We had our mouths all set to publish an editorial on the president's national address Tuesday night--except we can't find anything on which to disagree. How many times can we say how much the nation needs a real southern border? Like any nation. What, are France, Israel, Greece, Norway and Spain less enlightened nations because they have walls? Because they determine who can get in and who can't? And here we thought it was only the ugly Americans who were so xenophobic that we wanted to talk to, interview, and generally check out folks who cross the border.
Check out? Yes, and in more ways than one. Maybe perform a background check to see if anybody's got gang ties or a rap sheet. But not only that. Dispatches from down south say more and more people are arriving at the border sick. As shown by the unfortunate deaths of two Guatemalan children who showed up unannounced.
Wednesday's Democrat-Gazette published an AP story about a young girl who was hoisted over a border fence, only to cut herself bad enough to require the attention of a hospital in San Diego. We hope that's a lesson to beware for illegal immigrants, not one to imitate: injure yourself crossing the border and get a free pass! Call it another reason to have a real, physical border--one made with something other than concertina wire--if only to funnel people to checkpoints where they can be processed. Before they hoist their young daughters over barbed wire.
One report issued this week quoted the head of border security, Kevin McAleenan, saying 50 people on average are referred for medical treatment at the border every day. Some are sick. Some are pregnant. Some are wounded. Some have sick or wounded kids. "Some of the illnesses that agents have been seeing on a recurring basis are typical winter diseases such as influenza. Some have been diagnosed with very serious problems, including pneumonia, tuberculosis, parasites and gastrointestinal illnesses."
That report didn't come from Fox News or The Washington Times. It came from that font of right-wing conservative hearsay, The Washington Post. More from that story:
"McAleenan called the situation at the border 'an unprecedented crisis' caused by a sharp increase in the number of younger, sicker people who are crossing. The number of asylum cases has more than doubled, fueled largely by Central American families fleeing violence in their home countries."
So the president, apparently, is listening to his people. (It doesn't happen all the time.) And those who are responsible for the safety of the American public say, yes, there's a big problem. They use the word "crisis." See above.
President Trump's address Tuesday night was altogether responsible and appropriate. Difficult to say that about the Democrats' response.
Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi tag-teamed this one, not leaving a response to a Rising Star or regular party joe, as usual. They must've thought there'd be a real audience this time around, and who can resist a big room?
"We want to start with the facts," Nancy Pelosi started.
Yes, let's. Here is one fact: In 2009, the man standing to her right during the broadcast Tuesday night said this about the topic: "Illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple. Until the American people are convinced we will stop future flows of illegal immigration, we will make no progress." But Chuck Schumer wasn't interested in repeating his own line this week. There's a president to oppose.
"The fact is," Rep. Pelosi said, "the women and children at the border are not a security threat."
How she knows that, she didn't say. Even if the children there aren't gang members, are they well? A body doesn't have to have a criminal record to be a security risk.
Sen. Schumer said the president is governing by temper tantrum. So what's new? He also said that Democrats want border security too; they just differ with the president on how to do it. And, when it comes to the government shutdown, "There's an obvious solution. Separate the shutdown from arguments over border security."
In other words, get the government back up and running, and the Congress can go back to ignoring the border.
We're not big fans of the shutdown, either. But it appears as though this president and congressional leaders are more interested in this power play than getting anything done. Border security has long been a bipartisan issue, with Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton--and Chuck Schumer--on record with their thoughts about how important a real, actual barrier is to the security of the United States.
But then a candidate named Donald Trump started talking about it during the last presidential election. Now to give him a wall would be to give him a win. And they couldn't allow him to brag about such a thing. And they certainly don't want to disappoint their own base. We imagine the government wouldn't be shut down, and $5 billion could found in the government's couch cushions, if this president's last name were anything but Trump.
To repeat Chuck Schumer's line before Donald Trump was elected: Illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple.
Well, it's still plain. But now that a Republican sits in the Oval Office, apparently it isn't that simple.
Editorial on 01/10/2019
Print Headline: Response to response