The president will never have as much leverage or a better impetus for a budget fight than he does now. Will he finally demand action and use his veto for leverage?
On December 8, the government will face its final budget deadline with Republicans in control of the trifecta of government. A budget, at its core, is an expression of our values. There is no greater value more relevant to this budget deadline than protecting the taxpayers from the high cost of illegal aliens invading our border, draining our schools and communities, and flooding us with the most deadly drugs and gangs that help fund international terrorism. It’s high time for Trump to finally take his case to the American people in dramatic fashion and threaten to veto any bill that fails to address the border crisis, not just from the standpoint of funding the border wall, but also ending the invasion permanently.
In her epic book on the Great Depression, “The Forgotten Man,” Amity Shlaes explains the progressive philosophy of using someone else’s money to make yourself feel good about another person’s plight using the following analogy from William Graham Sumner, the great 19th century Yale philosopher:
As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine what C shall do for X or, in the better case, what A, B and C shall do for X. As for A and B, who get a law to make themselves do for X what they are willing to do for him, we have nothing to say except that they might better have done it without any law, but what I want to do is to look up C. I want to show you what manner of man he is. I call him the Forgotten Man.
Shlaes applied this to government-sanctioned redistribution of wealth from one American to another by elite politicians who don’t use their money but other people’s money. Now, extrapolate the concept of the forgotten man to immigration and border policy, where politicians and judges are redistributing wealth to impoverished and often socially troubled people coming in by the millions from Central America without any regard for the taxpayer. And in this case, the laws say the exact opposite – whether they are our border laws, criminal alien statutes, or public charge protections.
We are subjected to endless debate over the border, judges, the purpose and nature of these migrants, etc. But who is talking about the American communities holding the bag of the crushing costs on their schools, welfare system, public services, and safety?
The Department of Health and Human Services just sent Congress a report showing how the virtue-signaling mission to “reunite” invading families who self-separate and break our laws cost taxpayers $80 million. We now know a number of them weren’t even real families. According to the Washington Times, HHS paid over $1.4 billion last year to care for nearly 41,000 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) in its facilities, who stayed 41 days on average, costing taxpayers about $670 per day for each child.
We also know that these people aren’t fleeing violence. The homicide rate has been dropping in Honduras, the origin of this caravan, for a decade, even as the migration has surged. Honduras’ annual murder rate dropped by 26 percent in just one year preceeding this surge, from 5,150 in 2016 to 3,791 in 2017. And fleeing generic violence is not grounds for asylum anyway.
These people are all coming for economic reasons, as admitted by the now infamous mother depicted with her kid when the border agents were deploying tear gas. As such, even if we weed out the 600 known criminals and the countless others who are undocumented drug traffickers, why should the American people be on the hook for economic migration that will cost us billions? Yet it is being reported that despite Trump’s tough talk, the Department of Homeland Security is still processing 60 claims from the caravan per day. Why is it moral for the American people to shoulder this burden at all, when there is no asylum-qualifying persecution? And what about the persecution of the American people (as well as immigrants) by the gangs and drugs being brought in by some of these migrants?
Let’s not forget that our entire immigration system has become one giant government-sanctioned charity system with other people’s money. Less than seven percent of our immigrants come in based on any skill. Between chain migration, the diversity lottery, sundry quasi-amnesty programs, parole, refugees, and asylum, we already have numerous programs that don’t take into account the economic interests of taxpayers. It is perfectly fine for politicians to take their own money and open up missions in Central America to deal with the subpar social conditions. It’s quite another thing to do so on the backs of the American taxpayer. As Sumner said of the Forgotten Man, “He is the man who never is thought of. He is the victim of the reformer, social speculator and philanthropist.”
Under current law, deeply rooted in our social compact since colonial times, immigration must never be a charge on the taxpayers. Yet not only are we disregarding the law for legal immigrants, we are now disregarding it for blatantly illegal ones.
The Migration Policy Institute recently bemoaned the fact that a leaked draft of a proposal from the Trump administration to enforce our public charge laws would affect 47.2 percent of immigrants, including 58.4 percent of Hispanic citizens. But that is a direct admission that our immigration system is not working as it should, since so many immigrants have become a public charge to begin with?
Meanwhile, they are now using kids as human shields to break our laws. A classic case of A and B not only abusing C to help X, but actually harming X in the long run. It is so obvious to the cartels that we will just accept with open arms anyone who comes with a kid that they are now charging half price for those coming with kids, according to the Washington Post, because it makes the job easier. This is all the result of virtue-signaling over releasing family units:
As Judge Andrew Hanen warned in 2013 when Obama began dismantling our sovereignty, the promise of amnesty and catch-and-release for teenagers and family units “successfully complet[ed] the mission of the criminal conspiracy” of drug smugglers to smuggle people over the border on behalf of parents “at significant expense” to taxpayers, resulting in the “absurd and illogical” outcome of helping “fund the illegal drug cartels which are a very real danger for both citizens of this country and Mexico.”
Perforce, this is no longer a border security problem, but a self-destructive lawfare problem that is encouraging evil behavior.
Which brings us back to the budget bill and Trump’s opportunity. The problem we have now, as I’ve mentioned before, is not so much a border resource problem as a judicial problem. That’s why it is of more immediate importance for Trump to demand asylum clarity and judicial reform, cutting off magnets, and ending sanctuary cities in the bill than to demand the border wall. We need to stop the self-destruction of our lawless judiciary, which invites the illegals to climb over the fence and surrender themselves.
President Trump should give a televised address laying out the problem and demonstrating his power to close all immigration at our border, opting to route any “asylum” claims to a safe and stable environment in our Mexican consulates. Then he should give a speech before Congress and lay out a series of demands that are owed to the forgotten American people, from ending the asylum loophole and sanctuary cities to cutting off magnets, identity theft, and remittances. Trump should then commence a massive Spanish-language media campaign in Central America and Mexico announcing that nobody can ever come to our border to request status and that anyone caught challenging our border will be barred indefinitely from coming again. It’s all about magnets, incentives, and deterrents.
Then he should stare down Congress and challenge them on behalf of American taxpayers as Reagan did in 1985: “I have my veto pen drawn and ready for any tax increase that Congress might even think of sending up. And I have only one thing to say to the tax increasers. Go ahead — make my day.” This border tax on the American people costs over $100 billion a year, not to mention the cost to our security and the toll from the drug crisis. Trump might not have all the votes up front, but he does have a veto pen and a bully pulpit larger than anyone in this country.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.