In the early days of Bill Clinton’s campaign to oust President George Herbert Walker Bush from the White House in 1992, his campaign strategists concocted a slogan that defined Bush as a failure and set the guardrails for the Democrats’ entire campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid.”
It stuck, and as they say, the rest is history.
Let’s cut to the chase. Donald Trump is changing his position on illegal immigration. I, Tom Tancredo, the man who has championed border controls and immigration enforcement more than any other national figure, say: no big deal. It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!
I do care whether Donald Trump changes his position or “refines” his position, on deportation of millions of illegal aliens. But what I care about most — and what all patriots and constitutionalists should tattoo on their eyelids — is that Donald Trump, not Hillary Clinton, must make the next Supreme Court appointments.
Yes, I know: There is no way to guarantee that Donald Trump will make the same appointments to the Supreme Court that Ted Cruz or Tom Tancredo would make.
Republican President Richard Nixon gave us the author of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, and George H.W. Bush gave us David Souter. But what is guaranteed is that Trump’s appointments to federal courts will be 1,000 percent better than Hillary Clinton’s. (Can you spell Associate Justice B-a-r-a-c-k -O-b-a-m-a?)
Constitutional conservatives understand that our immigration laws are meaningless if they are not enforced. It will mean nothing if President Trump orders a wall built from Brownsville to San Diego if a lawsuit brought by a dozen leftist groups results in a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down that order as contrary to the Constitution.
The same is true for every single important issue you can name, from education choice to refugee admissions, from criminal justice reform to repeal of Obamacare. If Hillary Clinton is allowed to remake the entire Supreme Court for a generation in the image of Justices Ginsberg and Sotomayor, our Constitution is dead and salt poured on the gravesite.
What is most important — and most important by a factor of one hundred — is that the Scalia vacancy and every other vacancy that occurs be filled by a judge who respects the Constitution as a restraint on Congress and the President, not a blank slate for creating a socialist utopia of “transformative justice.”
Yes, immigration policy is one of the two most important challenges that will confront the president sworn in on January 20, 2017. The other is Islamist terrorism. I hope Donald Trump spells out ambitious, sensible and effective plans for meeting those two challenges.
Yet, frankly, I do not care much about the changing details or the numbers in his call for deportations, or how high or how long the wall will be, or how many thousand refugees from Muslim countries will be allowed admission instead of the 100,000 yearly Hillary will allow.
Those details and those numbers will all be subject to negotiation with Congress, including Republican leaders who are not friendly to robust immigration enforcement. What I care about very much and what I know for a 100 percent certainty is that those decisions and proposals by President Donald Trump will be one thousand percent more consistent with my constitutional principles than the decisions made by President Hillary Clinton.
What is not in the spotlight of media coverage of the campaign is this truth: Even if Trump and Congress deadlock on new immigration policies, all President Trump has to do to change direction radically is to order the robust enforcement of our current immigration laws. Bingo!
So, if candidate Trump needs to trim his sales on immigration law enforcement in order to get to 270 Electoral College votes on November 8, that will not give me heartburn. Half a loaf from Trump is better than a handful of stale crumbs from Hillary Clinton and the National Council of La Raza.
Why am I so accommodating to a less “hard-line” immigration platform? The answer is as simple as it is obvious: After eight years of Obama’s government by executive decree, not only in immigration but across a broad spectrum of government programs, our Constitution is in tatters.
If we invite four more years of this lawlessness with a Supreme Court clearing the way for every new insult to American sovereignty and the rule of law, there will be no possibility of returning to the constitutional government we inherited from ten generations of patriots.
We do not need a host of new immigration laws, and if fact, we not need a 1,500-mile wall on the southwest border. What we need most is the conscientious enforcement of existing immigration laws that have been subverted and castrated by Obama.
After a housecleaning and restaffing the upper echelons of the Department of Homeland Security, a simple order from President Trump to the 25,000 officers of the US Border Patrol would be sufficient to halt 95 percent of the illegal traffic across our border. That order would be only ten words: Do your job, and call me if you need anything.
The really good news is that such simple policies — the actual enforcement of existing immigration laws — do not require new legislation. They do not require cutting a deal with Senator Chuck Schumer or the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. What the enforcement of immigration laws does require is a Supreme Court that respects the Constitution and the President’s oath to take care that laws be faithfully executed.
If Clinton’s Supreme Court reverses the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court ruling that invalidated Obama’s “executive amnesty,” then new immigration laws will be meaningless because they will mean whatever President Hillary Clinton wants them to mean.
In 2016, we have come to a day or reckoning in American politics. Patriots must take sides, and also must take up arms. In politics, our arms are our votes. Those votes will not be cast for mythical perfect candidates, for better candidates that should have won or might have won, but didn’t. We have to vote for one of two candidates who have a chance to take that oath of office on a cold day in January.
For myself, when I cast my ballot, I will not be asking whether Donald Trump’s immigration policies are 100 percent in tune with my own. It is enough that whatever policies he finally adopts, my country has a 1,000 percent better chance of survival than if Hillary Clinton is making Supreme Court appointments designed to complete Obama’s dream of remaking America into something the patriots who died in battle at Bunker Hill, Omaha Beach and Fallujah would not recognize.