The mess at the border

A few political thoughts this morning.

First, Trump is even more deranged than ever. He wants to execute Gen. Mark Milley for revealing that he (Trump) doesn’t like being around wounded veterans. I truly, truly don’t understand his appeal to 30-40% of Americans. The man is a walking dumpster fire.

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Next, if the government shutdown happens next week, I sure hope people are smart enough to realize that it’s 100% a Republican hostage-taking situation. The far right is holding the US hostage to their demands. A shutdown helps no one, and hurts many. Blame your Republican representative when things go to shit.

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But the big thought this morning is on border security. Even the “librul mass media” like CNN and NBC are reporting that approximately 300,000 undocumented people entered the country in August 2023. In one month. This might be the only thing I agree with the far right on – the southern border is an urgent problem and must be fixed, somehow. Fast.

300K people in a month. That’s horrific. Admittedly that’s the all-time peak, but from these same liberal news sources (and government data) we can quickly find that the steady state in 2022 was 230K per month, or 2.76 million that year. This isn’t some made-up issue authored by MAGA-types, this is a huge problem. Do the math.

Think about it. That’s 2.76 million new people every year who:

  • Probably don’t speak English well or at all.
  • Don’t have any insurance, health care or otherwise – they will be dependent on the state.
  • Are not likely to be well-educated. And will become a big problem for our already stressed primary education system.
  • May or may not understand or support US democracy, how it works and what hurts it.
  • Will be desperate to gain shelter, food and safety. Are desperate by definition, having made a tough journey to the border. And desperate people don’t follow the rules.
  • Are typically religious due to the Spanish Catholic influence throughout Latin America. That’s not a plus in my book. Catholicism encourages large families, and in this immigrant-with-no-means-of-support scenario, that’s a bad combination.
  • Are unlikely to have a family support system around them – they left that behind.
  • Have their normal share of good people and evil people among them. Let’s say 2% are hard core criminals, maybe killers (based on NLM research statistics) – that’s 54,000 new hard-core criminals we now have to deal with. In a single year!

It might sound like I’m anti-immigrant, and I’m not. Go back a couple of hundred years, and we’re all immigrants. Among those 2.76 million there are certainly hundreds of thousands of wonderful people, people who ultimately will become good neighbors and citizens (let’s be generous and call it two million of the 2.76). But that will take time – it will require generations of struggle and strife, of chaotic life in poverty for millions, and that future doesn’t help anyone.

The current situation is madness. There’s a way to assimilate people into a culture, and this ain’t it. I get it that conditions are bad in many Latin American countries, that some folks are desperate to get away, but we can’t just label all 2.76 million of these folks as worthy of asylum and then look away. That’s not a solution, it’s a recipe for chaos.

There aren’t any easy solutions. But one that resonates with me is to use the US military to stop illegal immigration at the border, ASAP. Better to use the military on the southern border than to continue fighting pointless wars in Middle East deserts. Send a million soldiers to stand shoulder to shoulder if we have to, and have them stop the crossings immediately, as gently as possible. Use vehicles, use personnel, use temporary boundaries (no razor wire), use technology, and send the unequivocal message that the US border is closed. For now. We don’t have to build a permanent wall across 2000 border miles – we just have to stop the flow, take a breath and figure out what a rational immigration system would look like.

America can’t be the refuge for every person south of the border. It just can’t. We have to manage the influx of people, select those who we will allow to become citizens, and then do our best to improve the lives of those remaining in Latin America via other means, other interventions. Trade. Tourism. Targeted social and economic support. Alliances. Our southern border will only be secure when those millions living south of it aren’t desperate to leave their countries. And that’s the real solution.

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