The Demo­cratic shut­down of the gov­ern­ment

Schumer’s le­gion tar­gets the wall be­cause it’s the pres­i­dent’s idea

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

Where you stand de­pends on where you’re sitting, as the wise man said, and the Democrats are so de­ter­mined to pre­vent con­struc­tion of the wall on the bor­der they’re will­ing to shut down the gov­ern­ment if nec­es­sary to do it.

They say they’re up­set be­cause Pres­i­dent Trump will need up to $1.5 bil­lion this year to pro­ceed with con­struc­tion. That’s not ex­actly chump change in Wash­ing­ton but nei­ther is it a lot of money, as Congress counts money. The wall will even­tu­ally cost $20 bil­lion, a small price to pay to guar­an­tee the or­derly im­mi­gra­tion that most Amer­i­cans want.

The Democrats are against the wall mostly be­cause the pres­i­dent is for it, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, their leader in the Se­nate, has made it clear that he wants to block as much of the new pres­i­dent’s agenda as he can. Build­ing such a wall has not al­ways given Mr. Schumer ter­mi­nal in­di­ges­tion. He voted for the Se­cure Fence Act of 2006, ap­plaud­ing Sen. Hil­lary Clin­ton of New York for her re­marks in sup­port of san­ity on the bor­der.

“There isn’t any sen­si­ble ap­proach ex­cept to do what we need to do, si­mul­ta­ne­ously,” Mrs. Clin­ton said then. “You know, se­cure our bor­ders with tech­nol­ogy and per­son­nel, phys­i­cal bar­ri­ers if nec­es­sary, in some places.”

The Se­cure Fence Act of 2006, which in­cluded money to pay for 700 miles of bor­der fenc­ing, passed the Se­nate by a vote of 80 to 19, in­clud­ing a ma­jor­ity of the Democrats. Mr. Schumer was among the Democrats who were all for it.

The Democrats who have never met a spend­ing bill they wouldn’t em­brace pro­fess now to be con­verts to bud­get hawk­ery, so long as it’s about the Trump bud­get. A wall on the bor­der might quickly pay for it­self in sav­ings from ed­u­ca­tion, health care and jails and pris­ons for il­le­gal aliens. The non­par­ti­san Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Im­mi­gra­tion Re­form es­ti­mated four years ago that the an­nual price of il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion at the fed­eral, state and lo­cal level comes to $113 bil­lion.

There’s a new route around Demo­cratic ob­struc­tion­ists. A bill in­tro­duced in Congress a fort­night ago would help pay for build­ing the wall by tax­ing the re­mit­tances Mex­i­cans and other im­mi­grants send home. A 2 per­cent tax on those re­mit­tances, es­ti­mated by the Pew Re­search Cen­ter at $133 bil­lion in 2015, would gen­er­ate more than $2 bil­lion a year in rev­enues that would go di­rectly to build­ing the wall and hir­ing ad­di­tional Bor­der Pa­trol per­son­nel.

The mere threat of re­deem­ing Pres­i­dent Trump’s sig­na­ture cam­paign prom­ise is hav­ing a dra­matic ef­fect. The Home­land Se­cu­rity Depart­ment re­ports that the num­ber of il­le­gal aliens ar­rested try­ing to get across the bor­der is down by a stun­ning 72 per­cent since De­cem­ber. Be­fore the first con­crete is poured or the first brick is laid, Mr. Trump’s over­sized pres­ence in the White House is trans­form­ing some of the hell on the bor­der to the be­gin­ning of or­der.

His “big, beau­ti­ful” wall will only im­prove those num­bers, and only those who are will­ing to cor­rupt the or­derly im­mi­gra­tion that has been a source for build­ing Amer­ica re­gard that as a bad thing. They do that at their peril.

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