If President Trump sends a wish list to the North Pole, it might say something like this (and he had better hurry): “All I want for Christmas is a big, beautiful wall.” If congressional Democrats send a letter, it would be addressed to the Grinch, Santa’s sometime helper, and demand, “Stall the wall.”
The one wish that really matters is one for the American dream, which can be preserved only with the protection of sovereign borders. The president must hang tough in his border wall showdown with the foolish opposition.
The president’s Oval Office gaggle last week with reporters, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi descended into a fractious verbal slugfest during which the president insisted there can be no border security without a wall and the Democrats countered that they welcome security such as it might be possible without a wall.
The sticking point centers on the word “wall,” which Democrats regard as a four-letter word. Democrats have agreed to appropriate $1.6 billion for “fencing” at the southern border. President Trump is determined to get $5 billion, which would pay for something sturdier than the Democratic vision of a white-washed picket fence with long-stemmed roses climbing over it.
With the House of Representatives falling into Democratic hands next month, the Schumer-Pelosi axis agrees only to back a continuing resolution as a stopgap measure to keep the government in business. That might avert the partial government shutdown looming on Dec. 21, but it would not fill the likely gaps along the border with Mexico. Last month the number of illegal border crossings reached nearly 52,000, the highest number in nearly 10 years, while many eyes focused on the caravan of thousands beating on the crossing gates near Tijuana.
The president has staked out an uncompromising position over the wall: “If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall” he tweeted. “They know how important it is!” He said he would “proudly” own a government shutdown if no deal is reached. Bold and brave talk like that must be backed up by resolve.
Democrats feign concern for taxpayers who would pick up the tab, but a glance at the costs of illegal immigration demonstrates that the nation can hardly afford not to build it. The nation spent $2.4 billion in 2014 just to cover the costs of illegal immigrant women bearing their children in the United States, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. That’s far more than the $1.6 billion Democrats are willing to pay for border security.
The study found that 63 percent of households headed by an alien, which includes both illegals and those of foreign nationality with legal status, say they have used at least one welfare program. Only 35 percent of native-headed households did so. Noncitizens tend to become more dependent on welfare, not less, as the years go by. For those living in the U.S. less than 10 years, 50 percent are on some form of welfare; for those here for more than 10 years the rate is 70 percent.
Calculations of the full cost of illegal immigration vary widely. A 2017 study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform puts the annual cost of illegal immigration to federal, state and local governments at $135 billion. In contrast, the Center for Immigration Studies suggests that a bargain-basement wall costing only $12 billion to $15 billion, and presenting enough deterrence to prevent 160,000 to 200,000 illegal entries over a decade, would eventually pay for itself.
Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike, can’t settle for a whitewash of attempts to scuttle sovereign borders. A fresh survey by The Polling Company finds that of Americans who want Congress to focus on border security, 65 percent want a southern border wall. The other 35 percent say the United States could establish border security without the benefit of a wall.
Mr. Trump grasps something that Democrats do not. Americans cheerfully lead the world in charity, but understand that when immigrants enter the country without permission and demand assistance rather than ask for it, it’s not charity but tribute. If Medicare can afford to waste $52 billion in improper payments, as the Government Accountability Office says it did in 2017, there’s clearly enough money to pay for a wall to protect all of us. ‘Tis the season to get it done.