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GOP Playing Jenga With the Wall

By  |  March 10, 2017, 05:00pm  |  @MarcGiller

Not content with breaking just one campaign promise with its transmogrification of Obamacare into Swampcare, GOP establishmentarians are now signaling that the border wall with Mexico–one of Donald Trump’s signature issues–might be getting some resistance:

As the issues mount, several prominent Republicans are making their concerns more explicit.

 

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told constituents during a telephone town hall Wednesday that “billions of dollars on a wall is not the right way to proceed” to secure the border. “I don’t support a tariff to pay for any kind of wall.”

 

Although Gardner framed his position in the language of a fiscal conservative, his concerns are also those of a lawmaker who will face reelection in 2020 in a state where Hispanics already account for 21 percent of the population.

Because as we know, all Hispanics don’t want immigration law to be enforced, right?

Left unmentioned by Gardner is what he thinks the right way to secure the border might be.  Perhaps a few non-theatening signs posted at the more popular coyote crossings, painted a friendly shade of lavender with hearts and flowers and Hello Kitty saying, “No Trespassing Pretty Please”?  Of course, this being the federal government, they’d still find a way to make even that cost north of a million bucks.

Not wanting to be left out of the action, Mitch McConnell also weighed in on the Republican’s next cop-out:

Despite Trump’s insistence that Mexico will pay for the wall, Mexican officials have routinely rejected that assertion — and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell couldn’t help but laugh at it.

 

“Do you believe that Mexico will pay for it?” POLITICO Playbook’s Jake Sherman asked the Kentucky Republican on Thursday morning. “Uh, no,” he shot back, chuckling.

Way to go, Mitch.  It’s not like we were looking to use our leverage with Mexico or anything.  With props like that, I’m surprised Barack Obama didn’t have him negotiate the Iran Deal.

The Politico article goes on to say that since illegal border crossings are way down, some Congressional Republicans, whose natural position is to cringe anyway, don’t see the urgency in building a wall at this point in time.  What they surely understand–but are not saying because they assume their voters are dense–is that the only reason border crossings have plummeted is because illegal immigrants believe President Trump’s talk about getting tough on enforcement.  Not building the wall would telegraph that the United States isn’t serious after all, which would cause the illegals to come pouring in again.  But that’s rather the point for the open borders types, isn’t it?

The truth is we have a lot of huge advantage in our position with Mexico, in that around $24 billion worth of remittances get sent back there every year–the vast majority of it from the United States.  That represents more money than the country takes in from oil sales, and just a bit less than it takes in from tourism.  Simply put, Mexico depends on that free flow of cash, and there are a number of ways to use that to incentivize them to help finance construction of the wall.  A fee of 5% on every remittance could also be levied, which could potentially yield $1.2 billion a year.  No doubt people would try to find a way around it (as they always do), but at least it’s a place to start.

Because we need that wall.  Just as we need a military to keep the nation secure, we need control over our borders.  Whether we can build it has never been a question.  Whether we will–well, that just depends on us.  Voters sent a clear message last November when they sent Donald Trump to the White House.  We just need to keep the pressure on Congress to make sure they get it as well.