As recently as last Friday, PDT signaled that he was ready and willing to close our southern border in order to get control of the massive influx of Central American economic migrants arriving daily. Today, he seemed not quite so sure.
When asked today whether a border closing was still imminent, Trump told reporters that he would follow through only if Congress doesn’t step up to the plate to fix our currently porous immigration laws, a somewhat different tune than his previous stance, which was to close the border if Mexico didn’t step up to stop the hordes of migrants before reaching the states.
He reserved the right to follow through with the closing, however, telling reporters, “I haven’t made that intention known. And I’m ready to close it if I have to close it.”
But while he still maintains that the actions of Mexico will determine whether the border is closed, he claims that Mexico has reacted to his criticism by proactively intercepting migrants within their borders, noting that the country is now “stopping people coming in.” As of this writing, I haven’t found evidence to support that claim, and given the new virulently anti-Trump president of Mexico, there is ample reason to doubt it.
Regardless of the veracity of that claim, though, PDT has shifted much of the onus from Mexico to our own Congress to fix this once and for all, which of course must happen if we’re to ultimately fix this problem.
“If we don’t make a deal with Congress, the border’s going to be closed. 100 percent,” Trump said.
Asked whether both criteria would have to be met in order to stave off a border closing, meaning action from both the Mexican government and U.S. Congress, PDT seemed to accept either, responding, “you could say and/or.”
This quasi-backtrack has predictable origins, as the Demo-publican uni-party and their overlords in the big business lobby have been issuing urgent warnings that closing the border would strike a major blow to the U.S. economy.
“Closing down the border would have potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country, and I would hope we would not be doing that sort of thing,”Turtle McConnell told reporters today, proving once again that GDP and corporate profit margins are much higher priorities than the safety and sovereignty of our country.
PDT did offer a glimmer hope in response to the fear-mongering of the open-border congressional majority, laying out the choice before us with vintage Trump simplicity:
“Security is more important to me than trade,” he said. “So we’re going to have a strong border, or we’re going to have a closed border.”
That being as it is, the Trump administration is still clearly worried about the political blowback it could face if a border closure were to throw a wrench into the economy. In response, top economic advisor Larry Kudlow has tasked him team with threading a very difficult needle, namely keeping trucking lanes open despite enacting a closure.
“The question is: can we deal with that and not have any economic damage? And I think the answer is we can and people are looking at different options,” Kudlow said.
That would certainly be a major victory.
Mexico and the U.S. exchange more than $1.7 billion in goods and services daily and each day more than half a million legal workers, students, tourists and shoppers cross the border, according to the people who have been controlling our immigration policy since Reagan, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer, said today that closing the border would be “destructive to the U.S. economy” and added the group has “expressed our concern about closing the border” directly to White House officials. And by “White House officials” he means Jared Kushner, with whom he’s been working for the last 2 months on the Trump administration’s new “business-friendly” immigration policy, i.e. abusing the immigration system to import cheap labor.
Meanwhile, DHS has been struggling to shore up an immigration system that officials — even former Obama officials — have said has reached a “breaking point” due to the thousands of migrant families and unaccompanied minors showing up on a daily basis.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is cutting short an overseas trip in order to travel to the border on Wednesday.
She has already ordered a surge of 750 Customs and Border Protection officers to areas of the border where migrants are crossing in large numbers, while considering expanding the assignment to include 2,000 officers. She’s already receiving pushback from folks on the Hill who worry that a staff reshuffle of that magnitude could lead to long lines for vehicles and pedestrians at legal ports of entry.
God forbid we inconvenience folks in order to get control of our border.
For his part, PDT has already slashed aid to the three Central American countries whose citizens are causing most of our problems:
“They don’t do anything for us,” Trump said of the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, adding that, “We’re giving hundreds of millions of dollars to these three countries” but that they have been “taking advantage of the United States for years.”
Sarah Sanders signaled today that a border closure likely won’t happen this week, saying the president is “not working on a specific timeline” and that all options were being considered.
I hope they’ll consider that we don’t have as much time as the insulated political class thinks. The poor in our country pay the price for unchecked immigration, and I hope our elected leaders will consider the “impact” on them.
Hope springs eternal.
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