The Democratic shutdown of the government
Schumer’s legion targets the wall because it’s the president’s idea
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.