by Joseph Klein
A case for a border wall or Israel-style fence.
Approximately 100 Central American migrants marched to the U.S. consulate in Tijuana on Tuesday delivering a letter with a 72-hour ultimatum: either “allow free entry to all members” of the caravan into the United States or pay them $50,000 each to return to their “homeland.” Organizer Alfonso Guerrero Ulloa of Honduras, a suspected terrorist allegedly involved in a 1987 bombing that wounded six American soldiers in Honduras, claimed that $50,000 was “a small sum compared to everything the United States has stolen from Honduras.” The money, he said, could be used to return home and start a small business. So much for any fear of persecution in their “homeland” that would give these migrants a legitimate basis for seeking asylum! Simply pay each of the migrants $50,000 and they will be happy to go home. A second group of about 50 caravan members delivered on Tuesday their own letter to the U.S. consulate, claiming that slow processing of asylum requests violated U.S. and international law. This letter did not contain any demand for money but pressed for an increase in the daily number of asylum-seekers admitted at the San Ysidro Port of Entry to as many as 300. The current rate is between 40 and 100.
Alfonso Guerrero Ulloa, the migrant group organizer pushing the alternative free entry or pay shakedown demands, is not a migrant himself. After denying involvement in the 1987 bombing in Honduras, Mexico granted him asylum. He has been living there since 1987. Whatever the truth of his denial of involvement in the bomb attack, Ulloa was by his own admission a member of a now defunct left-wing group known as the Popular Revolutionary Forces-Lorenzo Zelayaas. A report published by the U.S. government in April 1990 described the Popular Revolutionary Forces-Lorenzo Zelayaas as one of several “leftist guerrilla groups [in Honduras] that have resorted to terrorist tactics in the past.” Now posing as an organizer on behalf of Central American migrants even though he was not part of the caravans himself, Ulloa has taken contempt for the rule of law to a new level. The demand he delivered for free entry into the United States or payment of money should be placed in the circular file. If this alleged terrorist, who already has asylum protection in Mexico, ever makes his way illegally into the United States, he should be immediately arrested and deported back to Honduras to stand trial.
The U.S. consulate staff in Tijuana went far beyond the call of duty in allowing Ulloa and the migrants into the consulate to present their demands and giving them what one of the migrants described as a “warm welcome.” Such a show of compassion is misplaced. It will only encourage more migrants to try the same ploy or to up the ante with staged encounters for the cameras. It is not a stretch to envision migrants, some with babies in their arms and holding the hands of small children, entering the U.S. consulate the next time and refusing to leave the premises until their demands are acted upon. Hunger strikes that have taken place near the consulate may move inside to gain more attention. More caravans of migrants from Central America will follow, demanding open borders.
Last March, a group calling itself Refugee Caravan 2018, together with the open borders activist organization Pueblo Sin Fronteras that has been involved in organizing the caravans, issued a press release declaring “that by uniting we can abolish borders.” They demanded Mexico and the United States “to open the borders to us because we are as much citizens as the people of the countries where we are and/or travel.” Of course, the United States is their real target since many of the caravan migrants have refused offers of asylum in Mexico.
If the United States is to preserve its sovereign right to control its own borders, the Trump administration must continue to pursue a maximum border security policy. President Trump’s threat to allow the government to shut down if he does not receive the $5 billion he is seeking to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico shows he means business. After President Trump’s televised clash at the White House on Tuesday with the Democrat House Minority Leader (and presumed next speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Pelosi derisively referred to President Trump’s focus on the “wall thing” as “like a manhood thing with him.” In her December 6th press conference, she shot down the idea of supporting some degree of wall funding if she got in return a permanent bona fide solution on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). She called the wall “immoral, ineffective and expensive.” Even if Mexico were to pay for the wall, Pelosi said, “it's immoral still.”
Perhaps President Trump could compromise by proposing to build the kind of large sensor-rigged, razor wire-lined border fence that Israel has with Egypt. This fence has substantially cut the number of illegal immigrants entering Israel. According to a 2017 Majority Staff Report of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the construction began in 2010. Most of the construction took two years to complete. “In 2010, Israel saw 13,807 illegal entries at its border with Egypt, largely from sub-Saharan Africans looking for work,” the report said. During those two years, “16,514 illegal entries were recorded in 2011 and 10,042 were recorded in 2012,” the report added. “Illegal entries fell substantially after the completion of the security fence—to 43 in 2013 and 12 in 2014.” After Israel discovered that ladders were being used by illegal immigrants, causing the number of illegal entries in 2015 to rise to 213, “Israel increased the height of the fence, rendering the ladders ineffective. In 2016, illegal crossers dropped to 11.” This represented a 99 percent decrease from 2011.
Given the turnover of majority control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats next year, President Trump has a narrow window during the remainder of this year’s lame duck session to have any chance of securing the full $5 billion he is seeking to build an effective barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, whether a concrete wall or the kind of border fence that Israel has successfully constructed. So far, Senate Democrats appear willing to filibuster anything approaching the $5 billion figure. The president needs to stick with his pledge to shut down the parts of the government not already funded to push the Democrats in his direction, although they may be perfectly willing to let him take the political heat for a government shutdown.
If President Trump does not get his way with Congress this year, he should consider as his first order of business in January declaring a state of emergency in accordance with the National Emergencies Act. Such a presidential declaration may allow the Secretary of Defense to terminate or defer the construction, operation, maintenance, or repair of any Department of the Army civil works project that he deems not essential to the national defense. He can then repurpose the resources, including funds, to the construction, operation, maintenance, and repair of authorized civil works, military construction, and civil defense projects that are essential to the national defense. There is already some limited legislative authority for construction and repair of a border barrier, to which President Trump could direct the Defense Secretary to add the repurposed funds under the presidential emergency declaration. There are requirements for regular reporting to Congress. Moreover, Congress can enact into law a joint resolution terminating the president’s emergency declaration, which. however, would be unlikely to succeed in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Litigation, most likely brought by open borders advocates in the liberal 9th Circuit, is certain to follow the president’s declaration of a national emergency. The usual cast of left-wing activists can be expected to challenge the president’s authority in court to declare the illegal immigration crisis a legitimate national emergency and to challenge his authority to order the diversion of funds from their current purposes to pay for a border wall or Israel-style fence. The 9th Circuit judges will likely side with the plaintiffs challenging the president’s constitutional and legislative authority to act forcefully for the security and well-being of the American people, as these judges invariably do. That will be a fight worth having. The open borders leftists must be stopped from putting Americans at risk and obliterating U.S. national sovereignty.
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