- - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The U.S. government just dodged a headlong run into a wall. Democrats threatened to vote against an interim budget deal if President Trump includes a down payment on a wall on the southern border. It’s a mark of the lengths politicians of the liberal persuasion will go to destroy the Trump presidency. National security is held hostage in a high-stakes game of chicken.

Congress must meet a deadline of midnight Friday to appropriate $1 trillion (that’s trillion, with a ‘t’) to avoid a government shutdown. President Trump has requested $30 billion of that for the nation’s depleted military, but it’s the relatively minuscule $1.4 billion for the border wall that set Democratic hair on fire. The wall is the key to regaining control of immigration, and for the left, the nation without borders is central to the America they dream of creating.

The wall is “an incredibly wrong approach to our dealing with our southern border,” says Rep. Joe Crowley, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says such a wall is “immoral,” which is ironic because San Francisco Democrats rarely have anything nice to say about a moral order. When Kate Steinle, one of Mrs. Pelosi’s constituents, was slain in 2015 by an illegal alien from Mexico who had encountered no barrier on the border to sanctuary in San Francisco, Mrs. Pelosi had nothing to say about the immorality of taking an innocent life.

Salutary uses of a protective wall hold no appeal to them. “The Democrats don’t want money from budget going to border wall,” President Trump tweeted, “despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members.”

A threat of a government shutdown strikes fear in the hearts of Republicans. They understand that no matter who shuts down the government the media will blame them for it. The government doesn’t actually cease to function. Non-essential employees are sent home and paid later for the days they were able to sleep in and eat out.

This makes the Trump administration eager to bargain. Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, shows a willingness to pay for a Democratic wish list, dollar for dollar in return for their votes. He offered billions to prop up failing Obamacare subsidies, or even put off funding the wall until September. Given the toxic atmosphere in Washington, Democrats are not inclined to talk compromise. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer merely spins stale talking points. “The White House gambit to hold hostage health care for millions of Americans, in order to force American taxpayers to foot the bill for a wall that the president said would be paid for by Mexico, is a complete non-starter.”

Wall or no wall, the rush of illegal migrants is slowing to a trickle simply on the stark evidence that under the new president the border is no longer a sieve. “The border is not open,” says Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions to the immigrant wave. “Please don’t come. You will be apprehended if you do come, and you will be deported promptly.” Arrests are down by 70 percent since Mr. Trump took office, and opponents of the wall say that proves a barrier is no longer necessary.

But unless prospective migrants don’t see a wall rising in the middle distance, the word will spread that the new president is a paper sheriff, just like the president before him. The millions will resume their march, along with the drug mules and gangbangers. The wall is the way to keep America safe, and to keep the welcome mat out for legal immigrants.

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