Archive for Monday, April 9, 2018

Opinion: Sending troops to border harmful

April 9, 2018

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They are women and children, workers in straw hats, a few elderly, carrying their scant belongings in knapsacks, walking hundreds of miles north through Mexico, away from the grinding poverty and horrific crime of their home country, Honduras — a caravan of refugees seeking protection from gangs who prey on their children, extort their meager earnings and will kill them if they report crimes they witness.

The migrants’ purpose is not to “invade” the United States as President Donald Trump seems to believe but to focus attention on their plight and that of the thousands of others left behind in Honduras. It is a largely symbolic journey that migrants have repeated every year since 2008.

Yet President Trump has now used the caravan to justify deploying the National Guard at the southern border with Mexico. The move plays well with right-wing talk show hosts and provocateurs and the minority in his base who are anti-immigrant, but it is both unnecessary and belligerent at a time when illegal immigration is at its lowest point in nearly 50 years.

Apparently, after watching Fox News Channel reports on the flow of some 1,000 refugees trekking across Mexico, Trump began warning of Armageddon. “Getting more dangerous. ‘Caravans’ coming,” he tweeted. It followed his meltdown on Easter Sunday morning when he displayed his Christian charity by notifying some 800,000 young people brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents when they were children that he would oppose any effort to give them legal status. “NO MORE DACA DEAL,” the president tweeted, this after promising just a couple of months ago that he’d take the heat and sign any bipartisan bill to give legal status to recipients of Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Trump’s military deployment at the border makes little sense. The southern border already has some 16,000 Border Patrol agents and 6,000 customs agents ensuring that few people cross illegally into the United States. These resources are supplemented by drones, some 12,000 sensors and 700 miles of physical barriers. There is no dramatic increase in the number of people immigrating to the U.S. illegally; indeed, the population of undocumented immigrants has remained stable for more than a decade, having fallen from its peak in 2007. The number of arrests of people trying to cross illegally has been declining for more than a decade and has now fallen to a 46-year low, with significant declines since Trump took office. Yet Trump stokes fear and anger to rile his base, ignoring reality and provoking tensions with an ally.

Trump’s deployment differs from earlier temporary assignments of National Guard troops along the border, which occurred in both the George W. Bush administration and the Obama administration. In those instances, the troops were deployed in response to specific crises. The Mexican government’s crackdown on drug cartels in 2006 sparked violence along the Mexican side of the border that threatened to spill over into the U.S. In 2010, high-profile killings on the U.S. side of the border caused alarm. But Trump’s rationale is different. He ordered the deployment in a fit of pique at his failure to secure funding to build his promised border wall. The refugee caravan is simply a colorful excuse for the president to engage in saber rattling.

Militarizing the border with Mexico will signal to an important ally that it is no longer our friend but a perceived enemy. Given our history with Mexico — which includes a U.S. invasion of the country, something Abraham Lincoln branded as “unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced,” and our taking of more than a third of its territory — Mexico may well view this as intolerable belligerence. Donald Trump seems to regard allies as enemies and enemies — for example, Russia — as friends. It is a dangerous gambit that undermines American security.

— Linda Chavez is a columnist with Creators Syndicate.

Comments

RJ Johnson 1 month, 2 weeks ago

We must secure our boarders. We have laws in this country that must be enforced. This will prevent diseases being brought into our country along with stopping terrorists! Not to mention the financial burden put on our tax and health system. End of story!

Kendall Simmons 1 month, 2 weeks ago

So you're going to guard our borders with doctors now???

And just what terrorists would have been stopped by blocking the border to Mexico? Oh. That's right. None.

And have you calculated in the $$ that illegals ADD to our economy? Like the taxes they PAY (you know, sales taxes, gas taxes, having taxes taken from their paychecks). And, personally, I don't think that the idea of crops rotting on the ground is a good step forward.

Gary Stussie 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Guest worker program, path to citizenship for Dreamers, end lottery ... the DEMs had the opportunity to "solve" the problem but they do not want this problem to go away. Their "business model" is find an issue that people feel strongly about and use it to garner votes.

Three Lawrence High School seniors could come up with a fair, legal process that would address all of the concerns you express and secure our boarder. Don't be duped!

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

One of my old outfits, the 12th Cav, was formed in 1901 with the mission of helping to secure our border with Mexico.

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 2 weeks ago

How else do you expect Trump to distract from the slumping stock market & trade war nonsense if he can't use his ol' standby of casual racism to appease his base?

Lowest illegal crossing rate in decades but we really NEED to throw all the money needed for this deployment into the Rio.

And just watch, these same people will be screaming bloody murder about the deficit again the moment democrats retake control.

Pete Kennamore 1 month, 2 weeks ago

your vitriol for those that differ with you isn't attractive

Greg Cooper 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I think vitriol is only that when it has no basis in fact. Dan's comment does nothing but point out the results and projected results of the Chump administration's motivations in immigration policy. Again.

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"....vit·ri·ol ˈvitrēəl,ˈvitrēˌôl/Submit noun noun: vitriol 1. cruel and bitter criticism. "her mother's sudden gush of fury and vitriol" Danny's manner, not the factual nature of his screed makes it vitriol.

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Apparently accurately pointing out someone's hypocrisy is now considered 'cruel & bitter'.

Not surprising from a supporter of a president who throws a hissy about people being mean to him anytime someone doesn't coddle him.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Why is it cruel and bitter and therefore "vitriol" when Daniel points out Trump's use of "casual racism" to distract his base from the inconvenient truths of his ill-conceived trade war and its resulting effects on the stock market? Do you have a better explanation of a policy than "casual racism" to describe his reliance on anecdotal stories about Mexican "bad hombres" who he describes as drug dealers and rapists or even terrorists pouring over the borders to make our country less secure? You can't say that the facts support a need for such a wall, since the numbers of illegal border crossings peaked in 2007 before the Obama Administration, and the fact is that many businesses in our own state's economy, along with many other states, have counted on Mexican cheap labor for their financial health over the decades. I mean, really: have you seen his loving descriptions of the Korean Demilitarized Zone? And how he thinks that kind of wall would be great between the US and Mexico?

Therefore I think there is a LOT of evidence of "casual racism" used as a convenient distraction by the Trump Administration to keep the base happy without really addressing the issues. If Trump were serious about further stemming the influx of illegal immigrants from the south, instead of calling out the military and building walls, he would get behind real reforms to the broken immigration policies that have created the double bind for so many. He would ask for legislation like the bipartisan committee put forward in 2013 before the Republicans in the House shot it down due to extremists within their ranks who think that "bipartisan" means pulling someone by the legs so hard that they come "bipart."

Well, that last sentence was a bit vitriolic wasn't it?

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Pointing out the hypocrisy of Trump & his supporters is not vitriol...it's fact.

"When they go low, we go high" got us Trump. Time to start calling things like they are even if it hurts their feelings.

Pete Kennamore 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"Never wrestle with a pig You get dirty and besides, the pig likes it" George Bernard Shaw Kennamore Out

Steve Hicks 1 month, 1 week ago

As with "vitriol," there's an unwillingness by his supporters to honestly hear and honestly understand anyone's stating the current president is a "liar."

His supporters choose to regard, and respond to, any such statement as a partisan attack. Doing so, they demonstrate their own entirely-partisan mindset, and their willfull choice to ignore the simple meaning of the word "liar."

A "liar" is a person who habitually makes assertions which are untrue.

The current president is a liar.

His followers are welcome to self-delude otherwise. But no honest person would believe or argue otherwise. No person of even minimal perception who has heard more than a few of his assertions...and that probably includes every single human being on planet earth...would find that statement a subjective partisan view of the current president, and not exactly what the word simply and clearly means.

Gary Stussie 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Don't you ever get tired of being shown to be wrong?

Federal government revenue is at record levels. President Trump has done more to addressing the economy, North Korea, ISIS, trade Imbalances, Syria, reducing crippling regulations, reducing illegal immigration in 15 months then his 3 predecessors.

Trade War ... read the paper! China just lowered its 25% tariff on American made car.

Stay focused on Mueller's collusion witchhunt and the Stormy saga and we won't have to worry about "the moment democrats retake control".

Gary Stussie 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"Lowest illegal crossing rate in decades" ... love the inconstancy. President Trump enforces immigration laws, illegal immigration goes down, DEMs use it to suggest Wall is not necessary. The Wall will make sure that if a Democrat ever again gets to the White House, selective enforcement of immigration laws will not result in an open boarder situation again.

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The rate has been going down for years. Nothing Trump did caused or even helped that.

I'm sure you'll be giving Obama his due credit for that any minute.

Gary Stussie 1 month, 2 weeks ago

History will "give Obama his due" ... when all these crooked Obama administration officials write all their books, you will all see just what we had in the Oval Office!

Steve Hicks 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Let's also deport all the people already in the U.S. who can't speak English.

Those who don't know the difference between "boarder" and "border," for example.

It's time we stop all their ugly roomers.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

You mean "they're ugly roomers" I presume.

Steve Hicks 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I was afraid to say that. The apostrophe's and "quotation mark" police are always watching our comments. LOL.

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The gratuitous use of scare quotes is part of the othering process being used by the leftists on this site.

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