Tag Archives: immigration

POTUS to declare a made-up ’emergency’?

I am just going to stand with those who believe that there is no “national emergency” occurring on our southern border.

Does that mean that we have no problem with illegal immigration? Of course not! It means that the president of the United States, Donald Trump, is seriously overstating the situation to suit some political agenda he wants to fulfill.

Trump has pledged to build The Wall along our southern border. He cannot persuade Congress to give him all the money he wants to build it. So he now intends to sign a border security agreement while declaring the existence of a phony “national emergency.”

How many times must it be said: There is no national emergency on our nation’s southern border!

But the president will not be dissuaded. He won’t be deterred. He won’t let facts get in the way of his bogus boastfulness about building The Wall.

Don’t misunderstand me. I do not favor “open borders.” I want our borders secured as much as Donald Trump does. Hell, maybe more so! I simply do not believe the president’s ridiculous assertion about the presence of an “emergency” existing on the border.

Trump wants to usurp Congress’s role in appropriating money for government projects. He seems intent on diverting money to build The Wall from other actual emergencies.

The most galling example of that is a report that the president intends to take money earmarked for disaster relief in California and Puerto Rico for construction of The Wall. Hmm. How in the world can this be seen as anything other than political payback for the intense criticism the president has received for his policies in general and for his response to disasters in those two disparate regions?

The “national emergency” on our border with Mexico is a figment of Donald Trump’s fixation with pleasing his political base.

This fixation makes me sick.

Trump ‘wins,’ but declares emergency anyway?

What am I missing here?

Donald Trump said that we’re already building The Wall along our southern border. A bipartisan group of senators and House members have worked out a deal to keep the government functioning fully while spending $1.37 billion for more fencing/wall/barriers along our southern border.

The president said he is “unhappy” with the agreement. The Senate has approved it. He said he’ll sign it.

Oh, but then the president reportedly is going to declare a “national emergency” to push ahead with more construction of The Wall.

Holy crap, man! My head is spinning . . . rapidly!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she might file a legal challenge to the president’s effort to usurp Congress’s budgeting authority; Trump’s declaration would enable him, he says, to divert money from other projects to build The Wall.

The speaker says, in effect, “No can do, Mr. President, and I might take you to court to prove my point.”

McConnell flips on emergency

What puzzles me is that Donald Trump and his allies have declared victory, more or less, because they contend The Wall already is being built. Why, then, declare a national emergency? Indeed, there is no emergency on the border.

I am going to agree with Nancy Pelosi, who said today that the president ought to declare the rash of gun violence in our schools and other public places as a real national emergency. 

It’s all about ‘compromise,’ Mr. President; sign the deal

I could swear on a stack of Bibles I heard Donald Trump say the word “compromise” during his State of the Union speech the other evening.

He mentioned it as one of the benchmarks he said he seeks to set as he and Congress look for ways to govern the United States of America.

So, we have a deal to avert a partial government shutdown. The deal contains some money for The Wall, but not the $5.7 billion Trump wanted. It contains some other perks and expenditures to stiffen security along our border.

Trump returned from his campaign rally in El Paso and said he is unhappy with what a bipartisan group of senators and House members cobbled together. He said he needed time to — cough, cough! — “study” the deal that has found its way to the White House.

Effective legislating almost always requires compromise, which means no one gets what they want fully. You have to give a little here and little there and then you come up with something that is mutually acceptable.

I believe that’s what we have in this deal. I wouldn’t consider it perfect, either.

However, it moves us along and gives everyone ample breathing room to consider longer-term repairs to whatever the hell it is that troubles them.

Sign the damn deal, Mr. President! You pledged to work toward a system of government that includes “compromise.” Here’s your chance to prove — for once! — that you’re a man of your word.

No back-slapping, high-fiving on this deal, Congress

Wait for it. Members of Congress are likely to pat themselves on the back, toast each other with adult beverages over an agreement “in principle” they have reached that aims to avoid another partial government shutdown.

A bipartisan negotiating group has come up with a border security plan that provides some money for The Wall, but which falls a good bit short of the amount of money that Donald Trump insisted should be spent.

They announced the agreement tonight. They’ll draft the legislation Tuesday.

The president could torpedo this deal. He should think long and hard before he considers it.

Congress should avoid the back-slapping just because it came up with a deal that keeps the government up and running. This incredible sequence of events has been a terrible demonstration of how not to govern this great nation of ours.

The idea that we have a president who doesn’t know what the hell he is doing is bad enough. That we have a Congress that cannot craft a long-term budget that spares us this political melodrama only worsens Americans’ view of their government.

Yes, the president deserves the bulk of the blame for what we have witnessed, given his insistence on building The Wall. However, Congress isn’t full of political statesmen and women, either.

In support of a ‘nation of immigrants’

I am feeling the urge to stand once again in support of an ideal that occasionally gets lost in the hot-topic debating point of the moment.

We’re talking a lot these days about illegal immigrants. The discussion once in a while gravitates toward a discussion of all immigrants. Yes, even the foreigners who venture to our country legally get caught up in this discussion.

I am the grandson of immigrants. All four of them became great Americans. They came here of their choosing. They sought a better life than what they had in Greece and Turkey. They married — in this country — and brought 10 children into this world among them. Five of those children served in the U.S. military and of those five, three saw combat in World War II and Korea; my father was one of the WWII combat vets produced by the immigrants from Greece.

My story is not unique. It is one of tens of millions of stories that the immigrants and their direct descendants can and have told over the years.

That is precisely why I am mentioning it here.

It is that this nation of immigrants must not ever lose sight of its creation and the strength it has acquired from the work of those who came here and who built the nation we all love.

Yes, I know that many of those who came here from afar did not venture to our shores of their own volition. They were rounded up by slave traders and shipped across the ocean to become “property” of slaveowners. They obtained their freedom eventually while the United States was fighting a bloody and gruesome civil war over their enslavement.

Those Americans have become an important part of the national fabric. They achieved greatness.

This ongoing debate over whether to erect The Wall along our southern border is intended ostensibly to curb illegal immigration. In actuality whatever is occurring on our border is a longstanding event.

But as we keep yapping and yammering at each other over whether The Wall is worth the expense, we must take care to avoid that slippery-slope debating point that swallows up those who have ventured here lawfully.

I have heard it said over many years that we need to slam the door shut, that we have enough immigrants here already. Indeed, the president of the United States has talked openly about establishing a merit-based system that screens those seeking entry, allowing only those who possess the requisite skills to succeed in this Land of Opportunity.

That is as un-American a proposal as I can imagine, given the contributions that those four immigrants from southern Europe I mentioned earlier brought to this country. They weren’t well-educated. They didn’t come with special training or skill.

Instead, they all came to our land intent on falling in love with this great nation. They did. The nation was enriched by their presence.

Let us not forget that they are far from the only immigrants who can — and who have built — the greatest nation on Earth.

Where is the ’emergency,’ Mr. POTUS?

So help me, Mr. President, I am having a devil of a time trying to pinpoint where the “national emergency” is occurring on our nation’s southern border.

Is it along the Rio Grande River, which separates Texas from Mexico? I keep reading how safe El Paso has become sitting across the river from Juarez. Is it at Nogales or Yuma in Arizona, or at San Diego?

We keep hearing this stuff about how “illegal” crossings have declined. There’s also the number of immigrants we are deporting back to the countries of their origin.

You keep harping about a national emergency occurring on our border. You keep insisting you have the power to declare such an emergency and that you just might do so if congressional Democrats don’t fork over the billions of bucks you want to build The Wall.

Oh, but what the heck. You know that already.

What I and I’ll presume millions of other Americans want to know is this: How do you define an emergency and what evidence can you present that demonstrates that an emergency actually exists?

Look, Mr. President, I’m with you on the issue of border security. I want a secure border just as much as you do. Maybe more so, given that I live in a border state. You can scurry off to Florida or to New Jersey or New York City when you’re not holed up in the “dump” — aka the White House.

The Wall, though, is too expensive, it is too cumbersome, it is too fraught with legal complexities relating to eminent domain and Fifth Amendment guarantees of “just compensation” for property the government will have to seize from private owners.

Just settle on legislation that allows the expenditure of more money on technology we’re already using to secure our southern border, Mr. President.

I believe House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is good with that. So, let’s get it done. Do not declare an emergency, Mr. President, because I believe there is no emergency to declare!

Dealmaker in chief backs down

So, the government is going to reopen for at least the next three weeks, right?

Donald “Master Dealmaker in Chief” Trump backed down from Democrats’ demands. We’re getting our entire federal government back in action — with no money for The Wall.

I don’t know whether to laugh or scream in disgust.

There’s nothing for the president to cheer. For that matter, I wouldn’t bet that Democrats are jumping for joy, either.

Why? They need to get to work. They have three weeks to hammer out a long term budget deal that includes some form of border security. Democrats aren’t likely to cave on The Wall. As for the president, no one seems able to predict what he’ll do.

Trump had held out for $5.7 billion for construction of The Wall along our southern border. If he doesn’t get cash for the structure by Feb. 15, he is pondering whether to declare a national emergency along the border and then ordering the military to build The Wall with money he would pilfer from other governmental accounts.

Let me think about this. It will prompt an immediate legal challenge by those who will contend that the president is acting unlawfully.

Was this a win for the president? Not even close! Have the Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer won anything? Nope.

Let’s . . . get . . . busy.

Dreamers must be a part of this shutdown solution

Donald J. Trump has managed to return the so-called “Dreamers” to the top of our minds as he and Congress hassle with each other over how to resolve this idiotic partial government shutdown catastrophe.

The Dreamers are those U.S. residents who were brought to this country illegally by their parents. Most of them likely came here as children. Perhaps they were babies, toddlers, very young people.

They were granted special status by Barack Obama who signed an executive order establishing a rule called Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals. Donald Trump rescinded that order, effectively putting these DACA recipients on notice that they would be deported, sent back to the country of their birth.

The government is partially shut down because Trump wants to build The Wall along our southern border. Congressional Democrats oppose it.

Then the president offered to give DACA recipients a three-year reprieve from deportation provided Congress allocates $5.7 billion to build The Wall. He has inched a little closer to the other side.

The Dreamers need to be given a break. They are here because of an illegal act that their parents committed. These U.S. residents — de facto Americans — need not be punished because they were too young to refuse to follow Mom and Dad across the U.S. border illegally.

Trump, though, faces pressure from his far-right flank. Talk-show hosts hate the DACA rule. They want all these individuals who know no other country than the United States to leave this country. Their uncertain future? Big deal, the right-wing talkers say. It’s not their problem.

I want the Dreamers to get a break. I want them to live in the country of their parents’ choice without fear of being sent into the great unknown.

Border Patrol: shutdown collateral damage

Talk about an unintended consequence.

Donald Trump said he would shut down the government over construction of The Wall along our southern border to increase border security.

So, part of the government shuts down. The U.S. Border Patrol continues to do its job, which is to secure the border. Except that the shutdown is depriving these valuable officers of their pay. It’s putting enormous stress on those officers.

Thus, it is — let’s see — oh, endangering national security. A stressed-out Border Patrol officer cannot do his or her job as well as someone who isn’t suffering from the pressure caused by a shutdown that deprives them of income.

How’s that security enhancement goal working out, Mr. President?

I’ve got the answer: Not worth a damn!

Mexico wouldn’t ‘write a check’? Really, Mr. President?

Hold on, Mr. President. Many millions of your fellow Americans aren’t going to let you get away with this one.

You now say that your boast about making “Mexico pay for the wall” did not mean that the country would cut us a check to pay for its construction.

You “meant” to infer that Mexico would pay for it indirectly. Is that what you’re saying now, Mr. President.

I have listened — along with millions of other Americans — to all that campaign-rally bellowing and bluster about how you intended to force Mexico foot the bill for The Wall. At no time did I ever hear you say, or even hint, that you intended for the “payment” to come in some form other than a direct disbursement of money from the Mexican treasury to our own treasury.

Mexican President (at the time) Enrique Pena Nieto declared that Mexico wouldn’t pay for The Wall. He never said publicly that Mexico would refuse to pay even indirectly.

Many of us, Mr. President, have presumed that you meant what you said out loud, and very loudly, at all those campaign rallies. We also remember how you exhorted  your crowds of faithful followers to answer the question: Who’s going to pay for The Wall? They would shout, “Mexico!” You cheered ’em on!

I’ve got the link to the Daily Mail story here. You are trying to tell us what you meant to say, which I presume is not what you actually said.

That’s a non-starter, Mr. President.

You have broken faith with the suckers who voted for you.