress AND that Trump had agreed to sign before Coulter challenged his manhood and he went into full temper tantrum meltdown.

#49 Comment By EliteCommInc. On January 19, 2019 @ 8:31 pm

If you mean by manhood, the president’s level of courage to stand,

I consider the matter closed given that today the president’s batting eye lids (blinking) flirting with democrats.

He has more than blinked. Whether they accept the offer or not.