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Wed Jan 9, 2019, 05:39 PM

The U.S. Doesn't Have a Border Crisis. Trump's Campaign Does.


By Jonathan Chait @jonathanchait

In a short, uncharacteristically non-meandering speech to the nation from the Oval Office punctuated by loud sniffing, President Trump depicted illegal immigration as an urgent crisis. In place of cogent policy arguments, Trump substituted his familiar anecdotes about immigrants rampaging the countryside to commit a series of grisly crimes against law-abiding Americans.

A more realistic assessment was provided by administration officials, who told the Washington Post (as the Post reporter put it), “Trump believes forcing a drastic reckoning by executive action may be necessary given the Democratic resistance and the wall’s symbolic power for his core voters.”

Two words in that sentence, symbolic power, tell you everything you need to know about Trump’s motivation. A symbolic goal is the opposite of a crisis.

The lack of a wall is a crisis for Trump, of course, because it is his most famous policy goal — for many of his voters, probably the only one that springs to mind. Failure to fulfill it may hurt him badly in 2020. It is not rationally connected to either illegal immigration nor to crime. The administration recently claimed 4,000 suspected terrorists crossed the southern border in the first half of last year. The actual number is six.

Amazingly, it is not even a goal Trump himself has pursued with any urgency until this last December. He devoted almost no effort to securing wall funds during the two years when his party enjoyed full control of government (during which he might have leveraged Republican desperation for corporate tax cuts to force them to fund his wall). His 2019 budget proposed to spend just $1.6 billion more on border security — which is to say, he is now demanding Congress give him three times as much as he asked for in his own blue-sky plan. As recently as December 19, he told Congress he would sign a clean bill to continue government funding with no additional fencing.

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http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/01/the-u-s-doesnt-have-a-border-crisis-trumps-campaign-does.html

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Reply The U.S. Doesn't Have a Border Crisis. Trump's Campaign Does. (Original post)
DonViejo Jan 9 OP
Kali Jan 9 #1
PJMcK Jan 9 #2

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2019, 05:40 PM

1. "In a short, uncharacteristically non-meandering speech to the nation from the Oval Office

punctuated by loud sniffing,..."

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2019, 05:54 PM

2. Excellent analysis

Thanks for posting the link, DonViejo!

You are indefatigable and greatly appreciated.

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