Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Shutdown And The Wall

     The Dishonorable Charles Schumer, perhaps the least sincere person ever to hold federal office, has proclaimed the border wall “off the table:”

     Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he had withdrawn an offer to Trump of $25 billion for new border security measures in exchange for permanent legal protections for some undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

     “We’re going to have to start on a new basis, and the wall offer’s off the table,” Schumer told reporters. He said his proposal had applied only to a deal that was never realized.

     News of his decision came as Schumer is facing a backlash from liberals that he had been too accommodating to the president.

     President Trump struck back at once:

     Late Tuesday night, Trump reiterated that “if there is no Wall, there is no DACA.”

     Let’s not omit to mention that Schumer’s “wall offer” was for a portion of the funding required – about 15% — to be included in the budget for fiscal year 2019 with no guarantee of any other funding (or political support) at any later time. In exchange, Schumer demanded increased immigration, the protection of the provisions for chain migration, the maintenance of the “immigration lottery,” and absolute, guaranteed not to expire protection for the “DREAMers” and for all their “chained-in” relatives as well. Crumbs in exchange for a political haymaker that would guarantee that the Democrats would take the Senate in 2018 and defeat Trump’s re-election bid in 2020.

     Border control, which emphatically includes a physical barrier that would cover most if not all of America’s southern border, was President Trump’s signature issue during his presidential campaign. It’s easy to imagine that Trump, who has built his reputation on keeping his promises and delivering exemplary performance, would staunchly defend his position. It’s the issue on which a reversal would hurt him worst. But wait: there’s more!

     We now know that the Left’s political masters regard illegal aliens as future Democrat votes, politically indispensable to their future prospects. Internal memos already multiply reported by the media have made that close to undeniable. California has ripped away what little veil was left over their scheme by enabling illegal aliens to vote in California elections. Thus, the Democrats’ true problem is that, while they’ve pretended that a border wall and the associated intensified controls and patrols are “unnecessary,” and that Republican support for them is founded in “racism,” the public is now aware that they oppose those things for reasons of partisan advantage.

     But then, with the Democrats, everything is ultimately about partisan advantage.

     Some states are worse afflicted by illegal aliens than others. My own state of New York is perhaps second or third worst. Even here on Long Island, a traditionally “high rent” district where one might expect an illegal alien to have a hard time making ends meet, we’re close to overrun by them. How can this be?

     Cheap labor is probably the largest reason. People like bargains, and the bargain an illegal-alien labor force can offer is pretty impressive. After all, the laborers pay no taxes, and their employers pay little to or for them. Also, individual illegals can offer themselves to well to do two-income families as inexpensive domestic help: typically nannies and house cleaners.

     But cheap labor must live somewhere. That’s provided by Long Island’s thousands of “off the books” landlords. These think little of packing basement apartments, some of them mere “studio / efficiency” units, with groups of illegals. On those few occasions when such an arrangement comes to light, the living conditions revealed are squalid or worse. The governments of Long Island’s townships, nominally charged with enforcing zoning laws and the relevant health and safety regulations, have tended to look the other way. Bureaucrats like cheap labor too.

     A network of “facilitators” with “connections” helps to wire illegals into these schemes. If you’ve ever seen a large crowd of swarthy young men congregated along a highway access strip or near a convenience store at an early hour of the day, they’re waiting for transportation to wherever they hope to work that day. No, there won’t be room – or work – enough for all of them, but they’ll take their chances. What else is there?

     The remarkable thing is how quiet the construction and trades unions have been about all of it. Do they somehow benefit from the illegal influx as well? At this point I cannot say.

     In many ways, the illegal tide has brought back Depression-era political and economic conditions. The recent movie Cinderella Man, about the Depression-era struggles of boxing great “Gentleman Jim” Braddock, depicts some of the features of those conditions: too little work for too many workers who must accept paltry wages and endure subsistence-level living conditions, having no (legal) means of escaping them.

     Political elites don’t benefit from such conditions solely by the acquisition of cheap labor. Even if the laborers can’t vote for them – a restriction that’s become dubious – they can exploit the laborers’ plight through the mechanism of weaponized empathy. Few Americans actively want to be seen as “heartless.” Many will respond to the call to “do something” for those whose suffering is “undeserved.”

     The tactic has served the Democrats well for many years. However, success breeds failure. The utility of the tactic has worn thin as middle and working-class Americans, unable to benefit from the illegal torrent yet saddled with the costs in increased crime rates, increased taxation, rapidly collapsing schools and other public systems, and ever less safe neighborhoods, have realized what’s been done to them and have resolved to stand against it. It was largely that which elevated Donald Trump to the presidency.

     As reaction to the “Schumer Shutdown” has indicated, the public is on to the game. The Democrats might not be ready institutionally to admit it yet, but some of their more prominent figures are showing signs of illumination. How they will respond, once the change has become undeniable, remains to be seen. However, we may confidently expect that the longstanding deceptions – i.e., about the wall and greater border control being “unnecessary” and symptoms of “racism” — will fade to nothing, for as Bertrand Russell said, a man can be kept ignorant, but he cannot be made ignorant. Stay tuned.

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