Democrats’ Choice: Block Pentagon Spending or Accept Border Wall

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File Photo: Wendy Shattil and Bob Rozinski/Getty Images

Democrats will have to block the Pentagon’s 2018 budget in September if they want to stop President Donald Trump’s plan to extend the nation’s border walls in 2018, say immigration reformers.

The border-wall funds were included in the Pentagon’s 2018 budget by a House vote on July 27, leaving the 48 Senate Democrats as the only barrier to the construction of roughly 60 additional miles of walls and fencing.

“It puts them in the difficult position of voting against national defense in order to stop the improvement of the border wall … which is national defense,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “It is bad for them on both sides of the message — not only do they not want to protect the border, they are also willing to sacrifice soldiers in the field to not protect the borders,” he added. 

“It seems like [House Speaker Paul] Ryan does deserve some credit — if he follows through… [but] we have to see what [GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell does,” said Krikorian.

“It will be difficult for [Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer] to explain why he is willing to hold up the defense budget hostage,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

“This [funding] is what the administration requested,” he added. Ryan “has got it in there, and you can bet there will be a fight in the Senate where it takes 60 votes to get anything to the floor,” he said.

The inclusion of border wall funding in the Pentagon budget also makes it more difficult for Democrats to demand a political payment for approval of the wall. Their proposed payment could be an amnesty for the 800,000 DACA illegals — but immigration reformers such as Krikorian want to delay any DACA amnesty until the Democrats agree to a major pro-American reform of the nation’s immigration laws. That reform would include approval of Trump’s proposed wage-boosting “RAISE Act.”

The spending bill, also known as the Make America Secure Appropriations Act, was passed by a vote of 235-192. According to the committee’s statement:

The bill includes the full legislation and funding for four of the 12 annual Appropriations bills, including: the Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Energy and Water, and the Legislative Branch Appropriations bills. This funding extends through the entire 2018 fiscal year. The package also contains a portion of the Homeland Security Appropriations bill – approximately $1.6 billion, the full White House requested amount, for physical barrier construction on the Southern border.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen made the following statement on the legislation:

“The primary Constitutional duty of the Congress is to ensure the safety of the homeland and the American people. This legislation is carefully crafted to fulfill that duty – funding our critical military priorities, supporting our veterans, and making our borders more secure.

“This bill will help guarantee that we are prepared to meet any threat from anyone or anywhere – from China in the Pacific, to international terror groups like ISIS, al Qaeda, al Nusra, Al Shabab, Hezbollah and Hamas, to transnational drug smugglers and criminal gangs.

GOP leaders will have to keep the pressure on the Democrats if they want to get the border-wall funding, said Mehlman. Many Democratic groups oppose the wall, but multiple Democratic Senators are facing tough elections in 2018, and polls show that Trump’s immigration and border policies are very popular when viewed as economic issues, he said.

Democratic Senators “facing rough [2018] reelections in purple states might not want to have to go home to explain [an anti-wall vote] to their constituents,” Mehlman said. 

The cost of the wall will be quickly entirely offset by a reduction in the $100 billion bill that local, state and federal governments are required to spend each year on the nation’s population of illegal immigrants, said Mehlman.

The border wall debate is complicated by the likely end in September of President Barack Obama’s 2012 DACA amnesty for 800,000 younger illegal immigrants.

Democrats want Trump to sign legislation that will legally confirm the amnesty — perhaps in exchange for a year of wall funding. Trump’s globalist aides likely would recommend signing the amnesty legislation if it helps them gain a big tax-cut bill.

Pro-American immigration reformers oppose any near-term DACA trade, saying Trump should concentrate on passing a comprehensive immigration reform in 2018 or 2019 which would trim the inflow of low-skill workers, streamline enforcement procedures, strengthen border defenses and require companies to exclude illegals from job applications.

Each year, the government also hands out almost 3 million short-term work permits to foreign workers. These permits include roughly 330,000 one-year OPT permits for foreign graduates of U.S. colleges, roughly 200,000 three-year H-1B visas for foreign white-collar professionals, and 400,000 two-year permits to DACA illegals.

The current annual flood of foreign labor spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate priceswidens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families.

Multiple business groups admit that Trump’s popular RAISE Act immigration and economic reform would raise Americans’ salaries.

Many polls show that Americans are very generous, they do welcome individual immigrants, and they do want to like the idea of immigration. But the polls also show that most Americans are increasingly worried that large-scale legal immigration will change their country and disadvantage themselves and their children. Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” policies are also extremely popular, including among Democratic-leaning voters.

 

 

 

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