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

Many note that “Biden’s opposition to [marijuana] legalization… puts him at odds with the great majority of Democrats, 75-plus percent of whom back legalization. Biden’s opposition even puts him at odds with the median Republican, with polls showing that even a majority of Republicans support legalization. Politically, then, legalization should be low-hanging fruit… Yet Biden is not quite there… It’s an especially bad look for Biden. He has a long record of pushing for punitive criminal justice and drug policies — not just supporting but actually writing many of the laws in the 1980s and ’90s that helped shape America’s modern war on drugs. For Biden to hang on to marijuana prohibition, then, just reinforces one of the major concerns that criminal justice reformers like Booker have about him.”
German Lopez, Vox

Others argue that “Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep ‘punching’ at it… I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that. Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

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

It’s worth noting that “conservative ideas were much more popular when not associated with the Republican party. In Washington State, voters narrowly rejected bringing affirmative action back to state contracting and university admissions…

“In Seattle, the self-proclaimed socialist city-council member appears to have lost her seat to a pro-business challenger. In Colorado, voters gave fiscal conservatives a big win by rejecting letting the state keep any tax revenues above the state spending cap, money that the state Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights currently guarantees as refunds to taxpayers. In Sussex County, N.J., voters approved, by a 2-to-1 margin, a referendum directing the local freeholder board to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Washington, Colorado, New Jersey — notice these are places where Republican candidates have had no luck lately.)”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“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

“After adding in the ultra-millionaire’s tax and factoring in the other capital taxes Warren wants to levy — on financial transactions, on unrealized capital gains, on corporations — we’d be asking every billionaire to hand over more than two-thirds of their total wealth over a 10-year period. If the government actually managed to collect it, their fortunes would rapidly erode — and so would tax collections. The plan might be a good way to smash wealth, but it’s a terrible way to fund the nation’s health-care system…

“If Warren makes it to the White House, and tries to pass a plan, the Congressional Budget Office will eventually attach more reasonable numbers, with more defensible assumptions, sparking an even more spectacular political blowback than the one that greeted Friday’s announcement. Outside of the progressive Twitterati, there isn’t necessarily an enormous constituency for spending $20.5 trillion to herd every American into a national health insurance program; there would be even less support for spending what Warren’s plan would actually cost.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

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

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.