A president who cries wolf far too often?

President Donald Trump visits a new section of the border wall.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

When President Donald Trump insisted last year that America’s southern border was in crisis, his warnings landed with a thud.

Making unverified claims about “unknown Middle Easterners” and prayer rugs found by ranchers, Trump drew eye rolls from Democrats and many others, who derided his tactics as little more than an election-year stunt .

Now, six months later, Trump’s new cries of alarm are again being met with skepticism, though the situation at the border has indeed deteriorated. Lawmakers of both parties agree there is a genuine humanitarian emergency, with federal authorities and nonprofits unable to cope with the tens of thousands of Central American families seeking refuge in the U.S.

It’s a classic case of the boy who cried wolf.

No wonder the public is skeptical, says Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif. “There’s a humanitarian crisis and I think that there are steps we can take to help. Unfortunately the president has never been an honest broker about any of these solutions. He plays fast and loose with the facts.”

Trump and members of his administration have spent years blaming Democrats for failing to work with them to close what they describe as “loopholes” that encourage migrants to make the dangerous trek to the U.S. and that restrict the government’s ability to remove them once they arrive.

“Democrats in Congress must return from their Vacations and change the Immigration Laws, or the Border, despite the great job being done by Border Patrol, will only get worse,” Trump tweeted again on Wednesday.

But Democratic lawmakers and immigration activists say that, after years of incendiary comments and false starts, there is little appetite for cooperation with Trump on an issue that has vexed lawmakers for decades. The president, they say, has not only squandered potential goodwill, but also failed to demonstrate that he is genuinely interested in potential solutions.

Many also accuse the president of simply stoking the issue for his political benefit to energize his base and boost turnout ahead of his 2020 re-election race.

Democrats note, in particular, the president’s threat to send migrants immigration-friendly “sanctuary cities” in an effort to punish political foes as the starkest example of why they don’t trust the administration.

“The problem is he has made it political. He’s made it all about political revenge,” said Rep. Nanette Barragan, D-Calif., who sits on the Homeland Security committee. She said that Democrats would be happy to work with the White House to address the problem, but not under the current circumstances.

“If he’s truly interested in the southern border right now and what has been happening, then these policies need to change, this rhetoric has to change,” she said.

Aguilar, the congressman from California, said that if the White House were really serious, it would propose legislative language on potential changes it wants for Congress to review and debate.

There does appear at least to be discussion underway.

Last Wednesday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan met with several Democratic senators to discuss border security, said an aide to No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Dick Durbin of Illinois. The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a closed door meeting, said the talks were in early stages.

Other senators in the one-hour session included California’s Dianne Feinstein, in whose office the session was held, Jon Tester of Montana and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

For the most part, critics say, Trump has instead pushed ideas that have made things worse. Those include cutting off aid money to the Central American countries that migrants are fleeing; limiting asylum claims at legal ports of entry, which encourages migrants to cross illegally elsewhere, and threatening to completely close southern border crossings, which could have the same affect.

“The problem is we’re dealing with an administration that doesn’t want a solution,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz. He argued the administration could be doing far more to address the immediate crisis including incentivizing people to apply for asylum in their home countries so they don’t make the journey north, dedicating more resources to border facilities to process new arrivals and hiring more immigration judges to clear the backlog of asylum cases.

Some have also called for mobilizing FEMA and the Red Cross to help provide housing and health care as the government would in a natural disaster.

“Solutions aren’t really that hard,” Gallego said.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to portray asylum-seekers as dangerous figures trying to game the U.S. immigration system.

“You look at some of these people; you want protection from them. And they’re saying, ’We need protection from our country,” Trump said this week. “It’s a big con job. That’s what it is.”

“Trump’s rhetoric poisons the well for any deal making,” said Frank Sharry, the executive director of America’s Voice, a liberal immigration reform group, which soured on working with Trump after he backed out of a bipartisan 2018 congressional deal that would have provided legal protection for hundreds of thousands of “dreamer” immigrants brought to the country as children and now here illegally.

“He’s leveraging chaos for political advantage,” Sharry said.

Indeed, Sharry said he has a difficult time using the word “crisis” to describe the current situation because it has become so politically charged.

“Here is an asylum emergency at the border,” he said instead.

The White House didn’t respond to requests for comment Wednesday. But in Africa, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior adviser told the AP that “there is no one solution to solving this problem.”

“We have a humanitarian crisis at our southern border of epic proportion,” she said. “Ultimately it’s going to have to be done in Congress to change the laws that enable us to maintain secure borders and ensure that there’s adequate humanitarian assistance and relief for those who are struggling and seeking legitimate asylum in our country.”

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Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Colleen Long in Washington and Catherine Lucey in Abidjan, Ivory Coast contributed to this report.

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Follow Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj

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Dems to Miller: ‘Make your case’ on immigration

White House senior adviser Stephen Miller listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

A Democratic House committee chairman on Wednesday invited White House aide Stephen Miller to testify before his panel and “make your case” for President Donald Trump’s aggressive policies cracking down on both illegal and legal immigration.

The combative Miller is one of the White House’s most conservative and influential voices in pushing moves that Trump has taken to curb immigration. He engineered Trump’s Muslim travel ban and is widely viewed as the driving force behind the administration’s hardest-line immigration policies.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Past administrations have often refused to send White House aides to testify before Congress, though there have been exceptions.

Should such a session occur, it would be bound to ignite fireworks over an issue that has repeatedly produced heated clashes between Trump and congressional Democrats. Trump has made an immigration crackdown a cornerstone of his appeal to conservative voters, while Democrats — led by liberal and Hispanic lawmakers — have been just as adamant in opposing his moves.

“I understand that you may not want to submit yourself to rigorous questioning,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said in his letter to Miller requesting his appearance.

“I want to make clear that I am inviting you to appear voluntarily,” Cummings wrote. “I am offering you an opportunity to make your case to the committee and the American people about why you — and presumably President Trump — believe it is good policy for the Trump administration to take the actions it has.”

Cummings cited the separation of migrant children from detained parents, a policy Trump withdrew under fire last year; Trump’s threat to move detained migrants to “sanctuary cities,” communities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities and that are mostly in Democratic areas; and the removal of top Homeland Security officials, including Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Cummings said he wanted Miller to testify to his committee on May 1 and gave him until April 24 to respond.

Meanwhile, Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson said he is working on legislation to help stem the flow of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Johnson, R-Wis., said he wants to toughen the initial standard for asylum seekers to “more than a probable chance” they’ll experience violence or persecution in their home countries. Right now, if people can demonstrate “credible fear,” they’re allowed to stay in the U.S. as their cases progress.

Johnson said in an interview that asylum cases must be adjudicated faster and that asylum seekers should be detained while they wait.

Johnson visited this week with migrants in Border Patrol custody on the southwestern border. He said most were seeking a better life and said that while he’s sympathetic to their circumstances, that doesn’t mean they should be granted asylum.

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Trump faces another court battle over immigration

Two men, both of Honduras, gather with attorneys to pray before crossing into the United States to begin their asylum cases after being returned to Mexico in Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

A U.S. judge in San Francisco will scrutinize the Trump administration’s policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico during a court hearing Friday to help him decide whether to block the practice.

Civil rights groups have asked Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco to put the asylum policy on hold while their lawsuit moves forward. Seeborg was not expected to rule immediately.

The policy began in January at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego, marking an unprecedented change to the U.S. asylum system . Families seeking asylum are typically released in the U.S. with notices to appear in immigration court.

The administration later expanded the policy to the Calexico port of entry, about 120 miles (193 kilometers) east of the San Ysidro crossing.

The lawsuit on behalf of 11 asylum seekers from Central America and legal advocacy groups says the administration is violating U.S. law by failing to adequately evaluate the dangers that migrants face in Mexico.

It also accuses Homeland Security and immigration officials of depriving migrants of their right to apply for asylum by making it difficult or impossible to do so.

“Instead of being able to focus on preparing their cases, asylum seekers forced to return to Mexico will have to focus on trying to survive,” according to the lawsuit filed in February by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.

The Trump administration hopes that making asylum seekers wait in Mexico will discourage weak claims and help reduce an immigration court backlog of more than 800,000 cases.

The Justice Department said in court documents that the policy “responds to a crisis of aliens, many of whom may have unmeritorious asylum claims, overwhelming the executive’s immigration-detention capacity, being released into the U.S. to live for many years without establishing an entitlement to relief, and often never appearing for immigration proceedings.”

Border Patrol arrests, the most widely used gauge of illegal crossings, have risen sharply over the last year but are relatively low in historical terms after hitting a 46-year low in 2017.

A federal law allows the Homeland Security secretary to return immigrants to Mexico at her discretion, Justice Department officials said in a court filing this month urging Seeborg not to block the policy.

The civil rights groups said that law does not apply to asylum seekers who cross the border illegally or arrive at an entry port without proper documents.

The policy followed months of delicate talks between the U.S. and Mexico. Mexicans and children traveling alone are exempt from it.

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Migrants crossing borders into U.S. at a record pace

With surveillance footage in the background, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAleenan speaks during a news conference in Washington, Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The number of migrant families crossing the southwest border is again breaking records, and the crush is overwhelming border agents and straining facilities, officials said.

More than 76,000 migrants crossed the U.S.-Mexico border last month, more than double the number from the same period last year. Most were families coming in ever-increasingly large groups — there were 70 groups of more than 100 people in the past few months, and they cross illegally in extremely rural locations with few agents and staff. There were only 13 large groups during the previous budget year, and only two the year before.

The system “is well beyond capacity, and remains at the breaking point,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said during a press conference Tuesday.

The new figures reflect the difficulties President Donald Trump has faced as he tries to cut down on illegal immigration, his signature issue. But it could also help him make the case that there truly is a national emergency at the border — albeit one built around humanitarian crises and not necessarily border security. The Senate is expected to vote next week and join the House in rejecting his national emergency declaration aimed at building border walls, but Trump would almost certainly veto the measure and the issue is likely to be settled in the courts.

After the deaths of two migrant children in Border Patrol custody, Customs and Border Protection stepped up medical screenings. They also announced sweeping changes including more rigorous interviews as migrants come into the system.

And McAleenan said a new processing center would be built in El Paso, Texas, that will be better suited to manage families and children and handle medical care concerns — but it’s not a permanent solution.

“While our enhanced medical efforts will assist in managing the increased flows, the fact is that these solutions are temporary and this solution is not sustainable,” he said.

While fewer people overall are being apprehended crossing the border illegally each year — about 400,000 over the last budget year compared with the high of 1.6 million in 2000, the increasing numbers are alarming, officials said.

Those apprehended used to be mostly single men from Mexico, but are now mostly families from Central America — since October, more than 130,000 families have been apprehended between ports of entry. From October through September 2018, about the same number of families was apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. Tens of thousands of children illegally cross the border alone. While single men used to evade capture, the families are seeking out agents.

Customs and Border Protection also reported using firearms less and less. There were 15 instances where officers and agents used firearms during the budget year 2018, down from a high of 55 reported during the 2012 budget year, and down from 17 during 2017′s budget year and 25 the year before.

Despite high-profile instances in recent months where agents used tear gas on groups of migrants that included children, use of less-lethal force like tear gas, batons or stun guns are also down, to 898. That’s a decrease from the high in 2013 of 1,168, according to the data.

Border officials said the large families groups are creating opportunities for smugglers because attention is diverted to the large groups. Border officials say they worry they’re spending too much time on migrant care and not enough on security.

During 2018′s fiscal year, border agents and officers seized more than 1.7 pounds of narcotics, including 1.1 million pounds of marijuana, 282,570 pounds of cocaine, 6,552 pounds of heroin and 2,463 pounds of fentanyl, mostly through ports of entry, according to the border security report from budget year 2018, released Tuesday. Fentanyl seizures were up nearly 70 percent from the last budget year.

Complaints of excessive force prompted the border enforcement agency to commission an audit and investigation by the Police Executive Research Forum, a research and policy group. The 2013 audit highlighted problems that included foot-patrol agents without access to less-lethal options, and it recommended law enforcement not be allowed to use deadly force when people throw rocks — a suggestion that was rejected.

Following those reviews, major training and policy changes were made. Border Patrol agents now undergo scenario-based drills at the academy and learn how to de-escalate tense situations. They get 64 hours of on-the-job training on use of force. Agents and officers are authorized to use deadly force when there is reasonable belief in an imminent danger of serious physical injury or death to the officer or another person.

They have discretion on how to deploy less-than-lethal force: It must be both “objectively reasonable and necessary in order to carry out law enforcement duties” — and used when other “empty hand” techniques are not sufficient to control disorderly or violent subjects.

Officials say they deploy the lowest form of force necessary to take control of a situation, but instances a few months ago where tear gas was used on migrants that included children drew strong criticism.

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Trump’s many myths & fake facts on immigration

President Donald Trump gives his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi listen. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

President Donald Trump has long railed against immigration as a scourge on the economy and national security. He’s committed his administration to starting construction on a wall along the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration and asylum seekers, yet he reversed his past policy efforts on restricting legal immigration in this year’s State of the Union address.

Trump managed to accuse immigrants in the country illegally of stealing jobs from American workers, while declaring that the country needs more immigrants because of its economic boom. This argument rested on a series of false stereotypes.

“I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally,” he declared, only to say later, “Working-class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal immigration: reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools, hospitals that are so crowded you can’t get in, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net.”

That’s a slight variation on his drumbeat going back to 2015, when he declared: “They’re taking our jobs, they’re taking our manufacturing jobs, they’re taking our money, they’re killing us.”

The fact is that 75 percent of immigrants arrived legally, according to the Pew Research Center. In general, the entire immigrant population is increasingly better educated than native-born Americans.

They’re more likely to have jobs. They’re less likely to commit violent crimes. They help fuel economic growth. And as a group over time, they’re no more a drain on taxpayers than native-born citizens.

Moreover, for all the attention to the southern border, in recent years immigrants to the U.S. have been more likely to come from Asia than from Mexico.

Three Harvard University economists released a paper in June that looked at immigration in multiple countries and concluded that native-born Americans as a whole wildly overestimate the prevalence of immigrants. These Americans estimated, on average, that legal immigrants made up 36 percent of the U.S. population, more than triple their actual share. They thought that immigrants were less likely to work and more dependent on government aid than immigrants actually are — and these stereotypes made them less supportive of social programs that might aid immigrants.

“We were surprised by how much of a misperception there was about the level of education, income and contribution to society that immigrants give,” said Alberto Alesini, a Harvard economist who co-wrote the paper.

Here are some fundamental myths about U.S. immigration and the economy:

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MYTH: VAST NUMBERS OF IMMIGRANTS ARE POURING ACROSS U.S. BORDERS

REALITY: Not really.

The net flow of all migration into the United States in recent years — around 0.3 percent of the total population — is roughly at a long-standing historical average, according to an analysis of government data by Lyman Stone, an economist who studies demographic issues.

“It isn’t rock-bottom, but it isn’t that high either,” Stone said.

Economists say that restricting immigration would probably weaken economic growth. Given today’s lower birth rates in the United States, immigrants are increasingly needed to sustain a level of population growth for the U.S. economy to keep expanding.

Immigrants as a whole do make up a greater percentage of the total U.S. population than they did back in 1970, having grown from less than 5 percent of the population to more than 13 percent now.

But there’s a largely overlooked reason for that: Native-born Americans are having fewer children. The falling birth rate means that immigrants now make up a greater share of the population. In 2030, it’s projected that immigrants will become the primary driver for U.S. population growth, overtaking U.S. births.

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MYTH: IMMIGRANTS ARE TAKING AWAY JOBS

REALITY: Many people have firsthand stories of losing a construction bid or an office job to a foreign worker. This happens in an economy as large and diverse as the United States’, where numerous people also lose jobs to native-born Americans.

But employment data suggest that the influx of immigrants helps increase overall hiring for the U.S. economy rather than erode job growth. The trend is clear in the government’s monthly jobs report. The data doesn’t distinguish between immigrants who are in the U.S. legally and illegally.

Nearly 64 percent of immigrants hold jobs, compared with roughly 60 percent of workers born in the United States, according to the Labor Department. Last year, immigrants accounted for roughly 40 percent of the 2.4 million jobs added.

Because a steady growth in the workforce helps the economy expand, economists say fewer immigrants would equal slower growth and fewer jobs. Falling birth rates and the retirement of the vast generation of baby boomers mean fewer people will flow into the workforce in the coming years — a drag on economic growth, which will, in turn, probably limit hiring.

Many economists have noted that adding immigrants would help maintain the flow of workers into the economy and support growth.

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MYTH: IMMIGRANTS ARE UNEDUCATED

REALITY: The president has pledged to create an immigration system based on “merit,” thereby implying that the United States is a destination mainly of unskilled and uneducated workers.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said at his 2015 campaign kickoff.

But today’s immigrants are more likely to be better educated than Americans. And the country has increasingly become a magnet for foreigners with doctorates and master’s degrees. Sixteen percent of all immigrants who arrived since 2000 hold an advanced degree, compared with 13 percent of the native-born population, according to the Census Bureau.

As of 2017, immigrants who have become citizens are almost twice as likely to hold a doctorate than are native-born U.S. citizens. Foreign-born citizens were more likely to have a doctorate at least as far back as 2000.

And Census records also show that the children of immigrants are more likely to graduate from college than are those of native-born parentage.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that all immigrants are better educated. Such are the disparities within the immigrant population that immigrants as a whole are less likely than native-born Americans to have completed high school. But the trend shows that the United States is increasingly a home for foreigners with graduate degrees and higher earnings.

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MYTH: IMMIGRANTS ARE TO BLAME FOR TODAY’S SLUGGISH WAGE GROWTH

REALITY: The weight of the research suggests that immigrants have not suppressed wages.

David Card, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley, first studied the issue in 1990 by reviewing the arrival of Cuban migrants in Miami during the 1980 “Mariel boat lift.” This historical rush of immigrants created a natural experiment to measure what then happened to incomes in the local area. He concluded: “The influx appears to have had virtually no effect on the wages or unemployment rates of less-skilled workers.”

Giovanni Peri, an economist at the University of California at Davis, studied immigration into California between 1960 and 2005. He wrote in a 2010 paper that it had “essentially” no effect on wages or employment of native-born workers.

But many people seeking to reduce immigration rely on research from George Borjas, a Harvard economist. His research found that the arrival of Cubans in the Mariel boat lift caused wages to fall for native-born high school dropouts in Miami. Other economists have questioned his methodology.

In addition, Borjas’ findings would apply to a small fraction of U.S. jobholders today, only about 6.2 percent of whom lack a high school degree.

Other explanations for sluggish wage growth go beyond immigration. They include the decline in unionization, an intensified push to maximize corporate profits, growing health insurance costs that supplant wages and the rise of a lower-wage global labor force that in an intertwined worldwide economy can hinder pay growth for Americans.

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MYTH: IMMIGRANTS ARE A DRAIN ON TAXPAYERS

REALITY: The National Academy of Sciences explored the costs to taxpayers in 2016. It’s a tricky issue. The federal government runs a budget deficit, which means it spends more than it collects in taxes. This means that, on average, most Americans are a net drain on taxpayers.

All told, the costs imposed by immigrants are about the same as they are for native-born citizens.

“An immigrant and a native-born person with similar characteristics will likely have the same fiscal impact,” the report said.

But the report also examined spending by states and localities, which generally must maintain balanced budgets. Because state and local governments supply most of the money for public schools, immigrants often receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes.

That said, there are longer-term benefits from educating children, who grow into adults who get jobs, buy cars, buy houses and pay taxes and thereby contribute to economic growth. The National Academy found that the net cost from 2011 to 2013 for state and local budgets combined averaged $1,600 a year for a first-generation immigrant. But that figure became a net positive of $1,700 for the second generation and $1,300 for the third.

Immigrant households with children are generally more likely to use welfare programs like food assistance and Medicaid than native-born households, largely because the immigrant families have lower average incomes and larger families, according to the National Academy report.

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MYTH: ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION LEADS TO VIOLENT CRIME

REALITY: Trump frequently highlights violence by the “savage” MS-13 gang, saying in his speech Tuesday that it operates in at least 20 states and “they almost all come through our southern border.”

He invokes that gang, whose members come predominantly from El Salvador or are U.S. citizens descended from there, to portray immigrants as criminals. Widespread crime makes it harder, of course, to run a business, spend money and engage in the daily transactions that keep an economy humming.

But there is scant evidence that immigrants are perpetuating a crime wave. In a paper published last year, sociologists Michael Light and Ty Miller reviewed crime in every state and the District of Columbia from 1990 to 2014. They found that a rising number of immigrants in the country illegally corresponded with a drop, not a rise, in reported crime.

The authors acknowledged that it’s possible that people who came illegally are less likely to report a crime. But the authors also note that such immigrants overwhelmingly arrived to work, a trend that helps to reduce crime levels. Past research cited in their paper found that 93 percent of the men in the country illegally either have a job or are looking for one.

“At a minimum, the results of our study call into question claims that undocumented immigration increases violent crime,” their paper concluded. “If anything, the data suggest the opposite.”

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HHS: Reuniting children is a ‘burden’

On Friday HHS basically admitted that when they separated children from their migrant parents they never anticipated reuniting them, and didn’t bother gathering the information they’d need to bring the families together. As appalling as that is, they said it would be too much of a “burden” to reunited parents and children. If you want to read proof of the government’s callousness and incompetence here’s their nine page response to the ACLU lawsuit.

Lee Gelernt, lead attorney in the ACLU lawsuit demanding reunification and deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, had issued this statement::

“The Trump administration’s response is a shocking concession that it can’t easily find thousands of children it ripped from parents, and doesn’t even think it’s worth the time to locate each of them. The administration also doesn’t dispute that separations are ongoing in significant numbers. We will be back in court on February 21.”

In response to the ACLU lawsuit the government complained that 100 analysts would have to work eight hours each day for between seven and 15 months to “even begin reconciling” data on separated families and said ORR didn’t have the staff to accomplish this.

Are these people sociopaths who draw a wall of empathy between white people and brown people? The kindest explanation I can come up with is that they misunderstood the King’s James Version of the Bible’s famous line: “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come to me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

During Jesus’ time (the Got Questions website tells us) children were not necessarily regarded as special or particularly endearing, except to their own parents. The disciples most likely rebuked those bringing the children to Jesus because they felt bringing children to Jesus was socially improper or because they thought the children would bother Jesus. But Jesus wanted the children to come to Him. He said, “Let the children come” with the meaning of “suffer” being “to allow.” He wanted to bless them.

I have a few lines for Stacey Abrams, whose parents were both Methodist ministers, when she delivers the Democratic response to Trump’s State of the Union address. Trump will paint a picture of the state of the union as glorious and he may brag about what he considers to be his accomplishments, from getting a credibly accused rapist onto the Supreme Court to using his “Art of the Deal” skill to get North Korea to denuke.

I’d like to hear Stacey Adams say that Trump can demand billions to build a wall but doesn’t care enough to allocate the resources to reunite children taken, at times crying and forced from the arms of their parents because of his zero-tolerance policy, with their families.

The minister’s daughter could end with: “Mr. President, as long as this nation has children separated from their families, and considers it a ‘burden’ to reunite them, the state of the union is not good. When Jesus said suffer the little children, He didn’t mean make the little children suffer. If you want to make America great, start with the little children.

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How the Democrats could allocate Trump’s $5.7 billion

This is what Trump proposed in his speech:

– $5.7 billion to add 230 miles of steel barrier along the border.

– $805 million for drug detection technology and canine units.

– $800 million in humanitarian assistance for migrants.

– The hiring of an additional 2,750 border agents and other personnel.

– $563 million in funding for the immigration court system and the hiring of 75 new judges.

– Three years of legal protections for so-called “Dreamers,” a group of about 700,000 immigrants who entered the country illegally as children.

– Three years of extended protections for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, a group of about 300,000 nationals from designated countries affected by armed conflict, natural disaster, or other strife.


I don’t even think a border barrier whose purpose is to discourage people from trying to cross or making it more diffiuclt for them to cross for whatever reason along the border is even necessary. I think a simple chainlink fence delinating the border is all that we should have.

I think we should have the same border as we do with Canada:

Canada and the United States share the world’s longest international border. Officially called the International Boundary, it’s known as the “world’s longest undefended border” because of the friendly relationship between the U.S. and Canada and because there’s no wall separating the countries – just checkpoints at highway crossings. There are rules, however, about traversing the border from either direction. The Canada Border Services Agency solely determines entry into Canada, in accordance with Canadian laws. U.S. Customs and Border Protection also imposes rules on American citizens returning to the U.S. from Canada. (From USA Today)

This being said, here’s my proposal for the Democrats.

It probably would add up to more than $5.7 billion. The last bargaining point wouldn’t cost anything. I add features which emphasize addressing and providing a start to remedying the humanitarian crisis which Trump has caused.

–  Money for added structures along border areas where such barriers made sense according to unbiased experts would be what made sense, as determined by unbiased experts. In December 2018 then House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer suggested that $1.6 billion was an agreeable figure for border security so long as the language does not require it to be spent on the wall. (RollCall)

– Enough money, again as determined by experts, for drug detection technology, canine units, DEA undercover agents to work with Mexican drug police, informant money, forensic technology including drone and satellite surveillance, and support staff

– The funding for humanitarian assistance for migrants would be, once again, as determined by experts, and would likely include medical, educational, social services, teachers, teacher aides, and other support personnel and vastly improved infrastructure. There would be no tents. There would modern livable air-conditioned facilities. Gone would be the cages! The would be an absolute and clear law that families are never separated. This isn’t Ellis Island.

– As for the hiring of an additional 2,750 border agents, I’d also want the number to be reviewed by outside experts and not just take the word of those within the agency as to how many new staff they need.

— As for funding for the immigration court system and the hiring of new judges I also would want the number needed to be determined by experts in immigration law and not locked in to Trump’s proposed  number of 75. The entire system should be evaluated to make sure it employes enough paralegals, social workers, and other supports staff, plus has the appropriate infrastructure.

– Permanent legal protections for  “Dreamers.” The would be the same as the much hated by Ann Coulter “amnesty.” Today, the kind-hearted president threatened deportation of the 11 million undocumented residents in a morning tweet: No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. It is a 3 year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else. Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally-but be careful Nancy! 

I’d like House Majority Leader Pelsosi (the four words Trump must hate to hear) to respond simply “Yes Amnesty is part of our demand.”

In addition to allowing undocumented Dreamers to live without fear of deportation, otherwise known as amnesty, I would offer a clear expedited path to citizenship. This could come with two years of public service in professions including but not limited to medical, education, social services, libraries, or miliary service. It would offer automatic citizenship when completed. Four years of volunteer work for service agencies also would assure permanent citizenship.

– Permanent protections for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, a group of about 300,000 nationals from designated countries affected by armed conflict, natural disaster, or other strife during which time they could get on the same citizenship track as described above for dreamers.

Reimburse all federal workers affected by the shutdown, whether they had to work without pay or were furloughed, for wages not paid with 6% interest.

Instruct the Senate to pass a bill for protections for the Special Counsel investigation to assure independence.


Addendum, my tweet to Trump — The Devil Made Me Do It:

 

This is the Ann Coulter, the woman who has so much influence over the President of the United States. I have no idea what she is trying to say in her nonsensical incoherent tweet (below) except that it sounds downright nasty.

 

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