April 1, 2019

Border Crisis

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

“The U.S. government cut aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras on Saturday after President Donald Trump blasted the Central American countries for sending migrants to the United States and threatened to shutter the U.S.-Mexico border.” Reuters

See past issues

From the Left

The left criticizes the administration for the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers, and argues that these latest moves will worsen the situation and hurt the US economy.

“Certainly, the United States cannot open its southern borders to all comers. But there is little excuse for not processing this wave of migrants in an orderly and humane manner. Turning the lives of desperate people who yearn for freedom into political talking points is unconscionable.”
Editorial Board, Deseret News

“Are U.S. immigration officials even trying to come up with a better temporary fix than human beings sleeping on ice-cold gravel?… The humanitarian crisis at the southern border is real -- but the human rights violations are the ones that the United States government is either exacerbating or flat-out creating. Indeed, the budget bill passed by Congress this winter aimed to spend money on upgrading government detention facilities and increasing the number of now-overloaded immigration judges to process the asylum claims of refugees more quickly. But Team Trump seems much more interested in cannibalizing our military to pay for his grandiose border wall.”
Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer

“There is a genuine problem at the U.S.-Mexico border… [But] cutting off aid to Central America or ‘closing the border,’ as Mr. Trump now threatens, would make things worse… [The commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection] would like Congress to give him authority to hold these migrants for up to eight weeks. That would allow time to process their claims, which would in many cases be denied. He also wants authority to return unaccompanied children to their home countries, which the law allows for Mexicans and Canadians but not Central Americans… 

“If word got out that paying $7,000 to ‘coyotes’ for the trip to the border was likely to result in a prompt return trip, the flow would diminish — which would mean fewer children in danger. Congress should consider both requests favorably, along with more aid to Central America to get at the root causes of this exodus.”
Editorial Board, Washington Post

Trump’s “own State Department publicly states that its strategy is to provide foreign assistance to Central America and protect American citizens ‘by addressing the security, governance, and economic drivers of illegal immigration and illicit trafficking.’ The aid -- again according to Trump's State Department -- ‘goes toward fighting crime organizations, drug trafficking, gang violence and human trafficking, while strengthening borders and enhancing security’… His reactive move to punish the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador will undoubtedly increase migration, rather than deter it.”
Samantha Vinograd, CNN

Finally, many point out that “shutting down ports of entry would be an economic disaster. It would also disrupt the lives of border communities that rely on the flow of people between the US and Mexico — including the major cities of San Diego (and Tijuana) and El Paso (and Ciudad Juarez). Approximately $1.5 billion worth of commerce happens along the US-Mexico border every day… When the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego shut down for a few hours in November, as agents responded with force (including tear gas) to an organized march of asylum seekers, the temporary closure cost about $5.3 million in lost business revenue… Literally no one but Trump actually wants to close border crossings.”
Dara Lind, Vox

“Trump’s defenders will say this evidence is all circumstantial. But circumstantial evidence is not weak evidence: it’s simply evidence based on the circumstances in which an act of wrongdoing is committed — such as the license plate of a car that speeds away from a bank just after that bank is robbed. Criminals are convicted on such evidence all the time. They will also say that there’s no explicit quid pro quo proposal here. But… ‘even when a corrupt deal is struck implicitly, the government can still prosecute extortion on a quid pro quo basis. Circumstantial evidence can be enough to prove a criminal exchange.’…

“In the absence of an explicit quid pro quo over restarting aid, the context and circumstances are what will become the focus of the investigation. There is enough here to support impeachment. Whether it is also enough to convince Republicans and lead to removal is another matter.”
Noah Feldman, Bloomberg

Some suggest that Congress “remove Trump from office, so that he cannot abuse incumbency to subvert the electoral process, but let the American people make the judgment on whether or not he gets a second term… Removing Trump from office for the remainder of his term would disable him from abusing presidential power again and protect the integrity of the electoral process from inappropriate interference. At the same time, letting him run for a second term would permit the American electorate to decide whether Trump, despite his attempt to subvert the system, should have another chance… Decoupling removal from disqualification lowers the stakes and changes the constitutional calculus. As long as Trump can run again, Republicans cannot hide behind a claim that they are [the] ones protecting voter choice by opposing impeachment.”
Edward B. Foley, Politico

From the Right

The right argues that there is a major crisis at the border, which is exacerbated by the changing demographics of those apprehended.

From the Right

The right argues that there is a major crisis at the border, which is exacerbated by the changing demographics of those apprehended.

“As recently as 2012, 90 percent of apprehensions along the southern border were single adults. Today, that’s changed. Family units and unaccompanied minors now make up 60 percent of all apprehensions along the southern border. The change is important because we don’t treat single adults the same way we treat families and minors traveling alone. Instead of detaining or deporting them—as we do with adults—federal immigration officials are releasing families and children into the United States with orders to appear before an immigration judge, a process that can take years…

“Although total numbers of apprehensions might still be lower than they were in 2000, the total number of migrants being released into the United States, instead of deported or detained, is almost certainly higher today… The border crisis is real, it’s complicated, and it’s getting worse. It’s time to stop repeating, mantra-like, the meaningless talking point that illegal immigration levels are at ‘historic lows.’”
John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

A former Border Patrol chief under President Barack Obama writes, “Central American families are incentivized and rewarded to come and illegally enter our border because they know the Department of Homeland Security must release them within 20 days by law and they will be allowed to remain in the U.S. indefinitely while awaiting immigration court proceedings…

“As the apprehensions reach one million this year, the unconscionable result will be the release of 650,000 immigrants into the U.S. That is more than the entire population of Wyoming. Contrast that with the late 1990s, when we experienced one million apprehensions and less than 100,000 were allowed into the U.S.”
Mark Morgan, Fox News

Congress needs to build stronger legal barriers that migrants and judges can’t evade or bulldoze… The Immigration and Nationality Act conditions asylum on a ‘well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.’ But immigrants complaining about abusive spouses and economic hardship have been waved through…

“Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan last year blocked the Administration from imposing asylum conditions. Last month the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals extended habeas corpus to asylum claimants, which means even those who fail the initial screening will have recourse in federal court. Almost anyone who claims asylum will now be able to avoid immediate deportation… The Administration last year tried to limit asylum eligibility to immigrants who present themselves at ports of entry, but the Ninth Circuit blocked that too. Thus, the border chaos.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“The decision to cut foreign aid to the Northern Triangle (and all other countries) is correct because the United States shouldn’t be bribing them to bend to our political will. We also don’t exactly know how the countries use the money – despite claims of the contrary from USAID. Propping up bad governments does nothing to actually help the migrants looking to come to the U.S… However, it would be a mistake to use the ‘pen and phone’ policy as the method to deliver this new policy. There are rules which need to be followed, which means Congress should hold a vote on the issue.”
Taylor Millard, Hot Air

Regarding her candidacy as a whole, “Warren seems to have concluded that if a rule-breaking candidate like Donald Trump can be elected president, then the old political rules don’t apply any more. So she has endorsed Medicare for All and backs eliminating private health insurance; she has said she’d ban fracking for oil and natural gas; she supports decriminalizing illegal border crossing, health care for illegal immigrants who get across, and paying reparations to the descendants of slaves…

“Warren obviously hopes that her calls for federal oversight of large corporations and her call for a 2% wealth tax on multimillionaires will resonate with non-affluent Trump voters. But those voters seem more concerned with elites’ political correctness than convinced that Warren’s proposal will send their way any money somehow mulcted from corporations…

"This is not to say that Warren is a sure loser. Any Democratic nominee has a serious chance of beating Donald Trump. But it says something interesting about the Democratic Party that its current top three are in their 70's and all from overwhelmingly Democratic states.”
Michael Barone, Washington Examiner

“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“Why did Modi pick this moment to do something so radical? Violence in Kashmir had been trending downwards for the last year, after all. The main reason, besides President Donald Trump's alarming offer to mediate a settlement, is that he wanted a distraction from India's mounting economic woes. India's GDP growth dropped from over 8 percent to 5.8 percent over the last year, and it is widely expected to dip further. Just as ominous has been the crash in consumer demand. India's usual problem has been an insufficient supply to meet its voracious appetite for vehicles, cell phones, and other similar goods. But sales figures for all consumer goods have posted a precipitous decline, slamming businesses that are dramatically scaling back investments.”
Shikha Dalmia, Reason

On the bright side...

'Cow toilets' in Netherlands aim to cut e-moo-ssions.
The Straits Times

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