You may want an actual martini as you join Jim and Greg for three troubling stories. First, they chronicle the rapid collapse of the Afghan military, the Taliban’s seemingly inevitable return to power, and the Biden administration’s recent assurance that this would never happen. They also fume at the lack of any coherent Biden border policy as more than 212,000 migrants were apprehended at our southern border in July. And they unload on the president following reports that the Biden administration has considered draconian COVID restrictions, including the need to prove you are vaccinated to cross state lines.
Please visit our great sponsors:
Right now get $5 off a Mouthwash Starter Kit
Get the 6-piece My Pillow Towel Set for only $39.99!
Listen to “Trump’s Re-election Funds; Sanders-Warren Truce Under Strain; Novel Border Security Ideas” on Spreaker.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Rich McFadden of Radio America tackle two good martinis and one crazy as Rich sits in for Greg Corombos. First, they marvel at President Trump’s $125 million fundraising haul in the third quarter of 2019. They also notice brewing tensions on the far left as Bernie Sanders starts criticizing Elizabeth Warren for refusing to admit she will have to raise taxes to pay for her progressive agenda. And they shake their heads as Trump reportedly advocated a snake-filled moat at the border and for border agents to shoot people in the legs if they were coming in illegally.
President Trump has suggested sending many of the people illegally pouring across the U.S.-Mexico border to so-called sanctuary cities, since those locales publicly state they will not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
But as Trump and his advisers determine whether this is feasible, should the administration pursue this idea? Is there any legal precedent for it? And can the federal, state, or local governments afford to this or maintain the status quo?
In this podcast, we get answers from Rob Henneke, director of the Center for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
President Trump is backing away from threats to close the U.S.-Mexico border but a former federal immigration official says Trump certainly has that authority but other steps might make more sense.
Trump made the threat in response to the tide of illegal immigration and illicit drugs pouring into the U.S. But after pleas from both Texas senators and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to keep the border open or risk massive economic repercussions, Trump says he will revisit the issue in a year and see if Mexico is living up to its responsibilities to interdict migrants and drugs.
But a former immigration official says Trump does have the authority to close the border.
“The president does seem to have extensive powers and other presidents have actually used those powers on various occasions to close the border,” said Temple University School of Law Prof. Jan C. Ting, who served as assistant commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the George H.W. Bush administration.
He says other presidents have closed the border, most recently George W. Bush for a brief time in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
But while Trump could close the border, Ting says whether that’s a good idea is another question.
“I don’t think anyone has seriously questioned the ability of the president to exercise that power. The only objection questions have been raised about the advisability of doing so and the economic consequences of doing so.
“Some of those arguments have been found persuasive by the administration, at least to the point of holding off immediate action,” said Ting.
Ting says it’s not clear if closing the border would achieve Trump’s goals, although he believes it would put a lot more pressure on the Mexican government to cooperate with American efforts rather than playing a two-faced game of cooperating in certain situations while also facilitating the passage of Central American caravans to the U.S. border.
So what would be more effective? Ting says Congress could make a huge difference by mandating all employers use -E-Verify to check the validity of the Social Security numbers used by prospective employees. The practice is mandatory in Arizona but not nationwide.
He also says Trump’s prized goal of a border wall would be effective.
“It’s a force multiplier. You can only afford to put so many border patrol agents on the border. Having fencing up or a wall makes those agents more useful,” said Ting.
Listen to the full podcast to hear more of Ting’s analysis on closing the border and alternative methods of achieving greater control over the influx of people and drugs into the U.S. Ting also explains why he believes President Obama greatly exacerbated the crisis at the border, and he details the remarkably swift evolution of Democrats from border hawks in the 1990’s to most presidential candidates in the party today recoiling at the idea of stopping virtually anyone from coming into the U.S.
President Trump and Democratic Party leaders in Congress say they are closing in on a deal that would have Congress enshrining the legal status of illegal immigrants who came here as children in exchange for what Trump calls “massive border security,” but a leading immigration activist thinks the president is getting snookered.
“I’m afraid the president is getting rolled,” said Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian. “He simply let (Senate Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer set the terms of this debate.”
Trump met with Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Wednesday night at the White House to discuss the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. Following the meeting, Schumer and Pelosi released a statement suggesting a deal was done to approve legislation to give young people here illegally and enrolled in the program permanent legal status.
Trump later tweeted that there was not a done deal and all later said the details still needed to be worked out on border security, although the Democrats reiterated that they would not approve funding to build a wall on the southern border.
Krikorian says Schumer has the upper hand in this debate, as he’s been immersed in it for decades.
“Chuck Schumer has been doing immigration for 30 years. He was responsible for the 1986 amnesty, the last push to get it over. He was in the House of Representatives then,” said Krikorian. “He was the motivating force behind the Gang of Eight that passed the Senate.”
Krikorian says Trump is not well-versed at all in immigration policy and he can see Schumer winning Trump over in the language Trump is now using.
“President Trump doesn’t know anything about the immigration issue. So Schumer tells him, ‘This wouldn’t be an amnesty, Mr. President, because they wouldn’t get citizenship.’ Trump just mouths those cliches that we have been hearing now for years that are straight out false,” said Krikorian.
“The president has no idea about any of this stuff. I am happy to stipulate that he is good at real estate deals. That may well be the case. But dealing with mob and labor bosses and crooked building inspectors, those guys are much more reliable negotiating partners than Chuck Schumer. The president is like a babe in the woods. He’s getting taken for a ride,” said Krikorian.
Krikorian suspects the challenge for Trump is getting even steeper given the myriad of staff changes that leave very few immigration hawks in the White House.
“Everybody with a position of authority is either a liberal Democrat or is a non-political retired general who really don’t have strong political views. They just want to see things fixed and work better. And that’s a recipe for the president alienating himself from his base,” said Krikorian.
He says Trump and everyone else in the debate needs to see that granting permanent legal status to young illegal immigrants enrolled in DACA amounts to amnesty and they must proceed accordingly.
“Every amnesty – and that’s what this is is an amnesty, if you let illegals stay that’s an amnesty – every one always draws new illegal immigration into the country and then causes a surge of legal immigration down the stream as their relatives come in,” said Krikorian.
Krikorian believes Obama’s creation of DACA through the executive branch in 2012 was blatantly illegal, but he says that’s not the fault of the people who enrolled and the humanitarian thing to do is to make good on that promise.
However, he says only those actually enrolled in DACA, and not all illegal immigrants brought here as young children, should be considered for the legislation. He also urges businesses to use the E-Verify system to check the immigration status of job applicants and for the government to crack down on employers who knowingly hire people in the U.S. illegally.
Krikorian urges Trump to use this moment to make tough demands of Democrats in exchange for relenting on DACA.
“What kind of provisions do you include in a bill like that to make sure that an amnesty that may be 700,000 or 800,000 people doesn’t do more harm than good,” said Krikorian.
He strongly encourages Trump and congressional Republicans to insist that portions of the RAISE Act be included in any bill. In addition to favoring prospective immigrants with college educations and the ability to provide for themselves, the legislation would also tighten which family members could later be brought in by immigrants.
Krikorian says giving DACA enrollees the ability to confer legal status on their parents must be prevented.
“Their parents knew what they were doing when they came here. They weren’t children. They don’t deserve the benefit from this amnesty, so what we need is to change the family immigration system so that it only focuses on husbands, wives, and little kids and not all these other adult relative categories we have now,” said Krikorian.
And he says all of this must be included in the same legislation as the enactment of DACA or the Democrats will win everything they want in exchange for nothing.
“It absolutely has to be in one piece. If they get everything they want then it’ll be just like 1986, where they got their amnesty first and the enforcement never happened,” said Krikorian.
One of the nation’s most outspoken law enforcement officers is praising the Trump administration for cracking down on sanctuary cities, slamming liberal politicians for protecting criminal aliens, and explaining what those criminals have done to his community far from the border.
Earlier this week, Attorney General Jeff Session announced the Justice Department would lower or eliminate federal grants to locales that fail to cooperate in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Sheriff David Clarke is thrilled.
“Finally, we have a president in Donald Trump, who appointed an outstanding attorney general in Jeff Sessions, unapologetic about immigration enforcement. I am as well,” said Clarke, who is also author of the new book, “Cop Under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America.’
After years of lip service from both parties, Clarke says he is happy to see decisive action.
“Finally, we have somebody who’s going to get his arms around this thing, along with the Congress. Congress has the constitutional authority to set immigration standards. They’re going to have to take the test as well. And you know what? Congress is afraid to deal with this issue because it’s explosive,” said Clarke.
Despite the warning from Sessions about lost federal funds, mayors and police chiefs around the country say they won’t budge. Clarke sees that as a dereliction of duty.
“These mayors out there are abdicating their responsibility to keep their citizens safe. This is nothing more than aiding and abetting criminal activity when you start to harbor criminal illegal aliens,” said Clarke.
Opponents of the Trump policy, such as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, often stake their positions on America’s history of welcoming immigrants seeking a better life, without distinguishing between legal and illegal immigration.
Clarke says that distinction matters.
“You got a guy in Donald Trump, the president of the United States, who’s actually going to enforce the law. That is a shock to some people. But we’re a nation of laws. People want to say we’re a nation of immigrants. No, we’re not. We are a nation of laws. We are a nation of lawful immigration,” said Clarke.
The sheriff also emphasizes that all the mayors and law enforcement officials are being asked to do is deal with criminals who are in the U.S. illegally.
“I’m not talking about immigration in general and not even illegal immigration. I’m not giving it a pass, but I’m focusing on criminal illegal aliens. I think it’s a good place to start because these individuals have no business in the country. Many of them have been deported over and over and over again only to return, which shows the border is porous,” said Clarke.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is nowhere near the southern border, but Clarke says the effects of illegal immigration are having a very real impact on his community.
“We had a case several weeks ago of a criminal illegal alien (with a) criminal history. He was not deported because of the catch and release policies that have gone on,” said Clarke.
“In a domestic violence situation, he pointed a forearm at his girlfriend, threatened his girlfriend, pointed a firearm at his two young kids and threatened them as well,” said Clarke.
He says that’s just one of many crimes and tragedies linked to illegal immigration in Milwaukee County.
“We’re talking about murders. We’ve had criminal illegal aliens involved in drunk driving incidents in Milwaukee County who would have killed other motorists. We’ve had robberies. We’ve had sexual assaults. We’ve had incidents of child abuse,” said Clarke.
Unlike officials in sanctuary cities, Clarke says he fully cooperates with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, in rooting out criminals in the country illegally.
“I work with ICE and ICE officials have access to all of my booking data. They look at it every day and they decide who they’re going to give a further look at. I don’t tell them, ‘Look at this guy and this guy.’ They’ll decide and then they’ll call and tell us, ‘Hold onto this guy or this guy. We want to do some further investigation to see if this person is in the country lawfully,” said Clarke.
One of Clarke’s greatest frustrations is the lack of hard data on criminal illegals. He says it’s something liberals deliberately want to keep fuzzy.
“We don’t know the extent of the problem because data isn’t being collected on crimes involving a criminal illegal alien. It’s funny how, in this country, the left demands that we collect data on all traffic stops involving black motorists. We actually collect that data. There’s a box you have to check and a form you have to fill out,” said Clarke.
“All of a sudden now when we want to collect data, so we have some accuracy as to what’s going on with this problem, they don’t want anything to do about it,” said Clarke, who praises Trump for ordering the collection of data on crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
Clarke is taking steps to prepare his department to offer even more cooperation.
“I’m going to help ICE. I’ve applied for the 287 (g) program, which, after training, will deputize my law enforcement officers with immigration enforcement,” said Clarke.
“We’re not going to be doing home raids and we’re not going to be doing workplace raids and school raids like the left likes to portray as the sky is falling and the bogeyman propaganda. I’m going to focus on going after criminal illegal aliens, who have been arrested for some very serious crimes, deported previously but got back in,” said Clarke.
“Once they get that border sealed, the next time we get them out , we’ll be able to keep them out,” said Clarke.
Many of Donald Trump’s cabinet selections are getting strong reviews from grassroots activists and traditional Republicans, but a leading immigration expert says Trump’s choice to head the Department of Labor could be a threat to American jobs.
Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian sees fast food titan Andrew Puzder as a problem across the board on immigration, but he says his biggest concern with a Puzder-led Labor Department is the influx of legal immigrants who could put American citizens out of work.
“The primary problem is you have to get the okay from the Labor Department before you can bring in one of these people on worker visas. There’s something like three quarters of a million people we bring in. These are people who are often directly replacing American workers,” said Krikorian.
“We saw this at Disney about a year-and-a-half ago. We just saw it with Carnival Cruise Lines, I think just this week. They fired their American workers, usually their IT workforce. They bring in foreign workers on visas that have been okayed by the Labor Department. And then (the American workers) are forced to train their replacements,” said Krikorian.
While that does happen with some frequency, Krikorian says the big picture is murkier and there are no hard numbers on how many Americans lose their jobs to legal immigrants.
“It’s never a one-to-one thing. You can’t say that one immigrant worker comes in and that means one fewer job for an American. The economy doesn’t really work that way,” said Krikorian. “There’s no way to say this guy lost his job because of that guy. It doesn’t work that way.”
However, Krikorian says it is clear which Americans are most at risk of losing their jobs through the importing of foreign workers.
“At the bottom of the labor market, and that means less-skilled workers and that means teenagers looking for work and others – people who get out of prison and want to clean up their act,” said Krikorian. “Anybody who’s getting on to the first rung of the job ladder. Those people are hurt by ongoing immigration,” he said.
So where does Puzder fit into all this? Krikorian says Puzder has long been an outspoken proponent of bring in foreign workers.
“Andy Puzder has for years shown himself to be a big fan of importing more and more and more and more foreign guest workers to compete with Americans,” said Krikorian.
He also sees Puzder as being on the wrong side of the most recent congressional fight over immigration reform.
“[Puzder supported] that Gang of Eight bill from a few years ago that would have amnestied illegal aliens – the one Rubio and Schumer and Obama were pushing. It would have amnestied illegal aliens, would have hugely increased legal immigration, almost doubled it, and supposedly would have enforced the law better at some point down the road,” said Krikorian.
He says Puzder also weighed in on immigration policy during the 2016 campaign.
“Just last year he made a press statement with several other people, calling on the Republican primary candidates to support so-called comprehensive immigration reform, in other words Obama’s immigration agenda,” said Krikorian.
In response to criticism of Puzder’s previous immigration pronouncements, the Trump transition is trying to assure skeptics they have nothing to worry about.
“A statement was issued under his name, which I think was pretty clearly written by the campaign, that said he would be tough in protecting American workers and that sort of thing. Maybe. I’m skeptical because his whole life has actually been the opposite so why would we believe in this sudden change,” said Krikorian.
Krikorian says Trump’s vision on legal immigration has always been a bit fuzzy but that the president-elect has made several strong promises.
“He’s always been kind of shifty on this and vague, but he has been very clear that these visa programs must never be used to replace American workers. And the law allows that now,” said Krikorian.
Other members of Trump’s cabinet who will deal directly with immigration issues are getting rave reviews, especially Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the nominee for attorney general.
“Jeff Sessions is a top pick. He has the potential to be the best attorney general in American history. I have great respect for Jeff Sessions. I think he’s going to be great across the board at the Justice Department, both immigration stuff and everything else,” said Krikorian.
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly is Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Krikorian says Kelly is a well-known “border hawk” but isn’t sure how he will approach concerns over legal immigrants overstaying their visas or making sure businesses do not hire people in the U.S. illegally.
“I don’t have any reason to think he’ll be bad on that but he doesn’t have any experience on it so we’re going to have to wait and see how he does,” said Krikorian.
Krikorian admits Puzder will likely be confirmed by the Senate. It’s only then that America will find out if his new assurances or his old positions carry the day.
“Supposedly he’s seen the light,” said Krikorian. “We’ll have to see whether that’s true or not.”