President Trump took to prime-time TV to make his case for a $5 billion dollar taxpayer-funded wall on the US southern border, calling the situation a “national emergency.”
The Democrat-controlled House disputes his assessment, and has refused to pass legislation with wall funding.
Without a budget resolution, the federal government has been shutdown.
The president made his case directly to the American people; Democrats followed with their perspective. Here are some highlights from both positions.
President Trump’s position
there is a national crisis
The national crisis is a result of illegal immigration along our southern border. Since the border is not fortified, illegal immigrants are flooding into the country.
The number of immigrants that are coming into the country illegally is at a two-decade-long low.
In 2000, 1.6 million people were caught by Border Control trying to cross the southern border into the United States.
In 2001, 1.3 million were stopped.
In 2017, 303,000 people were caught trying to cross the southern border.
In addition, the majority of illegal immigrants are those who enter the country legally and then overstay their visas.
Illegal immigrants bring drugs into the country.
In 2017, over 15,000 people in the US died of drug overdoses involving heroin. And, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, most heroin comes in to the US through Mexico, but most of it comes in through legal points of entry.
Building a barrier wall would do little to change drug trafficking.
the wall will be paid for through the reworking of NAFTA
If the country “earns” money as a result of a new trade deal, it’ll be through an increase in taxes from the production of goods or services. This tax money isn’t earmarked for a wall, but rather its allocation is determined by Congress.
Back to square one.
At least one Congressional body is opposed to the wall. And, congressional oversight on the government’s purse is written into the constitution.
President Trump’s campaign promise
Securing the southern border was a promise made by then-candidate Trump many, many times.
Yet, a mid-December poll shows that 54 percent of poll respondents opposed the wall.
executive power abuse
President Trump is proposing to declare a state of emergency and go around the Congress—the governmental body that is supposed to allocate funds–to get what he wants.
“I can do it if I want,” he declared.
the humanitarian crisis
Record-breaking numbers of migrant families are looking for asylum, which has led to overcrowded conditions and a backlog of asylum cases in the courts.
Two Guatemalan children taken into U.S. custody died in December.
Democrats have asked for $1.6 million for increased border security.
other technology is available
While a wall may be appropriate to stop cars and trucks, drones may be much more effective against people trying to cross the border on foot. Drones are cheap and portable, and funding could be used to develop the technology.
a representative government
A Quinnipiac poll released last month showed 54 percent of Americans of any political affiliation oppose the wall regardless of who is paying to finance the project.