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MATTHEW BOOSE: The Democrats are morally opposed to border security
President Trump’s Oval Office Address on Tuesday night forced the Democrats to make perhaps their most frank admission yet that they support open borders.
Trump laid out a solemn, partly factual, partly exaggerated account of the costs of an unsecured border to make his case for the wall. He noted the downward impact on wages for American workers, particularly minorities, a death toll from deadly drugs that is comparable to the Vietnam War, and the violence inflicted on law enforcement and civilians by some illegal migrants.
The Democrats dismissed these problems out of hand and called the border crisis “manufactured.” The border debate is not a matter of what costs or what is effective, see. There is no problem to be addressed in the first place because Trump has fabricated the whole crisis from “fear.”
On its face, the claim that the crisis is fake is difficult to reconcile with the Democrats’ stated support of border security, which they again re-iterated in their rebuttal. If there is no border crisis, then why bother?
The answer is that the Democrats are not negotiating in good faith. Democrats can say what they want about Trump’s demands, but he has been clear about what he wants from the start: a physical barrier. By contrast, the Democrats have been misleading and equivocal.
The Democrats seriously claim to care just as much as Trump does about solving a border problem that they argue doesn’t exist. How does that work? Since they are unwilling to admit that they’re against borders, they’re stuck in the untenable position of opposing border security while pretending to care about borders that they don’t actually believe in.
Rather than come out with it, they talk about “border security” as if it’s an ever-elusive abstraction with an impossibly complicated solution, rather than a concrete objective with a realistic solution.
Pelosi talked in vague terms about scanners, sensors, and drones — a flashy deflection from a lasting fix. Schumer did not even offer a proposal for border security, only the possibility of a discussion in the future on the condition that Trump surrenders.
Trump, Schumer said, must “separate” border security from the shutdown, as if the wall is not the central point of contention. This is a rather clunky sleight-of-hand: “Give us everything we want right now, and then we’ll talk about what you want.”
Schumer and Pelosi’s offer of co-operation was couched in much of the same disingenuous, tired language about bipartisanship that they have used throughout the shutdown to frame their inflexible opposition to borders as reasonable and fair. They were heavy on cliche and innuendo — Trump uses fear instead of facts –– to paint the president as malicious and extreme in his demands for a secure border.
The idea that borders are immoral is their central argument, but they claimed that they have a problem with the cost and effectiveness instead to deflect from any uncomfortable suspicions about their allegiance to the country they are elected to serve. There is no underlying principle that can explain their contradictory positions on border security other than the assumption that they are, at least now, against it on principle.
If the wall is an ineffective waste of money, as they claim, then how to explain the Democrats’ support for $25 billion in border security funding last year, or the billions that Democrats, including Schumer, signed off on in 2006 with the Secure Fence Act? At any rate, Trump is asking for a pittance to solve a big problem.
Perhaps Schumer’s views on physical barriers have become more enlightened, but if a fence works, then how is a wall less effective?
Trump has argued that the Democrats are trying to re-invent the wheel, and he’s right. So much of their rhetoric on the wall — but what about tunnels, but what about the Gulf of Mexico — rings with suspicious fatalism. They view border security as an impossible goal, and almost seem to hope that it is impossible. One can only suspect that they are afraid that a wall will work.
“Walls are bad” is the simplest, most honest rebuttal the Democrats have against Trump. But it requires some elaboration. What makes a wall immoral, but not a fence? Or, for that matter, the drones and sensors — Trump rightly calls them “bells and whistles” — that they now support?
Should the fencing that’s already there be knocked down? If not, why not? If so, how are the Democrats not advocating open borders when they call barriers “immoral”?
Presumably, border security that is ineffective is morally acceptable, while simple, tried and true solutions are not. Of course, there’s no need for a solution if there’s no border problem, or if borders themselves are a problem.
If Trump has occasionally embellished the border crisis with “dark” anecdotes, his basic claim is true: there is a problem at the border, and it won’t be solved without a physical barrier. Trump has made misleading claims, for example, about the number of terrorists caught at the border, but objections to his wildest claims miss the bigger picture.
Democrats correctly note that illegal migration has recently dropped. From 2000 to 2018, apprehensions went down from 1.6 million to 400,000. Ok, that’s nice — how about compared to 1960, when illegal immigration was virtually unheard of? That should be the target.
Hundreds of thousands of illegal crossings a year is nothing to sneeze at. Illegal immigration increased this year, and, as anyone paying attention to the news the last six months can tell, family migration spiked.
Much “fact checking,” particularly on the border crisis, amounts to pedantic, ideological deflection. For example, it’s true that a significant number of illegal migrants arrive through ports of entry and then overstay their visas, a recent popular talking point. But at least a third still cross the border. That’s not zero.
The obtuse “fact checks” paint a misleading picture of what is actually happening at the border. The migrants charging through clouds of tear gas, the backed-up asylum lists, the thousands camped out in Tijuana, ICE dropping off hundreds of migrants on the streets of El Paso….not a crisis, right?
Trump did not manufacture a crisis. It’s one that has been going on for decades. There are millions of illegal migrants living in the country, depressing wages and straining public services. The fact that Trump is the first president to call a problem by its proper name and do something about it does not make him an alarmist.
It’s only through the lens of open borders that the Democrats’ indifference makes sense. They don’t see a border crisis at all. They are more worried about the welfare of illegal immigrants than their own citizens. They compare the Trump administration to Nazi Germany when families are separated, but shrug when a cop is tragically taken from his family just before Christmas.
American citizens shouldn’t be getting murdered by illegal immigrants at all. But for the Democrats, Americans who lose jobs or loved ones to illegal immigrants are just suffering the collateral damage of a much greater good.
Most “fact checking” is determined not by what is true but what is politically expedient. The suffering of American citizens on account of mass migration is not politically convenient for the left, so they ignore it. See, “the data” shows that it’s not a big deal when an American is killed by an illegal immigrant because “the data” says that such an event is rare. If it doesn’t register in “the data,” it never happened.
Americans, in fact, are morally inferior to illegal migrants. According to “the data,” illegal migrants commit less crime than Americans (study after study has proven it so) and they do the jobs Americans don’t want to do. They are essentially just better people — yes, that’s what a sitting congresswoman actually said.
The Democrats have made their priorities clear. They should be transparent about their position and stop pretending to care about border security and the American people when they plainly don’t.
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