Guy W. Farmer: A big, beautiful border wall?
August 3, 2018
All of us remember President Trump's oft-repeated campaign promise about building a big, beautiful border wall that Mexico would pay for. Well, I don't want to disillusion anyone, but that's not going to happen even though the president has threatened to shut down the government if Congress doesn't fund his wall by the Sept. 30 deadline for a new budget deal.
This is a typical Trump "art of the deal" negotiating tactic — make all kinds of dire threats and then settle for something far less than the original goal. That's what our president tried to do with brutal North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at their recent Singapore Summit. First, Trump threatened "fire and fury" if North Korea didn't dismantle its nuclear weapons program, and then settled for a vague agreement about the eventual — maybe, some day — denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, leaving the prickly details to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, among others.
Meanwhile, there are reports North Korea is ramping up its nuclear program while Trump and Kim continue to exchange compliments. Kim is "very talented" and his people love him etc., etc. And then Trump cozied up to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
Iran is next on Trump's world summit schedule — no preparation necessary. A quick, happy photo op or two, and leave the details to others. According to USA Today, "Trump said he would hold a summit with Iran with 'no preconditions.'" Shades of ex-President Obama's "blame America first" apology tour. Good luck with that. But I digress; let's get back to the border wall.
"I would be willing to shut down the government if Democrats don't give us the votes for border security, which includes the wall," Trump tweeted. "We must get rid of the visa lottery, end catch-and-release and go to an immigration system based on merit." I actually agree with the second part of that tweet, which I've edited to correct grammatical errors.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have presented Trump with a plan that would fund the government and delay the immigration debate until after the midterm elections in November, but the president has rebuffed them with his government shutdown strategy, if that's what it is. You never really know.
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Trump wants $5 billion in funding for his border wall, but my guess is if Congress gives him anything at all, he'll call it a "wall" and declare victory. After all, his English is imprecise and a wall is in the eye of the beholder.
On the other side of the congressional aisle, Democrats are blocking everything Trump proposes including immigration reform and confirmation of a highly qualified Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Some "progressive" Democrats, including those who call themselves Socialists, are running on a dangerous platform of open borders and the abolition of ICE, the agency that enforces our immigration laws and controls our porous borders. If more moderate Nevada Democrats like Jacky Rosen and Steve Sisolak decide to run on such an extremist, anti-American platform, they deserve to be soundly defeated at the polls in November.
Democrats have done a good job of playing on our emotions by highlighting Central American children who have been separated from their parents, or alleged parents, at the border, but the Trump administration is attempting to reunite children with their asylum-seeking parents while trying to combat widespread child abuse and human trafficking on the border. That's why we need comprehensive immigration reform and strong border controls in addition to something our mercurial president can call a "wall."
Guy W. Farmer dealt with immigration issues during his diplomatic career.