Coordinating the invaders

In reporting on the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Trump administration to keep it’s “remain in Mexico” policy in place for “asylum” seekers, the Wall Street Journal adds this telling piece of information:

Within hours of the Ninth Circuit court’s decision blocking the policy, hundreds of migrants queued at ports of entry in San Diego, El Paso, Texas, and Brownsville, Texas, some clutching printed copies of the court’s ruling, asking border officials to allow them into the U.S. They were turned away.   (emphasis added)

As Glenn Reynolds observed, “the migrant crowd sounds surprisingly well organized.”

Those who want to throw the border open try to tug on heartstrings by saying these poor, poor people being kept in Mexico are having to live in crowded tent cities near border crossings.  This raises a couple questions for me:

  1. If they’re so poor and vulnerable, how do they erect tent cities (note this picture)?
  2. How did these desperate outcasts quickly get printed copies of the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling (presumably in English, to better pressure U.S. agents at the border)?

These waves of migrants crashing against our border are not completely spontaneous, self-resourced affairs.  Despite the sob stories that get printed, they’re not walking the entire way from wherever in Central America (or elsewhere…); they get plenty of lifts along the way.  Plenty of humanitarian organizations are providing logistical support, not realizing that by doing so, they’re encouraging more migrants to travel to the very conditions they allegedly decry.

Which brings up another point:

Human Rights First, an advocacy group that opposes the policy, said it found more than 1,000 public reports of kidnappings, torture, rape and assaults of asylum-seekers returned to Mexico.

It would be helpful to know if these are cases of Mexican cartels preying on some of the people they often make money smuggling into the U.S., or if it’s migrants themselves attacking other migrants, or if, like many useful statistics, the numbers are just plucked from thin air.  Any of these is possible.  Many who’ve broken the law just entering the country have only added to their rap sheet once here.

The bottom line is history shows illegal immigrants and “asylum seekers” (but I largely repeat myself), once admitted to the United States, disappear and fail to show up for court dates, etc.  That’s why the administration now requires asylum applicants to wait in Mexico.  That kind of realism, and support for constructing effective border barriers was long overdue.  Thank goodness the Supreme Court agrees with the president — for now, at least.

Now we need to identify and render ineffective the various groups that work actively to undermine our nation’s sovereignty by aiding and abetting the wave of illegal immigration we currently face.  That includes politicians who support “sanctuary” policies.

A pivotal pathogen?

COVID-19 is now the topic du jour across the planet.  Perhaps nothing exemplifies the interconnectivity of our world than a novel virus that appears in China, then spreads to every continent but Antarctica.  As such, it’s causing humanity to rethink a number of trends.  We may look back on this time as a pivotal one.

The reaction to the excesses of globalism had already begun with the election of Donald Trump, who appealed in 2016 to those most left behind by the paradigm.  For the first time since Ross Perot warned in 1992 of the “giant sucking sound” of industry that would be pulled out of America through the North American Free Trade Agreement and similar arrangements, a president openly questioned whether the status quo was truly beneficial to America.  Long-ignored trade deficits with potential rivals such as China came under scrutiny, as did the practice of obtaining essential goods through such sources.

Today’s coronavirus scare will accelerate that trend, regardless how mild or deadly the virus is in the end, because for the first time, the vulnerabilities inherent in globalism are easy to understand:

While many are rightfully concerned about stopping the virus, few are focused on the fact that the more it spreads, the more the U.S. ability to treat any Americans who are stricken is vulnerable to the tender mercies of the Chinese Communist Party because of a strategic shift in health care that occurred without debate or decision in Washington.

Everything from antibiotics to chemotherapy drugs, from antidepressants to Alzheimer’s medications to treatments for HIV/AIDS, are frequently produced by Chinese manufacturers. What’s more, the most effective breathing masks and the bulk of other personal protective equipment — key to containing the spread of coronavirus and protecting health care workers — and even the basic syringe are largely made in China. The basic building blocks of U.S. health care are now under Xi’s control.

The list doesn’t stop at medical commodities, either.  The Trump administration has recognized how dependent the U.S. had become on China as a source of rare earth minerals, a strategic category of raw materials upon which many modern devices depend.  The U.S. has deposits of such minerals, but largely lacks the capacity to mine and process them — after all, everything is done more cheaply in China, right?

We are beginning to realize the multifaceted hidden costs of offshoring — costs that were never publicly factored into the promotion of globalism.  Over time, the public has come to appreciate how many manufacturing jobs were lost — jobs that provided useful work and a “living wage.”  Most criticism of the emerging global economy has been predicated on that aspect.  But what was good for the corporate bottom line devastated families both in the U.S. (unemployment and despair as skills became irrelevant) and in China (sweatshop hours, bad working conditions and little pay).  In fact, one of the revelations of the current crisis is just how bad China’s industrial and urban pollution has become.  In short, it’s cheaper to make things in China because labor can be underpaid or even conscripted, there are no Occupational Safety and Health Administration-type standards to worry about, and none of the manufacturers there have to worry about mitigating pollution (at least, until it embarrasses the government).  Those tacky inflatable holiday lawn figures (sorry, personal pet peeve) and other assorted non-essential trinkets cost far more than what WalMart charged the consumer who purchased them.

Globalism isn’t the only paradigm that will be questioned in the weeks ahead. Ever since the dawn of the Industrial Age, work increasingly has been performed outside the home, concentrated first in factories and then offices.  This drove a reorganization of society.  Families spent more time apart, as fathers, then mothers, increasingly found their sustenance by working for others.  This led to children learning more from schools and other institutions than from growing and learning within a family economy.  People left the countryside for the cities to find work.  The rise of suburbia cemented the necessity of automobiles and led to the invention of the traffic jam as infrastructure failed to keep pace.  Only since the creation of the internet has there been a serious attempt to change this equation by finding ways to work from home.

While it isn’t practical for every type of work, telecommuting may be about to get a huge turbocharge:

In the past week, companies across the U.S. have started canceling major conferences, halting most business travel and urging employees to work from home in response to the growing viral outbreak in the country. Few will require telecom operations as vast and complicated as ICANN’s, but as companies such as Twitter and Microsoft start shifting to virtual work en masse, the vision of a decentralized work world long promised by telecommuting evangelists is starting to materialize.

Even if businesses intend for their policies to be a temporary response to COVID-19, once it’s discovered that desk-based workers can be productive — possibly more so — without being corralled into cubicles, the public may seriously question a return to the old ways, with its long commutes, office squabbles and occasional control freaks.

Higher education has been gravitating toward more online learning for some time now.  As a result, many universities and colleges are somewhat prepared to continue their activity remotely by scaling up what they’re already doing in some areas.  The same cannot be said of most public elementary and secondary schools.

What if this pandemic led to decentralization, more time with family instead of traffic, increasing interest in homeschooling options, a desire for national self-sufficiency and security, and a return of well-paying industrial jobs to the U.S.?  There is a possibility the blight of COVID-19 may contain the seeds of long-term benefits.  The city of Enterprise, Alabama, has a monument to the boll weevil, an insect that devastated the cotton economy of the southern U.S. in the early 1900s.  Despite the infestation, farmers were reluctant to abandon cotton, due to its profit and ability to grow on land few other cash crops could tolerate.

Enter the lowly peanut.  An Enterprise (and enterprising) man convinced some farmers to switch to peanuts, and those who did found their fortunes rising.  By 1919, as the boll weevil continued its destruction, the county around Enterprise, Alabama, was the largest producer of peanuts in the country, and shortly began to produce peanut oil.  Local farmers continued to diversify their crops, adding sugar cane, potatoes and others, and the area found renewed prosperity.  All because of necessity brought on by a bug.

What lasting changes will today’s “bug” bring?

Make lawlessness consequential again

Many Americans continue to look on in disbelief as States, cities and even judges(!) thumb their nose at Federal immigration law, actively aiding and abetting illegal immigrants in eluding Federal agents.  President Andrew Jackson wasn’t about to put up with nullification when South Carolina used the theory to declare it wouldn’t collect tariffs.  And it appears the current administration is running out of patience with modern nullificationists:

Attorney General William Barr said Monday that the Justice Department will review the policies of sanctuary cities to determine if they’re a breaking federal law that prohibits the “harboring or shielding of aliens in the United States.”

“When we are talking about sanctuary cities, we’re talking about policies that are designed to allow criminal aliens to escape,” Barr said.

“These policies are not about people who came to our country illegally, but have otherwise been peaceful and productive members of society. The express purpose of these policies is to shelter aliens whom local law enforcement have already arrested for crimes,” he added.

At least one Senator is looking to put some teeth into the administration’s pushback:

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) announced on a conference call Wednesday that she was proposing a bill to block grant funding from the Department of Justice for local law enforcement in states with sanctuary policies that allow illegal immigrants to receive drivers’ licenses…

A similar measure was proposed by Justice Department under then-attorney general Jeff Sessions in 2017 to combat sanctuary policies, but federal judges in Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, and New York all subsequently ruled against the Trump administration.

It amazes me that federal judges would hamstring the federal government’s constitutional duties to regulate immigration.  As a country, we have made it far too easy to be an illegal alien.  In addition to States granting drivers licenses (based on what documentation?), we publish our official documents and election materials in multiple languages, at a not insignificant cost.  And while there’s occasionally a publicized raid on a company knowingly employing illegal immigrants, the penalties are usually less than the profit margin the companies make by hiring them, often at less than minimum wage (since they can’t file a complaint).  How about yanking the business license of such organizations?

People talk about “bringing illegals out of the shadows,” and “reducing the stigma of illegal entry.”  No!  Human beings respond to incentives and disincentives.  Right now the incentive to come to this country illegally is huge.  For all the administration says it has stopped “catch and release,” the reality is that millions of border violators have been turned loose with no way to hold them accountable for their court date as long as they stay out of sight.  And there are too many officials in State and city governments eager to help them do just that.

Are we a sovereign nation of laws, or one big doormat upon which anyone may tread at will?

Accessories to murder

I’m really tired of reading stories like this:

Jose Bryan Guzman, an 18-year-old illegal alien from El Salvador, is accused of murdering 19-year-old Marlene Yamileth Portillo-Posada — who he was apparently dating at the time — on August 24 by strangling her to death because Guzman believed Portillo-Posada was cheating on him…

In December 2018, Guzman was arrested by the Durham Police Department after allegedly robbing two victims at gunpoint in separate incidents. The same month as the armed robberies, Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead announced that he was ending all cooperation with ICE, turning the region into a sanctuary jurisdiction.

Subsequently, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency requested that the sanctuary county of Durham County hold Guzman until he could be properly turned over to agents.  Instead, Durham County officials ignored ICE’s request and released him into the general public in March — six months before he allegedly murdered his girlfriend…

In Fiscal Year 2019, North Carolina sanctuary jurisdictions freed about 563 illegal aliens from custody instead of turning them over to ICE agents. Of those illegal aliens released, more than 500 have been convicted of crimes, including 28 convicted of assault, 192 convicted on traffic violations, 84 convicted of drunk driving, 46 convicted of possession of drugs, and 35 convicted of larceny.

State and local officials who want to play the “sanctuary game” are showing utter contempt for the rule of law and the safety of those they are supposed to serve.  I don’t see any reason not to charge them as accessories to these sorts of crimes, since by ignoring the ICE holding request they facilitated the commission of the crimes.  In addition, any jurisdiction that refuses to cooperate with ICE should lose all Federal funding of any kind.  Even the uber-Left 9th Circuit had to admit the administration has such discretion, though in practice this penalty is far from being tightly applied.

The only way to deter these local virtue-signaling scofflaws is to put their skin in the game.  It’s long past time we do just that.

How do we honor our dead?

Today – Memorial Day – is supposed to be a remembrance of all those who perished while serving in uniform, defending this nation.  It’s fitting that we have such a day.

But do we really honor our fallen?  This picture captures well the fact that today’s peace is underpinned by yesterday’s carnage:

holding up society

Would you be incensed if the young man in jeans was wearing a swastika armband?  I’d venture most Americans would.  It would show an appalling lack of appreciation how many of the dead represented in the image died to destroy Hitler’s regime.  But what if the young lady were wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt?  Or if the child were dressed in the uniform of the Soviet-era Young Pioneers, complete with a badge picturing Lenin?

Continue reading

Removing incentives for invasion

The southern border of the United States is little more than a line on a map these days.  Migrants are flooding across it in unprecedented numbers, overwhelming the Border Patrol and the immigration courts charged with sorting legitimate claims of asylum from the far greater number of people using it as a wedge for entry.

The word is out: if you want to cut the long line of people waiting legally to immigrate to America, just sneak across the southern border and ask for asylum. Every day now, Customs and Border Protection agents stop more than 3,000 people entering the U.S. illegally and the number has been trending upward rapidly. No one knows how many others slip through undetected.

Almost all of these people fail to meet the definition of a refugee, which is someone with a specific and well-founded fear of persecution in the place they are fleeing. But they have been coached to say the magic words necessary for arresting officers to begin a lengthy adjudication of whether or not they are bona fide refugees deserving asylum — which can take years. Thanks to permissive laws and activist progressive judges — especially those on the renegade Ninth Circuit based in San Francisco — the government must often release these asylum-seekers into America, after which most will evade authorities unless they are caught for another crime.

This is ridiculous.  The current broken process is nothing but incentive for more of the same, as people realize once they’re here, they’re here more or less for good, legitimately or not.  But there’s a way to remove that incentive:

We should take a page from the past and transport asylum-seekers to our base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  The public is most familiar with the use of “Gitmo,” as it is known in military lingo, for detaining high-level terrorists — illegal combatants caught on the battlefield who are awaiting military tribunals (at which the Pentagon has also failed). But Gitmo was used to house two large waves of Haitian immigrants trying to come to America illegally in the 1990s during the administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Keeping them there and repatriating the vast number who were not legitimate asylum-seekers created a disincentive for more to come.

Yes, let’s get the word out that dubious claims of asylum will get you an indefinite stay on Cuba until your hearing, after which you will be returned directly to your country of origin, having never been turned loose within the United States.  To top it off, let’s get a complete biometric profile on everyone we have to process this way, and make it clear that future attempts to enter the country illegally will be met with much more unpleasant consequences.

This is hardly cruel and unusual.  I’ve been to Naval Station Guantanamo.  The weather is lovely, and so is the island.  No need to use the prison facilities – just set up large campgrounds within which they’re free to move around until their case is adjudicated.  There is no legitimate objection to doing this — the only people who would complain are those within our own country who seek to facilitate this invasion under legal cover.  Frankly, I think some of them could use an extended stay in Guantanamo as well.  The word ‘treason’ is thrown around lightly these days.  But actively undermining one’s own nation and its sovereignty would seem to fit the classic definition pretty well.

Save up all your tears

Shocked at Trump’s intention of giving Sanctuary cities exactly what they say they want — more illegal immigrants — Cher cries “what about Americans?”

Cher Tweet

I particularly liked the “(Many are VETS)” part, given current trends:

Democrats in Albany may be having second thoughts about blocking a bill that would help children of injured or fallen veterans go to college…

The committee instead approved $27 million in tuition assistance to so-called “dreamers” – students brought to the country by their parents illegally when they were children.

“Taxpayer money for free college for illegal immigrants… yet struck down a bill that provides free college tuition to gold star families. Absolutely wrong and insulting,” Assemblyman Michael Lipetri of Long Island’s 9th District added.

That a leftist like Cher is suddenly tweeting like a “deplorable” shows how effective Trump is at twisting them like a pretzel around their own politics.  It’s my fervent hope that undecided and independent Americans are looking at the Democrats’ reactions to his proposal to send illegals to “sanctuary” cities and asking “so wait… then why is it OK to inflict that on everyone else?”

We don’t need to just reelect Trump in 2020.  We need to give him a Congress fully prepared to support him.

A shift in the narrative?

I can only hope that Conrad Black is correct, and that the majority of people are waking up to the fact the Left and the media (but I repeat myself) have been projecting false realities as smokescreens since late 2016:

For more than two years, the United States and the world have had two competing narratives: that an elected president of the United States was a Russian agent whom the Kremlin helped elect; and its rival narrative that senior officials of the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, and other national intelligence organizations had repeatedly lied under oath, misinformed federal officials, and meddled in partisan political matters illegally and unconstitutionally and had effectively tried to influence the outcome of a presidential election, and then undo its result by falsely propagating the first narrative. It is now obvious and indisputable that the second narrative is the correct one.

The authors, accomplices, and dupes of this attempted overthrow of constitutional government are now well along in reciting their misconduct without embarrassment or remorse because—in fired FBI Director James Comey’s formulation—a “higher duty” than the oath they swore to uphold the Constitution compelled them. Or—in fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s words—“the threat” was too great. Nevermind that the nature of “the threat” was that the people might elect someone he and Comey disapproved of as president, and that that person might actually serve his term, as elected.

Black concludes that “Without realizing the proportions of the emergency, America has survived the greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War.”  Call me a jaded pessimist, but I think it might be too early to say that with any certainty.  Just because Trump’s enemies’ narratives are unravelling doesn’t mean they are any less committed to removing him from power, or at the least trying to hobble his freedom of action through “lawfare.”  Their actions over the past two years define the term “subversion.” Meanwhile, Trump’s base (including me) is increasingly exasperated that those miscreants have yet to see any semblance of justice applied to them, and that States and cities continue to defy the Federal government by declaring themselves “sanctuaries” for unauthorized invaders.

No, we haven’t “survived” anything yet.  We just don’t know how long the fuse is on this particular powder keg, or whether anybody can unlight it.  And yes, it’s appropriate to compare it to the crisis of the Civil War.  These are not ordinary political differences.  They are instead existential in nature.

Stay tuned, boys and girls.  In the meantime, ask yourself how prepared you and your loved ones are if the explosion does occur, and take action accordingly.

For those with ears to hear

I was impressed by President Trump’s State of the Union address.  It was one of his better public speaking performances, and whoever helped him craft the remarks instilled some great message discipline.  The speech covered a wide range of topics, some of which I thought could have been left for a different venue in order to tighten up the key points.  But those key points shone through, as this analysis by Glenn Reynolds shows:

So one of the interesting things about Trump’s speech last night is how it seemed calculated to demolish all the standard anti-Trump tropes from the media and from the left and to do so with compelling imagery. Consider:

Trump’s a Nazi: Praise for Holocaust survivors, and a touching rendition of “Happy Birthday.” (With Trump waving his fingers like a conductor).
Trump hates minorities: Brags about record low black, Hispanic, and Asian unemployment — while white-clad Democratic women, overwhelmingly white themselves, sat prune-faced.
Trump’s a Russian tool: Withdrawing from the INF Treaty.
Trump’s a warmonger: Without me, Trump says, we’d be at war on the Korean peninsula. Also, I’m looking at pulling out of Afghanistan.
Trump hates women: Except he got even the prune-faced white-clad Democratic women up dancing (and chanting “USA! USA!”) when he talked about record female employment in and out of Congress.

And his rebuke to socialism was designed to strip the glamour that the media have tried to imbue it with by tying it to the abject misery of Venezuela.

In debate, I think this is called cutting across your opponent’s flow. ((As a former competitive debater, I can confirm that term.  – Jemison))  And I think it’s Trump’s opening shot at 2020, as well as an effort to undercut the “Resistance” in and out of Congress. Plus, as Ann Althouse notes, despite the predictions of lefties like Robert Reich (see below) it was all wrapped in optimism and sunny American exceptionalism.

Genuinely Reaganesque.

There’s one Reynolds missed.  While I’m not in favor of the government providing taxpayer-funded family leave after the birth of a child, I was very glad to see him pivot from the “image of a mother holding her new baby” to the horrors of the recent pro-abortion legislation in New York and Virginia.  The contrast was deliberate and well-executed, followed by a call to Congress to outlaw late-term abortion (it’s a start).

Overall I was encouraged by the way in which the speech was an invitation to work together for the good of the country, without retreating from strongly held policy positions.  If the goal in politics is to capture the middle ground, I think Trump did a good job of it last night.

Naturally, many in the country today are dismissing everything he had to say.  Some, like Senator Chuck Schumer, were dismissing it even before hearing it.  No matter how reasonable Trump tries to be, nor how many facts he arms his talking points with, there will continue to be those partisans who refuse to listen.  Not only because they are invested in the Democratic party, but because they abhor the vision of America Trump’s election represents — a return to the roots, if you will.  The most “Reaganesque” moment of the speech in my opinion was when Trump pledged our nation would never be a socialist country.  The fact there were audible boos in the halls of Congress to this rejection of socialism should be a wakeup call to Americans who value their freedom.  It is not hyperbole to say there are members of Congress dedicated to subverting everything our Constitution and our history stand for.  They will not be swayed by reasonable arguments, demonstrable facts or the evidences of history.  They will have to be fought tooth and nail as if the survival of our nation depends on it.

Because it does.

A guy can hope

President Trump sent word this afternoon he will make a major announcement from the White House tomorrow at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.  Were I his speech writer, my draft would look something like this:

My fellow Americans,

For the past 29 days, parts of your Federal Government have been shut down due to the lack of an authorized budget for 2019.  About 800,000 workers have been on furlough, uncertain when they will see their next paycheck.  Essential services like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, on which many Americans depend, are close to exhausting their resources and leaving citizens in danger of hunger and other financial hardships.

This intolerable situation exists for only one reason: the refusal of the Democratic leadership in Congress to approve funding our Border Patrol personnel have requested to secure our nation’s border and maintain our right to determine who may enter.  While the Democrats profess sympathy for those affected by these events, their actions show otherwise.  Last weekend many Congressmen were enjoying sunny Puerto Rico, in the company of over 100 lobbyists.  I was here, in the White House, waiting to discuss the issue.  This week, Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats planned to take a taxpayer-funded seven-day trip overseas, until I denied the use of our military resources for such travel at a time when portions of our government are without funding.  As I pointed out in my letter to Speaker Pelosi, our people are better served if she and Senator Schumer remain here in Washington so we can resolve this issue.

I campaigned in 2016 with a strong promise I would secure our border against illegal immigration and the flow of narcotics.  Our broken border and immigration processes have been political talking points for more than 30 years.  Now, the current opioid crisis and the documented number of violent crimes committed by those who break into our country prove the urgent need for action.  I was entrusted with this office by Americans who expected me to uphold my promise to act.  And I will.

As I speak, another caravan of migrants has been organized and is moving north through Mexico, seeking to enter our country without permission.  The defense of our nation is my greatest responsibility, and I have urged Congress for two years to provide the resources we need to meet these kinds of challenges.  But national security seems to be the only government spending program Democrats don’t like.  Therefore, I am declaring a National Emergency with regard to the illegal entry of persons and illegal substances into this country.  As part of this declaration, I have directed the Defense Department to provide all possible support that may be requested by the Customs and Border Patrol to enable them to detect, detain and quickly return to their country of origin anyone found crossing our border illegally.  I have also directed the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed immediately with the construction of additional physical barriers on our border, prioritizing locations and types of barriers as the Border Patrol believes will best secure our frontier.  I have directed the Defense Department to divert five percent of all previously approved operational funds for 2019 to enable the immediate start of this construction, and to support the agency’s assistance to the Border Patrol.

In addition, the State Department has been directed to cease processing of all immigration requests, including programs like the H-1B work visa, until the current impasse is resolved and the government restored to full funding.

To our hard working Customs and Border Patrol, I offer the thanks of a grateful America for the critical work you do. To our armed forces, I am confident in your ability to mobilize quickly the resources needed to aid our border agents.  To our furloughed Federal workers, I regret you have been placed in this position.  If Congress had passed their appropriation bills on time, and kept in mind my pleas not to leave out border funding yet again, we would not be where we are today.

A nation that cannot control its own borders loses control of its future.  If we cannot protect our sovereignty, nothing else we do will make or keep America great.  It is a blessing to have been born here, and we protect that blessing for our descendants by ensuring those who join us here show respect for the customs and laws that made our land attractive in the first place.  The actions I announced today are only a small start in solving the problem of our broken border and immigration policies.  I urge my counterparts in Congress to work with me in good faith to find long-lasting solutions for this and other issues facing our nation.  When you’re ready to do so, you know where to find me.  I urge you not to waste another 29 days.

Like I said, a guy can hope, right?