By Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
Once again, we find ourselves in the midst of a political game of chicken between competing views for the future of our country. And once again, the ones who are stuck in the middle are the American people.
This time, the battle of wills is over the funding of the wall to our southern border. President Trump wants $5 billion allocated to the wall’s construction. The Democrats, on the other hand, have said they are willing to commit $1.6 billion to the wall, and not a penny more.
In the meantime, the nation is being exposed to the reality of an immigration crisis Democrats and the mainstream media said before the election did not exist, and now vainly argue is due to the President’s new policies on immigration.
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear; the only reason we find ourselves in the midst of an immigration crisis of this magnitude is because of the decades of ineptitude and incompetence by Congress in not providing the resources and personnel needed to definitively seal the border.
Enter President Donald J. Trump. President Trump has been one of the few ferocious advocates for border control. One of his central and most important planks to his platform is building the border wall and the definitive eradication of illegal immigration. In fact, a Harvard/Harris poll from Aug. 1 showed that 76% of the American people want border security, and with the impact of the images and goings-on related to the Central American caravan, that number has likely crept up even higher.
Amazingly, the Republican members of Congress who are now entering the waning days of their control of all three steeples of power do not seem to have the resolve to push a $5 billion allocation for border wall funding to the president’s desk. The purported reasons are as varied as they are hollow. We can’t afford it they say. Walls are a terrible way to maintain security, and there are other, more effective ways of securing our border.
No one is saying that the border wall should be built at the expense of not funding other complementary measures of promoting border security. Quite the opposite. Congress should be funding every possible avenue designed to help ensure the security and safety of America’s borders. Why the Republican-led Congress cannot get a bill to the president’s desk designing and funding a permanent, virtually impenetrable solution for our border security inclusive of the construction of an effective wall against southern migrants defies reality.
In the meantime, President Trump, who is one of the few who understands the gravity of this situation, has demonstrated his resolve to see the implementation of effective border security policy by expressing his willingness shutdown the government if the wall is not funded. The response by some has been to dare him to do it.
Just like during the Obama administration, opponents and members of the swamp have predicted that the earth will end and the skies will rain down fire and fury if a portion of the federal government is allowed to go unfunded even for 10 minutes. Unfortunately for the doomsayers, we have already seen that the negative effects of shutting down the federal government are not that terrible. As a matter of fact, about the most visible consequence of the last shutdown was President Obama’s vengeful closure of the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., at the same time that a group of Honor Flight participants arrived to be honored for their incredible, patriotic service during World War II.
Recognizing that the consequences of a government shutdown are not as harrowing as the swamp and the mainstream media would like us to believe, the next fear-mongering argument to be made is the threat of a political meltdown. Here again, the doomsayers are wrong.
First, let us recall that the one who closed the government during the Obama era was the Republican Congress. If anything, even if we were to accept the doomsayers’ political fallout prediction, it was Congress that lost against the President, a fact that actually favors President Trump.
Moreover, as opposed to the shutdown during the Obama administration where the issue was spending, the overwhelming majority of the American public side with the President on immigration reform — and enthusiastically so. No reasonable observer can cast aspersions on the President’s position on immigration and the urgency with which the issue needs to be definitively resolved. If a confrontation were to take place, it is the President who is in the position of strength on this issue and positioned to gain.
President Trump is right on immigration, and he should demand cooperation from the Congress, even if enforcing his demand results in a government shutdown. In the end, he will win, and more importantly, so will the American people.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and cohost of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod. Dr. Gonzalez is presently serving in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.