Tag Archives: illegal immigration

Promises made often are promises broken

“I’ll build a big, beautiful wall … and Mexico is going to pay for it!”

I’m sure you remember when Donald John Trump Sr. made that proclamation. If you missed it the first, or even the second or third times, well, he kept saying all along the trail he followed right into the White House.

Mexico will foot the bill for a wall that the president of the United States wants to build. Check. Got it. Done deal.

Except that Mexico will do no such thing. Just ask them. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has made as clear as he possibly can make it: In no way, in no fashion, is Mexico going to spend a single peso to pay for the wall.

What does Trump do now? Why, he turns to us — to you and me. We’re going to pay for it, he declares with a bravado equal to what he displayed while making that foolish campaign-trail pledge.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders keeps muttering that tiresome — and mostly false — contention that Trump “got elected” on the promise to build the wall. Wrong, young lady! He got elected by declaring that Mexico was going to pay for it.

The wall now is being used as a piece of political bait. The president is threatening to shut down the government if Congress refuses his demand for money — coming from our pockets, remember — to erect that 2,000-mile wall. Congressional leaders, though, have been burned before by attempts to shut down the government. They’ve done so in the past and have paid a price politically for it.

Trump has no direct knowledge of the political pain that comes with making stupid promises that he cannot keep.

I am all for increased border security. If we’re going to do more to deter illegal immigrants, then invest in better surveillance monitoring techniques; hire more Border Patrol officers and put them on duty along our southern frontier. I get that those who enter the country illegally are, by definition, lawbreakers.

Here’s another notion: How about enacting some comprehensive immigration reform legislation that makes it easier for those who want to come here in search of opportunity to do so legally?

But to build a wall? And then force a neighboring sovereign state to pony up the cash to pay for it? That was never in play. To now force U.S. taxpayers to carry that burden has become just another broken campaign promise.

Trump engages in another game of chicken

The president of the United States seems to have an addiction to the game of chicken.

He keeps throwing down challenges to those in the legislative branch of government to do his bidding … or else!

The latest or else is a big one.

Donald Trump wants Congress to provide money to build a wall along our southern border, or else he’s going to force a shutdown of the federal government. That’s right, the president of the United States is holding the entire federal government hostage to a political promise he made to voters en route to his being elected to the nation’s highest office.

This is a grotesque form of political extortion.

For starters, the president doesn’t possess unilateral authority to shut down the government. Congress plays a huge role here by appropriating money for public projects. If Congress chooses to increase the debt ceiling, for example, without setting aside wall construction money, the president can veto it — but then he risks being overridden by Congress.

The way I see it, members of Congress — particularly the Republican leaders who run the place — don’t like being dictated to by the president. They understand that Trump does not, which is that they share in the responsibility of governing the United States of America. They know what Trump doesn’t know, or refuses to know, or simply is too damn ignorant to figure it out.

I’ve long opposed construction of a “big, beautiful wall” along our border. It won’t prevent illegal immigration; there are myriad eminent domain issues to resolve; a wall won’t prevent illegal immigrants from tunneling beneath it.

And I need to point out, too, that a key part of Trump’s campaign promise to build the wall contained this provision: Mexico is going to pay for it! Mexican government officials say categorically, in plain English and Spanish, that they will not pay a nickel for the wall.

Now the president is going to foist the cost of this monstrosity on U.S. taxpayers, the very people he said he wouldn’t have to bear this burden? And if the wall isn’t included in congressional action, that he’s going to shut down the government and, thus, deny citizens access to services they might need?

I’m not issuing a medical diagnosis here … but the president is a loon.

Shut down the government … over a wall?

So much grist poured out of the president’s relentless and reckless rant in Phoenix …

Let’s take a nibble at this tidbit: Donald John Trump Sr. says he’s willing to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn’t approve money to pay for the wall to be built along our nation’s border with Mexico.

Yep, the guy who said this past summer that “I, alone” can solve the nation’s problems now is blackmailing congressional Democrats to provide money to build the wall. If they don’t, he said, the government shutdown is on their hands.

But wait!

Trump has vowed that Mexico is going to pay for the wall. Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto says “no … we won’t!” Trump reportedly has zero relationship with the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, who has declared there is “zero chance” the government is going to shut down; “We are not going to default,” said McConnell.

The president is insulting congressional Republicans as frequently as he insults Democrats. He is destroying — one insult at a time — any chance of getting anything done once Congress returns from its summer recess.

So now the guy who wants to “unify” the country, who declares it is time to “heal our divisions” is now threatening to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn’t do something he has promised never would happen.

I believe former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — a serious and sober man — has it right. Donald Trump is unfit for the job to which he was elected.

President seeks to inflame emotions even more

I am about to embark on a futile and pointless mission, which is to try to talk some sense into the president of the United States of America.

Donald John Trump Sr. is planning a “campaign-style” rally in Phoenix, Ariz., next week. The city’s mayor has implored the president to forgo the visit.

The “why?” is simple. National tensions have hit a fever pitch. We’re still reeling over the Charlottesville riot and the death of young Heather Heyer and two Virginia state troopers. Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists gathered to launch a protest; counter protesters met them. They clashed and all hell broke loose.

The president then proceeded to absolutely demolish his moral authority on damn near anything by declaring that “both sides” were at fault and in the process virtually equated the racist, bigoted hate mongers with those who opposed them.

So now Trump wants to stage another rally out west? He wants to tell his adoring — but shrinking — cadre of supporters about all the good things that have occurred since he became president?

Memo to POTUS: There stands a very real chance, sir, that your rally is going to provoke more violence. It might go badly for everyone concerned.

Then there’s this: We’re hearing talk about the president possibly pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been convicted of violating the civil rights of illegal immigrants he had arrested. “Sheriff Joe” has become a darling of the anti-immigration movement, given his tough talk and actions.

I merely would implore the president to resist the temptation to pour even more fuel onto that already-burning blaze.

OK. I’ve stated my piece. I know it won’t matter one damn bit to the president or to his supporters who read this blog. However, I feel better having gotten it out there.

Now, let’s hope for the best — which would be for the president to skip this rally. Hey, maybe Ivanka can talk some sense into Dad’s thick, orange skull.

Tough to keep track of all the lies

White House communications officials — to a person — have the toughest jobs in America. Of that I am now convinced.

They have to respond to mistruths — yes, outright lies — muttered by the man for whom they all work.

Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States, provides an endless supply of them. It’s stunning.

Two of them poured out of his pie hole just this week. The White House communications team had to acknowledge that, yep, they were false.

Trump appeared before the Boy Scout Jamboree and delivered a patently hideous speech that injected partisan politics into a patently non-political event. He said Scout leaders called him to tell him that was the greatest speech ever delivered to the Jamboree.

They never called. Indeed, the head of Boy Scouts of America issued an apology for the tone and tenor of the president’s speech.

Then came the statement, again from Trump, that Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto phoned him to congratulate Trump on cracking down on illegal immigration into the United States from Mexico.

Uhhh, that call never was made, either.

This is part and parcel of the president’s modus operandi: tell a lie and then never, ever atone for it by acknowledging — at minimum — that he might have “misspoken.”

I get that Trump is far from the first politician to fudge the truth. Then-Sen. Barack Obama once made a mention while he was running for president of “all 57 states” in this country. Oops! He missed that one by seven. Do you also remember how Hillary Clinton once told of dodging hostile gunfire while landing in Bosnia? That was a more egregious error.

The current president, though, is making a mockery of the truth. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has accused the Trump administration of launching an “assault on the truth” as it seeks to bob-and-weave its way through the Russia investigation.

The assault is being coordinated — and I use that term with caution — by the man at the top. He cannot help himself. He cannot tell the truth.

How in the name of efficacy does he get away with this?

Texas landowners may block wall construction

This is funny … almost.

I’m not laughing. However, the irony is too rich to ignore. As the New York Times is reporting, those closest to the nation’s southern border seem to be mounting the sternest challenge to efforts to build that big ol’ wall between the United States and Mexico.

They’re supposed to be terrified of the “flood of illegal immigrants,” right? Not exactly.

Texas appears to be at ground zero of the battle between private landowners and the federal government that seeks to build that wall.

Texas’s vast expanse of real estate is almost exclusively in private hands. Citizens own the land and they are none too willing to surrender it, no matter what the Department of Homeland Security might have to say.

Lawsuits have been filed

According to the Times, landowners have filed dozens of lawsuits against the government that wants to condemn their land to make way for the wall. Some property owners are hoping to tie this matter up so tightly that they’ll outlast the Donald J. Trump administration.

Texans have proven over many years to be not bashful at all about fighting tooth and nail to protect their land from government seizure. That well could be the fight that the president faces as he maneuvers efforts to construct the wall that he and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly say can be finished in 24 months.

Texas and Mexico share 1,254 miles of border. Most of the land on the Texas side of the Rio Grande River is privately held. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires the government to pay “just compensation” for property it takes from citizens.

And, yes, there happens to be a lot of land west of El Paso — through New Mexico, Arizona and California — that the feds will have to take from private ownership. It won’t come cheaply.

I understand completely that the Rio Grande Valley region needs careful attention from border security officials. According to the Times: “The Rio Grande Valley is among the busiest smuggling routes on the Mexican border. Last year, Border Patrol agents seized 326,393 pounds of marijuana, second only to the agency’s Tucson sector. It also seized about 1,460 pounds of cocaine, the most of any sector. Nearly 187,000 illegal border crossers were apprehended here in 2016, the most of any Border Patrol sector.”

I see the need for greater security.

But seizing the land and building a wall? This fight is just beginning.

Oh, we can forget about Mexico paying for the wall — if it ever gets built!

Trump’s loud talk produces diminished illegal immigration

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly gives Donald J. Trump ample credit in the fight to stem illegal immigration into the United States of America.

U.S. officials report a dramatic decline in illegal crossings along our southern border. Kelly’s reasoning? The president’s loud and persistent complaints about illegal immigration somehow has deterred people from coming into the country without proper documentation.

I kind of understand the secretary’s logic. Moreover, I am willing to give the president great credit for talking a good game.

Kelly more or less echoes the thoughts expressed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who, according to USA Today, said the following: “This is a new era,” Sessions declared during last week’s trip to Nogales, Ariz. “This is the Trump era. The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws, and the catch-and-release practices of old are over.”

I beg to differ with the AG on whether the previous administration’s policies somehow were more lax than, say, those of earlier administrations. President Obama became known as the “deporter in chief,” as his administration caught and deported record number of undocumented immigrants during his two terms in office.

Now, about that wall.

I give Trump all the credit in the world for whatever impact his loud and boisterous rhetoric has had on those seeking to enter the United States illegally.

Here is my question of the day pertaining to this issue: Does a precipitous decline in illegal border crossings now render “the wall” that Trump wants to build irrelevant?

I live in a border state, albeit we’re a good distance from the southern border. I’ve ventured along the border twice in the past few weeks and haven’t witnessed anything approaching a “horde” of criminals crossing the border.

Perhaps if the president keeps harping out loud about what he intends to do when his administration’s border officials catch illegal immigrants, then there might be even less need for a wall.

I’ve heard already from too many immigration experts who tell us that a wall won’t stop illegal crossings. Desperate individuals can  be quite creative in looking for ways over, under or around such barriers.

If Secretary Kelly is willing to give the president’s rhetoric for stemming the flow of illegal immigration, I am more than happy to accept it as a contributing factor.

Keep talking, Mr. President.

Private prisons remain a detestable idea

Oh, how I hate the principle of letting private firms incarcerate prisoners.

Yet, according to USA Today, the private-prison industry thinks it’s about to score big if Donald J. Trump goes ahead with his plan to round up millions of people who are in the United States illegally.

These outfits have given big money to Trump and now see a potential payoff if the president follows through with his pledge to put all the illegal immigrants behind bars before deporting them.

Let me offer this notion about private prisons.

First of all, the public already pays police officers, prosecutors, judges and juries to arrest, detain and prosecute criminals. The public, therefore, ought to be responsible for their incarceration when they are convicted of crimes.

It’s a social responsibility thing, the way I see it.

Second of all, if the president believes illegal immigration presents a dire threat to our national security, our way of life and our national identity, doesn’t that mean that the public should step up and foot the bill for these alleged threats?

Here is how USA Today reports the issue: “Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security issued sweeping new instructions to carry out Trump’s executive orders on immigration. They require all federal agents — including Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — to identify, capture and quickly deport undocumented immigrants.

“Significantly for private-prison operators, the orders also require that undocumented people caught entering the country be detained until their cases are resolved, ending the ‘catch and release’ program in which undocumented immigrants were processed by immigration agents, released into the USA and ordered to reappear for court hearings.”

So now the Trump administration wants to farm out this responsibility to for-profit prison companies? I’m trying to understand where the nation derives the cost savings if it is going to pay these companies to do what state and local authorities should be doing.

And I haven’t even mentioned the public oversight of the manner in which these private lockups are managed.

The idea of private prisons is loony, in my view. If we’re going spend public money to send criminals to prison, we need to spend public money to ensure they are treated humanely.

And that includes illegal immigrants.

Build a wall? With our money, Mr. President? No thank you

Donald J. Trump is continuing his war of words with our nation’s southern neighbor.

The president says he still plans to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. He keeps making boasts about making Mexico pay for it because “they’re sending rapists, murderers and drug dealers” into the United States.

Of course, the president never has stipulated who he means by “they.” Let’s presume something for a moment: Trump is referring to the Mexican government.


Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has responded on two fronts.

First, he is considering scrapping a planned visit to the United States to meet with the new president over his latest remarks about the wall.

Second, he’s continuing to insist that Mexico ain’t paying for the wall. Period. End of discussion.

According to The Associated Press: “Pena Nieto said he regrets and condemns the decision to build the wall, saying ‘I have said time and time again, Mexico will not pay for any wall.'”

So, the question must be posed to Donald Trump: What part of “no” doesn’t he understand?

Is he going to storm Mexico’s presidential palace at Los Pinos with weapons drawn and demand they pay? Is he going to launch an all-out trade war with one of this nation’s major trading partners?

Absent Mexico paying for the wall, then the final option is to saddle U.S. taxpayers with a monstrous bill to pay for a project that has little chance of succeeding at what Trump intends for it: which is to stop illegal immigration in its tracks.

He calls U.S. immigration policy the equivalent of “catch and release.”

If the Mexican president were to ask me, I’d say he ought to go to the meeting with Trump and tell him to his face: We won’t pay for it! Then he ought to tell his colleague: Mr. President, let’s work together to strengthen border security with more reasonable and achievable strategies; this build-a-wall notion is nutty and it will … not … work!

Perhaps he also can tell the U.S. president that he ought to apologize for demonizing the Mexican government — and Mexican citizens in general. That won’t happen, but President Pena Nieto ought to go on the record with the demand.

Texas lawmakers oppose Trump wall … who knew?


Texas happens to constitute the largest single-state border with Mexico.

Do members of the Texas congressional delegation endorse Donald Trump’s notion of building a wall across our nation’s southern border?

Umm. No.


No Democratic member of the delegation favors the wall. Republicans who comprise a large majority of the state’s congressional delegation, interestingly, also are decidedly cool to the idea.

The Texas Tribune reports that Trump’s notion of building the wall runs headlong into a politically conservative principle. Check this out: “Among many Texas Republicans in Congress, the concept, while popular with the party’s base, collides with another conservative tenant: eminent domain.

“A wall would require the confiscation of ranching land near the Rio Grande, and several Texas Republicans expressed concern about the federal government taking away property — often held by families for generations — and the legal tangles that would inevitably arise from that.”

Well now. Do you think congressional Republicans will go along with federal seizure of private property, which happens to be a huge issue throughout our large state where private property owners possess almost every acre of land? There happen to be plenty of Republicans in New Mexico, Arizona and California who also adhere to the principle that private ownership is more important than a government takeover of property.

Eminent domain looms as the bogeyman that well could doom Trump’s ill-considered assertion that building a “beautiful wall” will end illegal immigration.