Since the latest government shutdown, Democrats have fed Americans many a line about border security. Their unified messaging started with the collective outcry that President Trump was throwing a temper tantrum, and that the border crisis did not exist, or is manufactured. Their claims were debunked with facts, and further destroyed when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), demanded the president re-open the government in order to “proceed with a much-needed discussion to protect the border.”
Next, we heard the bit of messaging that stuck: that Trump did not care about the plight of government employees. For nearly three weeks, Democrats flooded the media with statements about the 800,000 federal employees without work, paychecks, and heat during the shutdown.
That funeral dirge changed to a victory crow the moment Trump re-opened the government for three weeks to pursue negotiations regarding border security. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) hoped that “Trump [had] learned his lesson.” Pelosi gloated that the president “‘underestimated’ the unity among Democrats.”
The mainstream media, too, jumped aboard and sung along. According to a Sunday CNN headline, Trump “lost the shutdown and Pelosi won.” The article tallied polling data showing declining support for the president, closing on a Fox News poll that says voters find “Pelosi is better than Trump at ‘Washington gamesmanship.’”
Democrats Were Using the American People
But in those admissions, and in claiming their victory over Trump, it became painfully obvious that, to the Democrats, the 800,000 federal employees whose causes they supposedly championed had been no more than convenient tools. As soon as the shutdown was announced, Democrats dropped their messaging about federal workers, like Carl Houtman in Madison, Wisconsin, who knows that “in three weeks, we may be playing this game of chicken again.”
Evidence from leading Democrats’ social media messaging last weekend pointed to more obstruction, with no mentions of the border crisis, but plenty of ruminating about Trump’s alleged ties with Vladimir Putin and Russia, and tired, myopic claims that Trump’s hatred (and Trump’s hatred alone) has broken apart the country.
For the first part of the week, as Democrats and Republicans ironed out their border security proposals, Pelosi promised that a Democratic solution would include no funding for a wall, ignoring the input and expertise of U.S. Border Patrol personnel out of her personal animus towards the president.
On Thursday afternoon, Pelosi offered a solution from the first and second World Wars: Normandy fencing, “crisscrossed posts, lined with barbed wire or mesh.” “If the president wants to call that a wall, he can call it a wall,” Pelosi pithily remarked. Normandy fencing, however, will only stop vehicles. It merely slows people down.
When the president addressed Americans on Thursday afternoon about the pressing nature of the border crisis, he showed how our border is circumvented daily. In the video, a bus drops illegal immigrants off at the side of a road that runs directly along the border. The illegal immigrants run, utterly unimpeded, into American soil. With Normandy fencing, the path into our country would merely involve an extra hop.
While Democrats explore how they can turn being “anti-Trump” into a permanent policy position, humans are in peril.
Opposing Trump Doesn’t Solve the Border Security Crisis
Three additional caravans of Central American migrants are approaching our borders even as Pelosi makes disingenuous concessions. Meanwhile, Border Patrol agents are still over-encumbered due to the need to locate medical treatment for the 2,224 migrants who, within the last month, “have been hospitalized due to health issues that could not be treated on site.”
Bringing migrants to medical facilities has taken up 20,000 hours of Border Patrol agents’ time since October, and because unvaccinated migrants with unknown diseases are brought to American hospitals and urgent care centers, they have “pushed to the side” Americans waiting to be seen, as they “did not want to be around any type of illness [the migrants] could be bringing in.” Thus far, the illnesses media have been made aware of include scabies, and an instance of flesh-eating bacteria that will require “extensive treatment.”
Democrats may not believe it, but more humans than the 800,000 federal workers they exploited during the shutdown are affected by our border insecurity. They show concern for illegal aliens, but what about the children brought into the United States by human traffickers?
While Democrats cried foul about government workers, Trump was working for the children who will never know a parent, or parents, because of our epidemic-level problem with heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2017, 494,000 people in the United States reported they had used heroin in the last year. That same year, 15,482 overdose deaths were attributed to heroin. About 90 percent of U.S. heroin comes from Mexico.
Trump was fighting for American children, like 18-month-old Ava Floyd, who have fallen victim to deadly fentanyl. Incredibly potent, the drug was responsible for 29 percent of the 63,000 American overdose fatalities in the United States in 2016. About 80 percent of fentanyl crosses into the United States from Mexico.
Last Saturday, Border Patrol officials made the single largest seizure of fentanyl at our border, with over 254 pounds ––enough to kill 115 million Americans––discovered on a secondary inspection of the interior of one of the 1,500 trucks that pass through the border crossing in Nogales, Arizona each day.
Ignoring Important Issues (and Constituents)
Democrats have not only kept their heads in the sand about our overtaxed Border Patrol agents, the plight of human trafficking victims, and the dangers of our opioid crisis. They have also actively avoided addressing the permanent losses experienced by Americans, like our “angel moms,” whose family members have been killed by illegal immigrants.
Trump, however, has taken the time to listen. On more than three occasions, the president has spoken personally with Ray Tranchant, whose 16-year-old daughter Tessa (and 17-year-old friend Ali) were killed when an illegal immigrant with higher than a 0.3 blood alcohol content and three prior alcohol-related convictions slammed into their vehicle at a stoplight in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2007.
Tranchant has received assurances from Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that neither will abandon his cause––and he believes them. Tranchant is certain that Trump is unconcerned about polling data, or whether his shutdown concession upsets his base, because the president is sincerely devoted to “find[ing] ways to secure the border, and revamp the immigration loopholes.”
The shutdown was a missed opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to work towards a solution to a border crisis that has far-reaching effects. During the budget negotiations, Democrats ought to remember that, for those affected by our porous border and the shutdown, this has never been a game.