Tag Archives: border security

Which is it: shutdown or deal on budget?

On one day, the president of the United States declared there would be a government shutdown if Congress didn’t come to a decision on an immigration package that secured our borders.

That is that. No deal, no government. “I would love a shutdown” if there’s no deal to build a wall. “Without borders, we don’t have a country,” Donald Trump declared.

The next day, U.S. Senate Democratic and Republican leaders cobbled together a budget deal that funds the government for two years. It’s a bipartisan agreement. Oh, and it doesn’t have any money for the wall the president wants to build across our southern border.

No worries, said the president. He’ll sign it if it gets to his desk.

So, which is it? Does the president want the wall or does he want to fund the government and avoid a shutdown that could occur later this week?

Honestly, I prefer the second version of the president’s current view. I believe he should sign the bill if it clears the House of Representatives, which at the moment is going through a revolt among members of its most conservative members. They hate the bill because it spends too much money and, yes, doesn’t include money for the wall or other border security measures.

They call themselves “fiscal hawks.” They say the Republican Party no longer can claim to be the party of “fiscal responsibility.”

Here’s what I hope happens. The House agrees on the Senate bill, they send it to the White House, the president signs it and then all sides — Democrats and Republicans in Congress and the president — get to work immediately on resolving the issue of immigration.

A viable government needs to proceed without the imminent threat of shutting down.

I am one taxpaying American citizen who is damn tired of this Band-Aid policy of running the government.

Can we just agree to keep the entire federal government functioning and serving all Americans while our representatives do what they were elected to do?

It is called “governing.”

How about securing your border, sir?

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott speaks during the Texas State Rifle Association convention on Saturday, February 23, 2013 in Mesquite, Texas. (Cooper Neill/The Dallas Morning News) / mug - mugshot - headshot - portrait / 05012013xALDIA

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is visiting with Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto to talk about a whole range of bilateral issues.

I’ve got a topic for them to talk about.

Border security on the Mexican side comes to mind.

I’m glad Gov. Abbott is venturing to Mexico City to talk about international relations with our neighbors. But you know, with all this talk about immigration and the “flood” of undocumented immigrants pouring into the country, I think Abbott ought to take this opportunity to ask his friends in Mexico what they’re doing to prevent the immigration situation from getting even worse.

Do you remember all those children who were coming to Texas and other border states from Central America? They were traveling through Mexico to get to the United States.

I don’t recall hearing a credible explanation from Mexico as to how and why those children were being allowed to travel all the way through that country into ours.

Perhaps the governor can ask President Nieto about that? Hey, dignitaries often have “frank” discussions when leaders meet. OK, Abbott isn’t a head of a nation-state, but he is the head of a leading U.S. state that borders Mexico.

He ought to quiz his pal in Mexico City about the bilateral responsibility that’s involved with securing our shared border. President Obama gets pounded by his critics for failing to secure our side of the border.

Perhaps, though, it would be good to ask the Mexican president what he’s doing to secure his country’s side of the border.

 

Donald Trump: man of danger

donald_trump

Donald Trump came to Texas this week and, according to the man himself, thrust himself into harm’s way by speaking the truth about illegal immigration.

Well, since he’s the presumed frontrunner — for the moment — for the Republican Party presidential nomination next year, his visit requires a brief comment.

http://www.texastribune.org/2015/07/23/trumps-presidential-spectacle-sweeps-through-texas/

It meant nothing in the nation’s ongoing battle against illegal immigration.

Trump’s appearance was just for show. That’s understandable, though. Political candidates do these things on occasion. He swept into Laredo, bounded off his big ol’ jet wearing a ball cap emblazoned with “Making America Great Again.” He said he’s the only candidate speaking the truth about illegal immigration.

He offered zero specifics about what he intends to do about illegal immigration, although he has said he would build a wall to seal off our southern border to protect us against the flood of murderers, rapists and drug dealers who are pouring into the United States en masse.

I’m wondering, though: Is Trump going to make a similar campaign splash in, say, Buffalo, Detroit or Bellingham, Wash., cities that sit on our border with Canada? Let’s seal off our northern border as well, while we’re at it.

As the Texas Tribune reported, the brief fling in Laredo was long on sizzle and short on substance.

He said: “I’ll take jobs back from China, I’ll take jobs back from Japan … The Hispanics are going to get those jobs, and they’re going to love Trump.” There’s that third-person reference again.

According to The Trib: “The spectacle reached its apex when he held court with a crush of media at the border following a roughly half-hour closed-door meeting with law enforcement officials. Against the backdrop of a line of trucks waiting to enter the country, Trump regaled reporters with a string of boisterous predictions — that he would not only win the GOP nomination, but would also take the Hispanic vote — and vague prescriptions for the issue that brought him here: illegal immigration.”

This event kind of reminded me of the time then-Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox traipsed through the mud in Matamoros, Mexico, in the late 1980s after a University of Texas student was killed. Mattox, a Democrat, wanted to make a grand show of how he would root out the killers and bring them to justice. That’s all fine, except for this minor detail: The Texas AG has virtually zero criminal jurisdiction; the office deals almost exclusively with civil matters.

But, hey, it made for great photo ops.

So did Trump’s appearance in Laredo. That’s it.

Graham writes strategy for GOP failure

Lindsey Graham is saying things his fellow Republicans don’t want to hear.

But they should.

That is why the U.S. senator from South Carolina’s expected bid to become the next president of the United States is likely going to fail. He will be unable to persuade the fire-breathing GOP base that he’s tell them a harsh truth: You can’t govern if you’re angry.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/lindsey-graham-2016-ted-cruz-116372.html?hp=lc1_4

As Politico reports, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas vows to “repeal ‘every word’ of Obamacare and Common Core if he becomes president. He would ‘abolish’ the IRS, flatten the Tax Code so Americans can fill out their taxes on a postcard, and ‘finally, finally, finally’ secure the border.”

Graham is trying to talk some sense into his fellow Republicans by reminding them that governing is a shared responsibility. They need to work with Democrats, not against them, if they expect to get anything done.

My hunch is that his message is falling on mostly deaf ears.

Republicans are mad at Democrats for what they perceive has been a shutting-them-out of the governing process. The GOP response now that it has control of both legislative houses? Payback, man.

Graham said it won’t work.

Here’s how Politico profiles Graham: “Graham, who has served in Congress since 1995 and is an attorney in the Air Force Reserve, is not without a wide range of votes that add to his baggage headed into 2016. He voted for both of President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominees. He backs Loretta Lynch to be attorney general. He believes climate change is real and that the federal government should do something about it. He’s open to a Simpson-Bowles-type approach to rein in big deficits, something that would raise tax revenues. And he was an architect of the comprehensive immigration bill, something the right wing of his party despises.”

What in the world is so unreasonable about Graham’s approach to governing?

Everything, apparently, according to the far right wing of the Republican Party. Too bad.

 

Abbott is swimming in campaign cash

Greg Abbott has become a fundraising dynamo in his campaign for governor, which a lot of observers think he’s going to win next month.

He’s got an estimated $30 million in the bank. He won’t spend it all, according to the Texas Tribune.

What’s the deal?

http://www.texastribune.org/2014/10/08/brief/

It appears he’s saving it up for the next campaign in 2018, which could get serious if another Republican — state Sen. Dan Patrick — is elected lieutenant governor.

Patrick might be so darn full of himself that he’ll want to challenge Abbott for governor in four years. I’m worried far less about Patrick’s challenge of Abbott than I worry about what kind of governor Abbott would become.

Here’s the deal.

If Abbott wants to fend off a challenge from the right wing of his party, he’ll have to govern from the far right. That means he’ll let loose with fiery rhetoric about border security, working with Texas congressional Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, appointing right-wing ideologues to all those boards and commissions and perhaps even raising the specter of secession when the moment presents itself.

There might be a formidable Democrat out there who’ll challenge a Gov. Abbott in 2018. Let’s not kid ourselves, though, about where the stiffest challenge might present itself.

It’ll come from within the Republican Party.

As the Tribune reports: “The target of this cash juggernaut, of course, may not be a Democrat at all, but rather GOP lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick, who as (Austin American-Statesman reporter Jonathan) Tilove writes, ‘would like to be governor someday.'”

Therein lies the concern of where an Abbott governorship will take the state in the meantime.

Divide over border crisis? Shocking!

Imagine my fake surprise at news that Republicans and Democrats are divided over how to solve the immigration/refugee crisis on our nation’s southern border.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/immigration-reform-congress-closed-door-briefing-109027.html?hp=l1

Republicans who control the House of Representatives are trying to slash President Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency spending request to deal with the flood of young people fleeing Central America.

Democrats who control the Senate are trying to preserve most of what Obama has asked.

My take? If Republicans think the immigration crisis has reached some sort of critical mass, why are they scaling back so much of what the president is asking?

They want more border security? They want speedier repatriation of the immigrants? They want to hold the families and governments sending these young people to the United States accountable for their actions?

I believe the request does all of that. What in the world am I missing?

Yes, this crisis of serious national concern. There once was a time when leaders of the two major parties would lock arms and hammer out solutions — together. Those days appear to have vanished in the dust bin of recrimination that has become a way of life on Capitol Hill.

This is a disgraceful example of representative democracy failing to do what the people it represents want it to do.

Fix the problem.

Elect a ‘prosecutor’ for Texas AG?

“I have sued Obama 7X and am the only candidate 4 attorney general who’s a proven prosecutor! Help me secure our Texas border.”

That is a tweet from Barry Smitherman, one of the Republican candidates for Texas attorney general who’s seeking to succeed Greg Abbott, the presumptive GOP favorite for the party’s gubernatorial nomination.

I have been awaiting this kind of chest-thumping, which if you consider the nature of the office, is quite irrelevant.

Smitherman is a smart guy who happens to serve on the Texas Railroad Commission, the agency that regulates the state’s oil-and-natural-gas industry. He also appears to be running for attorney general in the Jim Mattox mold of Texas grandstander.

The attorney general essentially is the state’s top lawyer, representing the state’s interest in litigation. Say, the state is taken to court. The AG’s office represents the state in the courtroom. The state does not “prosecute” bad guys. That task is left to district attorneys who are elected by county voters.

Why the Mattox comparison? Well, Mattox was the former Democratic attorney general who traipsed around a crime scene in Mexico vowing to capture and prosecute the individuals responsible for murdering a University of Texas student in the late 1980s.

Mattox had no business making the that pledge, just as Smitherman’s prosecutorial experience really doesn’t matter in the race for attorney general.