Finally, the Dems may have found an issue they can run on in November. The economy? No, it is very robust and improving further. Consumer confidence is the highest it has been in years. Unemployment? No, it has been below 5% for months; and AA, Hispanic and female unemployment are at or near historic lows. Additionally, Mr. Trump’s policies have created over 3 million jobs in just five months in office. Terrorism? No, ISIS has been severely damaged, and NOKO is talking denuclearization, not launching missiles. Russian collusion? After 18 months of intense investigation, none has been found. Instead, what has been unearthed is collusion among Trump-haters to block his election and then, after he won anyway, to undermine his presidency. Trump’s character? Need more than that. More and more voters have come to realize one should evaluate Mr. Trump on what he does, not what he says. What then?
What the Dems have come up with is immigration, in particular, the visual images of children separated from their parents and kept in cages. Now, that is an issue they can run on. They will attempt to portray the GOP as heartless racists and insensitive to the welfare of children. This, my friends, is pure BS, but, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Let’s get a few things straight right at the outset.
- No one wants to see children separated from their parents and kept in cages. No one. Not you, not me, not the Dems, not the GOP, not the Administration. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous, at best, and an outright, intentional lie, at worst.
- Name calling, particularly likening people in the Administration to Hitler or Nazis is insulting, irresponsible and inaccurate, and it exacerbates the problem, rather than solves it. Moreover, it is an insult to the memory of the six million Jews and others whom the Nazis murdered.
- The Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy is merely a decision to enforce the laws as passed by Congress over the years. Under these laws, all cases of illegal entry are required to be referred to the Justice Department, unless asylum is claimed.
- The estimated 2,300 children that are being detained in cages have been separated from their parents, because, by law, they are prohibited from being detained with the adults with whom they arrived. The accompanying adults have been charged with the crime of illegal entry, not the children.
- There is no guarantee that the accompanying adults are, in fact, the parents. It is very common for parents to send their children North in the company of “coyotes,” who are often nothing more than child abusers and/or drug smugglers. Part of the reason for the separation is to allow DHS and ICE to vet the accompanying adults.
- There has been absolutely no evidence that these children have been mistreated in any way, other than the separation itself. They are being provided with food, medical care and the ability to communicate with their parents.
- Children who are US citizens are separated from their parents every day, due to the parents’ incarceration for crimes or demonstrated inability to care for them. Many enter foster care where there have been reports of abuse. Some, like Kate Steinle, have been separated permanently by being murdered. For example, how many children do you suppose were murdered in Chicago just last week? How many people do you suppose MS-13 has murdered this year? Those situations are just as bad, yet there has been no outcry from the media or the public.
- Many of the most vocal critics, ranging from politicians to media types to talk show hosts are just adding to the noise. They are part of the problem, not the solution. Their aim is to win votes or boost ratings or just hear themselves talk. There has been too much misstatement of the facts, misleading information, blather and bloviating, and not enough substantive discourse.
- And, most importantly, in my view, no one has put forth a meaningful solution.
All that said, yesterday Mr. Trump relented to the intense pressure and criticism regarding separation and signed an Executive Order to cease the practice. Predictably, many of his critics were not satisfied, for example:
- The New York Times denoted that the courts will likely strike down his order as it contradicts a 1997 consent decree (the Flores settlement) that prohibits the detention of immigrant children for more than 20 days, even if they are with their parents. If that were to happen, we would be right back to square one.
- Furthermore, the article stated that the EO does not remedy the plight of the 2,300 or so children who have already been separated. Their “parents” will remain in federal custody while their status is being determined. (However, Administration spokesman, Brian Marriott, disagreed with that characterization saying the administrators are “awaiting further guidance [from the White House] on the matter.”)
- Critics complain that the EO does not specify where the families will be detained, for how long and under what conditions. The ACLU’s Lee Gelernt predicted “If they start detaining families and kids in tents or other places I think you will see immediate lawsuits.” He’s probably right.
As usual, Mr. Trump gets criticized regardless of what he does. First he gets criticized for promulgating a policy that comports with existing law. Then, he gets criticized for not resolving the problem that has existed long before he became president and when it is the “do-nothing” Congress that is required to pass laws. Finally, when he issues an EO consistent with what his critics were demanding he gets criticized as well. The NYT article pointed out that candidate Trump had criticized President Obama for overuse of EOs and had said he would use them sparingly, implying that he was being hypocritical.
As I said, let’s not forget that it is Congress that is responsible for passing laws, not the president. I don’t know anyone who is satisfied with the immigration laws currently on the books. Therefore, it is incumbent upon that august body to reach a consensus and pass a law most of us can live with. Perhaps, our esteemed congresspersons have forgotten that a “consensus” means no one will get everything he or she wants. Instead, everyone should be satisfied to get some of what they want.
I think both the Dems and the GOP bear some responsibility for the stalemate in Congress, but I am inclined to blame the Dems more. I don’t think they are really motivated to solve the problem. As I said, they want to use it as a campaign issue in 2018 and 2020. For example, just today, Chuck Schumer was quoted as saying he was not inclined to help clean up “Mr. Trump’s mess” by supporting either immigration bill currently under consideration by Congress. The GOP will need his and other Dems’ support as both bills face an uphill battle. That, my friends, illustrates the problem in a nutshell.
Furthermore, I believe the Dems view the illegals as a future voting bloc. Their hope is that the Hispanic illegals will be so grateful to them for their support that when they attain citizenship they will vote for them.
As I have said many times, the emotional mischaracterizations, exaggerations and name calling by media pundits, politicians and celebrities is doing nothing to fix the problem. Rather, it is exacerbating it, as it causes both sides to harden their respective positions. In many cases, their comments are inane and merely highlight their ignorance and prejudices. I don’t have to name them. If you have been watching the news you know who they are.
Finally, my personal opinion on this issue is crystal clear to anyone who has read my previous blogs. We need secure borders. We need to curb illegal immigration, particularly with respect to criminals and terrorists. We need to stop the inflow of drugs. We need a wall. Then, we can devise a path for citizenship for the “dreamers.” (President Trump has proposed each of these points to no avail.)
Anyone who disagrees should look at the social and economic problems of Western European countries, such as England, France and Sweden, many of which have been caused or exacerbated by years of unrestricted immigration. There is no need to speculate. The facts are there for anyone who cares to look with an open mind.
In addition, I have no patience for the celebrities and other elites who lecture the rest of us. They do not understand the real world. Most of them live in gated communities with 24/7 security and travel around with armed bodyguards. Their jobs and income are not threatened by cheap labor. Their children do not attend overcrowded schools. They and their families are not threatened by MS-13 in the schools and in their communities. This issue does not impact them like it does the rest of us. Like I said, if you doubt the veracity of this, read up on the situation in Western Europe.