April 1, 2019

Border Crisis

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“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

Minority View: “The sweeping Mueller investigation ended with zero indictments of zero Americans for conspiring with Russia over the 2016 election. Both Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner – the key participants in the Trump Tower meeting – testified for hours and hours yet were never charged for perjury, lying or obstruction, even though Mueller proved how easily he would indict anyone who lied as part of the investigation…

“As Mueller himself concluded, a reasonable debate can be conducted on whether Trump tried to obstruct his investigation with corrupt intent. But even on the case of obstruction, the central point looms large over all of it: there was no underlying crime established for Trump to cover-up.”
Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

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

“Colleges hike their tuition ­every year because they can. The feds have been willing to increase loan amounts to match whatever colleges charge. The result? Every dollar lent ­inflates tuition by another 60 cents, according to Federal Reserve ­research. In this heartless scheme, students are mules, carrying dollars from Washington to campuses nationwide. Never mind if they ever graduate or land jobs to pay back their loans…

“It would be fairer to require colleges to ­refund a portion of the loan money to Uncle Sam when a student doesn’t make it to graduation. Colleges need to have skin in the game, so they’ll try harder to get students through the course of study and into the working world.”
Betsy McCaughey, New York Post

A libertarian's take

“As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised to put some reasonable limitations on how the United States conducted its post-9/11 wars across the Middle East… But on Tuesday night, Trump unambiguously backed Forever War. He vetoed a congressional resolution that would have ended American military involvement in the Yemeni civil war—a conflict that has killed an estimated 50,000 people (scores more have died in a famine triggered by the conflict) without having any significant bearing on U.S. national security.”
Eric Boehm, Reason

On the bright side...

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

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