Government Shutdown and the Border Wall – Charles Love

As we move into the second week of the partial government shutdown, emotions are running high. Everyone is looking to place blame causing the media, and many pundits, to exaggerate both the impact of the shutdown as well as the reason for it.

On Sunday, Yahoo News posted an article showing the impact through pictures. The article depicted trash overflowing at federal sites like the National Mall in DC (I guess taking your empty Starbucks cup with you isn’t an option) and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (which unfortunately looked the same before the shutdown). Other photos showed closed signs from myriad parks and museums. This is not ideal but not apocalyptic either.

At least the article stated the shutdown continues, “… as Congress and the president fail to reach a deal.” Too often, it is reported that the president, alone, shut the government down. Yes, he said he would ‘own’ the shutdown if it happened. However, because he says something doesn’t make it so. Those on the Left should know this better than anyone. This is a negotiation and both sides must be willing to move to make progress. If Mr. Trump’s $5 billion request for wall funding is too stern, shouldn’t the same be said of Speaker Pelosi’s definitive ‘no funding’? Although, she’s now amended it to, “One dollar, if he’s lucky, but not a penny more!”

Moving beyond the theatrics, what is truly at stake here is border security and what to do with those entering the country illegally or overstaying their visas. This should be a simple matter but when emotions take over, it becomes difficult to maintain focus on the core issue. Emotion is a good thing; these are people nonetheless; however, emotion alone is not practical and assuming those who don’t agree with you lack sympathy is wrong.

Many on the Left say these people are asylum seekers, fleeing desperate situations but how do they know? If we are not allowed to vet people, we have no way of knowing who they are or why they are coming. Further, if they are correct, desperation alone is not an approved reason for asylum. Under current laws, the only reasons a person can be granted asylum are persecution based on: race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group. Few, if any, of those coming to the border meet these criteria.

Expanding asylum may be compassionate but is something that should be done at the ballot box or at the very least by our elected officials through legislation. But until that happens, politicians and activists cannot arbitrarily ignore current laws. Some journalists choose to interview the people in the caravan, asking what they think of our immigration laws. With all due respect, asking them what they think of our immigration policies would be like U.S. citizens making policy decisions to deal with the current turmoil in Paris.

For their part, conservative media doesn’t help the situation. They spend far too much time focusing on violent illegal criminals. I understand it. The crimes are so heinous and the perpetrators should never have been in the country so they feel compelled to report it. The problem is everyone knows this represents a small percentage of the people entering the country illegally and the Left will use the coverage to, without evidence, create a narrative that this is how conservatives feel about all Hispanics, not just those here illegally. Worse, it inadvertently implies that it is OK for people to come into the country illegally as long as they don’t commit violent crimes.

The solution is simple. Number 1) Everyone must come out of the shadows. Expand E-verify and any other methods to expedite this. Number 2) Create parameters around which those here illegally can stay. Once established, those who meet them can stay, everyone else, regardless of age or time in the country, gets deported. Number 3) Take a hard line on violent criminals. Problem solved, however, none of this matters if we don’t stop future illegal entry.

We can focus on the law while maintaining compassion but saying this is the wrong time or the wrong way is simply not realistic. Reagan gave amnesty assuming the Democrats would honor their end of the agreement; they did not. We’ve been burying our heads in the sand ever since. If the president waits until later, later will never come. Congress holds the purse strings, if President Trump doesn’t take a hard line now, there is no other time he’ll be able to do it. Especially since the consensus in Congress and the media is that somehow Trump’s executive power is not equal to that of Mr. Obama.

Until both sides are willing to compromise, this stalemate will, and should, continue. Perhaps the president should ‘compromise’ by submitting Senator Schumer’s seven principles on immigration.