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“The View” debates: Is every Republican who supports building the wall racist?

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Sunny Hostin is notably undecided on the question. Behar doesn’t take a firm position but it’s pretty clear from prior comments where she stands.

It is an amazing yet true fact that this very mainstream show, which features not one but two Republicans from famous Republican families on its panel, somehow still semi-regularly confronts the question of whether Republicans are uniformly bad people.

Meghan McCain’s had enough. Nothing I saw on the Internet today made me laugh as hard as her blowing a gasket at the end here, shouting, “I am John McCain’s daughter!” Her point is that righties can’t be painted with a broad brush. If you admire her father as a decent independent-minded person, the very model of the “good Republican,” then by definition you can’t assume the worst about everyone associated with the party. Although I’m not sure her father’s example helps her case: Part of the reason Maverick was so well-regarded by people on the other side is … because he was a maverick. He was the un-Republican. He voted against repealing ObamaCare, he pushed amnesty for years, he palpably hated Trump and Trump’s supporters. To Hostin and Behar, John McCain is the exception that proves the rule. Sure, you can be a Republican and a good person — if you strongly dislike other Republicans, or at least the populists who comprise the president’s base.

As for Steve King, the subject of this segment, he inspired a resolution in the House today condemning white supremacy that passed overwhelmingly — with King voting in favor. That’s step one. Another step is coming, but what? Censure? Resignation? His home state’s most well-known newspaper says it’s time to go:

The move by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to strip King of his committee assignments leaves Iowa without a seat on the vital House Agriculture Committee, as well as judiciary. It also leaves King with far less opportunity to work for his constituents on critically important rural development issues.

Not that King has seemed particularly interested in working for his district in recent years. Instead of holding town-hall meetings with his constituents, King spent many congressional breaks globe-trotting to Europe and hobnobbing with hard-right, nationalist leaders.These meetings apparently served to reinforce his own warped views of cultural purity and immigration…

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said if King doesn’t understand why “white supremacy” was offensive, he should “find another line of work.” We agree. He may as well mail a cardboard cutout of himself to Washington for all he’ll be able to accomplish if no one is willing to work with him.

I’m curious to see after he leaves Congress if he maintains his coy “who, me?” spin on his obvious racial views or if he goes full Paul Nehlen and embraces the last group of people willing to embrace him. An interesting question is why Republicans in Congress have turned on him now — in big numbers too, from Mitch McConnell to Kevin McCarthy to Ted Cruz, and on and on — when they’ve ignored things he’s said in the past. The cynical take from some liberals on social media today is that it’s a form of cover for Trump, just like 90 percent of Republican reaction to everything nowadays. They can’t or won’t draw the line with POTUS when he muses that there were some very fine people on both sides in Charlottesville so they’ll draw it with King instead. The more charitable take is that Republicans didn’t realize how many alt-righters there were within the party until Trump’s ascendance drew them out into the public square three years ago. King might have gotten the benefit of the doubt before that when he said that his concerns are with “culture,” not race. Not anymore. Ushering him towards the door of Congress is a way to try to usher the alt-right back out of the square.

The post “The View” debates: Is every Republican who supports building the wall racist? appeared first on Hot Air.

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How Trump appeals to unspeakable emotions

Denial: The Unspeakable Truth by Keith Kahn-Harris

Anyone who takes the faintest interest in politics is bound to wonder why, while behaving in a manner so loutish, shameless and disrespectful of conventional wisdom, Donald Trump has managed to form such a close bond with the American public.

Keith Kahn-Harris touches only in passing on that question, yet succeeds in casting much light on it.

His book has the merit of being short. He examines a phenomenon – the yearning to deny various commonly accepted positions – which could have spawned a treatise of inordinate length.

He manages to write not much more than an extended essay by selecting only a few examples of denial. These include denial of the Holocaust, of the harm done by tobacco, of the link between HIV and AIDS, and of man-made climate change.

One may question how much in common with each other these denials have. The Holocaust has already taken place, while climate change is to a large extent a series of predictions about the future.

And denialism (a term he admits to be “terrible”) as a form of non-argument, where one refuses to listen to the opposing point of view or to take into account strong opposing evidence, and is instead driven by inner compulsions of one’s own, has also been seen quite a bit during our own referendum campaign.

In his frivolous youth, Kahn-Harris tells us in his preface, he developed a love of “nonsense dressed up as scholarship”, and revelled in the “portentous ludicrousness” of books such as Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods, which in the 1970s contended that aliens had visited earth and inspired the glories of ancient civilisations.

Kahn-Harris’s Jewish upbringing meant he was conscious of the Holocaust from an early age, but when he heard of people who denied it had ever happened, this too “was all a big joke to me”.

It is easier to be heartless in one’s teens than later on, when he begins to worry that those who challenge “real scholarship” are helping  “something deeply poisonous” to grow, and to produce “diseased fruit in our ‘post-truth’ age”.

In some ways, I prefer the earlier and more heartless Kahn-Harris, who shrieks with laughter at the flat earthers and other cranks he comes across. For as he himself says, these people yearn to be taken seriously, and one should be wary of paying them that compliment.

But one advantage of taking them seriously is that he starts to see that they are not just liberals who have somehow gone astray, and only need a bit of education in order to enable them to perceive the truth:

“Denialism is not a barrier to acknowledging a common moral foundation, it is a barrier to acknowledging moral differences… Denialism arises from being in an impossible bind: holding to desires, values, ideologies and morals that cannot be openly spoken of.”

Later on, Kahn-Harris remarks that “all denialists share a burning desire to continue to appear decent while rejecting the path of decency”.  They cannot say what they really want, and

“politics becomes a kind of shadow play, in which – shorn of of real discussions of real differences – all that is left is a battle over who can really claim the mantle of righteousness, who can rightly claim to embody the values we all sign up to.”

We are all, he points out, anti-racists now. The anti-Zionist Left vehemently rejects any idea that it might be anti-semitic. Holocaust deniers similarly reject with indignation the charge that they hate Jews, and indeed find themselves adopting the ludicrous position that Hitler was pro-Jewish, for after all, in their version of events, the Nazis were not actually evil and the Jews were not actually killed.

Kahn-Harris sees “the pathos, the desperation and the fierce hope” that undergird denialist tracts – qualities one is liable to miss if one just debunks such works as ludicrously unscientific and unscholarly.

And here one starts to see Trump’s appeal. There is no way to be a polite racist. It is an inherently rude position, and in, for example, his attacks on Mexicans, Trump embraces that rudeness, revels in it, is authentically and genuinely loutish, appalls respectable society and thus convinces his supporters that he is on their side.

I have just been reading about the Mexican War of 1846-48, in which the United States made vast gains of territory at the expense of an enfeebled Mexico, which was provoked into war, fought bravely but was thrashed by well-led American forces with superior equipment. It was in many ways a disgraceful affair, and people like Abraham Lincoln said at the time that it was disgraceful.

But at the same time, a strong moral case was made for the expansion. It was, the Democratic Review declared in 1845, “the fulfilment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.”

The war was popular – democratic, one might say – and no one supposed afterwards that these gains stretching all the way to the Pacific, including what became the states of California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, and a southern border pushed down to the Rio Grande, should be handed back.

One of the heroes of the war, General Zachary Taylor, who had no political experience, was adopted as a presidential candidate in the election of 1848, which he proceeded to win.

Kahn-Harris does not go in to this history, and if he had done his book would have become unmanageable. But he does observe that denialists have beliefs which used to be regarded as morally defensible and now are not.

In the old days, one could win presidential elections thanks to one’s heroic record in unequal wars waged against native Americans and Mexicans. Today one cannot advocate that kind of thing. But Trump, with brutal skill, knows how to show whose side he is on. He is a more traditional figure than his opponents, whose outlook is usually bounded by their own lifetimes, tend to realise.

Throughout his essay, Kahn-Harris touches on the pleasure to be derived from shocking people, behaving in an outrageous fashion, claiming to be in possession of arcane information, and throwing one’s opponents off balance by saying things they never imagined could be said. Trump has a genius for that kind of performance.

At  the end of his essay, Kahn-Harris admits his book has not been particularly helpful in showing how denialism should be dealt with. He attempts, rather unconvincingly, to frame messages for Holocaust deniers and global warming deniers.

But his purpose is to understand, not to cure, and his essay can be recommended not just to anyone interested in denialism, but to anyone dismayed by the narrow limits within which our political debates take place.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Here comes the next caravan

Westlake Legal Group caravan-6 Here comes the next caravan The Blog migrant caravan Mexico Honduras Guatemala border

Either they don’t get much news out of the United States and Mexico down in Central America or they don’t pay much attention to it if they do. Mexican officials are currently heading to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to talk to the organizers of yet another migrant caravan that’s forming up to head north toward the United States. Given the number of people who are currently lined up and waiting for weeks or months for an asylum hearing, dumping hundreds or thousands more into the queue is only going to inflame matters further. (Reuters)

Mexican authorities will meet with Central American officials to prepare for the arrival of a planned new caravan of migrants headed to the United States next week.

The head of Mexico’s immigration office, Tonatiuh Guillen, left on Wednesday on a trip to El Salvador and Honduras to meet with his counterparts and other authorities, said Interior Ministry spokesman Hector Gandini.

Mexico hopes to discourage a mass exodus from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and wants Central Americans who decide to migrate north to do so in an orderly way and through legal ports of entry.

This is shaping up to be the first serious test of AMLO’s new government and their resolve to put an end to mass illegal immigration. Just this week, Mexican officials announced that they were deploying large numbers of federal troops to nearly 300 common border crossing points in an effort to stem the tide. But if this new caravan is anywhere near the size of the last one they could easily overwhelm the border security forces.

Mexico’s Interior Ministry spokesman announced that anyone attempting to enter the country illegally will be deported, but those who wish to present themselves at a designated point of entry and request legal entry would have their requests heard fairly. If the entire caravan shows up at a single POE that might be possible, but if they scatter along the border as the last group did, their prospects for success seem limited at best.

It seems as if the real problem here is not with the governments of Mexico or the United States, but with Guatemala and Honduras. They don’t seem to be interested in stopping this mass exodus and may possibly even be encouraging it. They’re also unwilling or unable to get a handle on the gang violence and cartels that effectively have more control of those countries than the elected governments do. We may be at the point where even threatening to cut off foreign aid to them would be ineffective.

If anyone has a good suggestion as to how we get this situation under control I’d love to hear it. The Organization of American States (OAS) hasn’t proven effective at all, though they would seem to be the logical choice to tackle the problem. Absent some new approach, there’s really not much left to do aside from kicking ourselves into gear and getting that wall built a lot faster.

The post Here comes the next caravan appeared first on Hot Air.

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Trump: I never said Mexico would pay for the wall *directly*

Westlake Legal Group t-7 Trump: I never said Mexico would pay for the wall *directly* wall USMCA Trump The Blog Pay Mexico build border

Wait here for a second while I jump in my time machine and visit a Trump 2016 rally. I want to poll the people in the audience wearing MAGA hats on whether they thought they were a voting for a guy who, through sheer force of alpha-male will and populist resolve, would make those pipsqueaks in Mexico City cough up $25 billion or else. That cuck Obama would never issue Mexico an ultimatum to pay for immigration enforcement up front. The whole point of electing Trump was that he’d have the balls to do so.

Okay, I’m back. Ninety-seven percent.

No, no, I kid. It wouldn’t have been that high but it sure wouldn’t have been zero either. As with all things Trump, his rhetoric on this subject has been all over the place. It’s true that even during the campaign he was imagining indirect forms of payment from Mexico, not some big Publisher’s Clearing House ceremony where the president of Mexico presents him with a giant check. In April 2016, a month before he clinched the nomination, he floated the idea of seizing remittances sent from Mexican workers in the U.S. to family back home as a way to fund the wall. By October 2016, a few weeks before Election Day, he was talking explicitly about U.S. taxpayers funding the wall and then being reimbursed by Mexico. It’s simply not the case that Trump consistently floated the Publisher’s Clearing House scenario on the trail three years ago, no matter what his fans or his critics might have been led to believe.

But did he ever float it? Oh yeah. On his campaign’s farking website, in fact, as Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs remembered today:

Does Mexico want those remittances to keep flowing? Then they’d better cut one of those giant checks and make a “one-time payment of $5-10 billion” to get the wall started.

WaPo’s Philip Bump went through dozens of Trump soundbites to track how he imagined Mexico would be paying for the wall starting in 2015 on the trail and continuing to the present day. The striking thing about all of them, and very true to form, is how vague he always is. He never gets into details — and why would he? Explaining the details would have been inconvenient for him and irrelevant to his supporters. He got elected as a “Green Lantern” figure, a superhero whose bravado and alleged negotiating talents would allow him to bust through the usual D.C. nonsense. To ask for details would have been to miss the point; he’d get the wall done by imposing his will, end of story. And even if he didn’t, the fact that he insisted repeatedly that Mexico would pay was at least evidence of resolve about the border that the rest of the party lacked. He’d try to build a wall and make Mexico pay, unlike Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and everyone else on stage at the debates. At least he was thinking the right way.

The fact that he now resorts to claiming that Mexico will somehow pay for the wall via the USMCA, of all things, is the closest we’ll ever come to him admitting that they’re not paying for it. No one knows what he means by that; even if there was some payment mechanism in the deal, it’s not as if the USMCA reworked NAFTA so dramatically that suddenly $25 billion from Mexico has become available to the U.S. The deal was a modest reform. He continues to stick to this refrain of Mexico paying for it, I think, because to admit they won’t would be to admit that he’s not a superhero after all. Better to pretend otherwise with reelection looming, even if his voters are forced to pretend too.

The post Trump: I never said Mexico would pay for the wall *directly* appeared first on Hot Air.

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Shep Smith to Fox viewers: Trump’s not keeping his promise on the wall even if he wins this standoff, you know

Westlake Legal Group ss Shep Smith to Fox viewers: Trump’s not keeping his promise on the wall even if he wins this standoff, you know wall Trump The Blog standoff Shutdown Shepard Smith Mexico fox news border

Via Mediaite, does anyone in media occupy a niche as weird as Shep’s? Imagine a state-run television network that gave the opposition an hour of “equal time” every day for no particular reason. It’s like Russian TV cutting to a NATO spokesman daily at 3 p.m. to challenge Putin’s talking points about Europe. He spent yesterday evening fact-checking Trump’s immigration speech on air — in Hannity’s timeslot, for cripes sake.

I’m convinced no one in America enjoys their job as much as he does.

Even for Shep, though, today’s performance went too far. His point about Trump breaking his promise to make Mexico pay for the wall is fair enough but to listen to him here you would think congressional Republicans are fully onboard with Pelosi’s plan to re-open the government incrementally by funding individual agencies. A few are, but only a very few — a handful in the Senate and barely more than a handful in the House, for now. There’s nothing remotely like a bipartisan revolt in Congress against the president’s recalcitrance. The way Smith frames Pelosi’s plan is also only half the story. She’s forcing these incremental votes not because she’s some earnest problem-solver but because she’s hoping to score points on Republicans by forcing them to vote no over and over on re-opening individual agencies. It’s a partisan ploy.

And look. You can believe, like I do, that the standoff was silly and cynical and doomed to fail from day one without thinking that Democrats are wholly in the right, which is what you’d come away thinking listening to Shep. The fact remains that $5 billion is a pittance by federal spending standards and the country could certainly do more to secure its southern border. Trump campaigned on this issue extensively and won the election, albeit with the caveat Shep notes that Mexico, not U.S. taxpayers, was supposed to be footing the bill. Democrats have no objection to the wall on the merits that isn’t ultimately an objection to the idea of borders writ large. They’re blocking Trump on this at bottom for no grander reason than to spite him, because they know he wants this badly. Is spite over budgetary spare change a good enough reason to maintain a shutdown for nearly three weeks, with federal workers forced to scrounge to make rent in the meantime? That question isn’t asked here.

Anyway, it’s almost over:

As I write this at 6 p.m. ET, I haven’t seen a single Republican senator come out strongly in favor of Trump declaring an emergency, even though it would do them the great favor of re-opening the government and then excusing them from further participation in the big Trump/Democrat brawl over the wall. Ted Cruz punted when asked about it, saying he’d need to study the proposal; Trump’s buddy Lindsey Graham said it’s “not my preferred route” and added that “I don’t know legally if you can do that.” You might think, “Of course they dislike the idea of an executive decree. It would diminish their power as senators by removing Congress from the policy equation here.” But Congress typically loves when the president seizes power from them to implement a risky policy. With a few exceptions, that’s the story of American military interventions since World War II. Senators don’t want to have to take a formal position on some foreign adventure that the president’s pushing if they can avoid it; if they oppose it and it succeeds they look like unpatriotic weaklings and if they support it and it goes bad they look like jingoists who sent young Americans to die for nothing. Better that the president just do what he wants to do without their input. Same here with the shutdown.

Exit question via Philip Klein: Why is that righties care so much about having a fighter as a president when it’s winning, not fighting, that ultimately matters? Trump could have gotten the wall funded by fighting 1/100th as hard as he is right now if he had made this an issue when Republicans controlled Congress.

The post Shep Smith to Fox viewers: Trump’s not keeping his promise on the wall even if he wins this standoff, you know appeared first on Hot Air.

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Those racist Mexicans are sealing their southern border

Westlake Legal Group fa364373-fc11-46e7-b758-4250b1fd06cc1 Those racist Mexicans are sealing their southern border The Blog Mexico Guatemala border AMLO

We first heard some rumbling about this in early December. Mexico’s new president was looking to shut down the procession of illegal immigrant caravans and improve relations with the United States by hardening their own southern border. But could he do it? Was the United States going to help?

Looks like we have our answer. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (or AMLO) has announced yet another move to show he’s serious about border control. Once again, we’re not talking about Mexico’s border with the United States, but their own southern border with Guatemala, where the vast majority of illegal immigrants heading for the United States cross over into his country. They don’t have the time, money or resources for an actual wall (yet), but the government is stationing federal troops at hundreds of common crossing points to shut down the flow as much as possible. (Seattle Times)

The Mexican government says it will put guards at some 370 illegal crossing points along the country’s southern border with Guatemala.

Mexico’s interior secretary has not set a date for accomplishing the task of securing the porous border.

Olga Sanchez Cordero said the crossings “will be guarded and controlled to prevent the entry of undocumented people.”

Currently, migrants cross along almost the entire length of the Usumacinta River that separates the two countries.

AMLO has quite the task ahead of him. Covering 370 crossing points sounds like a very good start, but the entire border is relatively easy to cross as compared to some of the more harsh, desert stretches of the American border. And how many troops can be permanently stationed down there at each point? A small platoon will be able to turn back or arrest individuals or single families looking to cross, but what about the next caravan? If there are only a dozen or so federal agents, they will be quickly overwhelmed by more than a thousand migrants.

There’s a second question to consider here. If closing off the border between the United States and Mexico is either racist or “immoral” (as Nancy Pelosi claims), then isn’t the Mexican government just as culpable by doing this? I can’t wait for the breathless editorials from the Washington Post and the New York Times describing what a heartless racist AMLO is.

Of course, to make any real progress in shutting down the flow of illegal immigrants, we need to address the violence, poverty and massive government corruption in both Guatemala and Honduras which causes many of their citizens to flee. That job became even tougher this week after the government of Guatemala announced that they were withdrawing from the UN corruption commission which toppled some of their previous leaders. If the government of Guatemala is so corrupt that they won’t even participate in an effort to clean up their own act, it’s difficult to see how we’re going to make any headway in this battle.

The post Those racist Mexicans are sealing their southern border appeared first on Hot Air.

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Trump: We may close the border if Congress doesn’t fund the wall

Westlake Legal Group trump-wall Trump: We may close the border if Congress doesn’t fund the wall USMCA trade The Blog NAFTA Mexico Government Shutdown donald trump Border wall

What happens when you up the ante while the players are changing seats? That’s how Donald Trump started off his day, threatening to close the southern border if Congress doesn’t fund the wall. However, Congress has shut itself down and won’t open up again for a week, and then only under new management:

Congress effectively gave up Thursday on breaking the impasse over President Trump’s demands for border-wall funding, all but ensuring that the partial government shutdown will stretch into at least the start of the new year, when Democrats retake control of the House.

Trump retreated from public view, hurling insults at Democrats over Twitter, as the House and the Senate convened for just minutes before gaveling closed until next week. During the brief session in the House, Republicans shot down a Democratic attempt to vote on legislation to reopen the government.

The halls of the Capitol were largely vacant, and leaders’ offices were shuttered. There was no sign that negotiations were taking place. Instead, the two sides traded public recriminations.

The Senate is holding brief pro forma sessions until January 2nd, the day before Nancy Pelosi takes the gavel in the House. The lower chamber has no activity taking place at all, and it’s unclear if there’s enough for a quorum in DC. Perhaps if negotiations progressed at all, members could get called back to prepare for a vote, but the Washington Post report suggests that any such effort would have to cut through a great deal of skepticism before officials started booking flights.

The same might be true even if they’re back in town for the next session. The Republicans with whom they spoke said they’re not inclined to come back and vote on anything without a rock-solid guarantee from the White House that Trump would sign it. Democrats plan to introduce the bill on which Trump reneged when they take over on January 3rd, but the Senate has to pass the bill again. How many Republicans will vote for a bill that Trump will end up vetoing? Almost certainly not enough to sustain an override in either chamber, not with Trump publicly sticking to his guns on border-wall funding.

That brings us to today, when Trump threatened to shut down the border and trade with Mexico. Trump argued that the costs of keeping the border open far outweighed any economic benefits derived from its operation:

We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!

….The United States looses soooo much money on Trade with Mexico under NAFTA, over 75 Billion Dollars a year (not including Drug Money which would be many times that amount), that I would consider closing the Southern Border a “profit making operation.” We build a Wall or…..

…..close the Southern Border. Bring our car industry back into the United States where it belongs. Go back to pre-NAFTA, before so many of our companies and jobs were so foolishly sent to Mexico. Either we build (finish) the Wall or we close the Border……

…..Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money. Word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it. We will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries – taking advantage of U.S. for years!

There are a couple of aspects to this threat that look more like spite-nose-cutting. In the first place, the problem with the border is that it can’t be effectively shut down. If Trump orders the checkpoints closed, it will only incentivize more illegal crossings elsewhere in the places where the barriers don’t exist. Trump might want to order the military to close those gaps, but that has its own problems, both legally and logistically. If the wall existed now, it might be possible to make the argument above, but of course then it wouldn’t need to be made at all. (Also, closing the border would require more resources for DHS, which is part of the shutdown and is as-yet unfunded in this fiscal year.)

Next, Trump just negotiated a trade deal with Mexico and Canada to replace NAFTA, more prosaically called the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It’s not yet in effect — that’s one of the big tasks awaiting Nancy Pelosi — but abrogating NAFTA ahead of that might blow up Trump’s big trade win from this year. Furthermore, we get much of our imported oil through Mexico and Canada, which combined to provide us nearly 150 million barrels in September, the latest reporting period from the US Energy Information Administration. It’s almost twice as much as we got from OPEC nations combined (89.9 million barrels). That’s not just an economic consideration but also a strategic issue for the US.

Lastly, the threat to cut off aid to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala may be understandable but it’s also counterproductive in the long run. The US and Mexico just agreed to provide those countries with strategic aid to improve conditions and slow down the exodus in exchange for Mexico housing asylum applicants rather than allowing them into the US. Cutting off that aid would remove any incentive Mexico has to help Trump out by housing asylum applicants. The long-term solution to illegal immigration isn’t a wall (although it’s an effective short-term solution), it’s providing stability and prosperity to the nations of central America where most of the illegal immigrants originate.

In other words, Trump may be upping the ante, but it’s also more likely a bluff. Don’t expect Democrats to do much except call him on it.

The post Trump: We may close the border if Congress doesn’t fund the wall appeared first on Hot Air.

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Who is Pueblo Sin Fronteras and why are they leading migrant caravans?

Westlake Legal Group caravan-6 Who is Pueblo Sin Fronteras and why are they leading migrant caravans? The Blog Pueblo Sin Fronteras migrants migrant caravan Mexico mexican border Illegal Immigration Guatemala

While the issue of the migrant caravans has largely dropped off the media radar lately in the midst of the shutdown theater drama, the problem hasn’t gone away. If anything, the swelling number of migrants waiting in the Tiajuana area is festering as the migrants grow frustrated with the long wait for their claims to be processed. (American officials are processing up to one hundred per day, but there is already a waiting list in the thousands.) But surely they must have known they were going to run into these sorts of logistical problems, right?

Not really. Many of them seem genuinely surprised with the chilly reception they received from some Mexican officials and the backlog at the U.S. border. And there may be a reason for that. The Washington Times takes a deep dive this week into a supposed human rights group which seems to be playing a key role in both forming these massive caravans and setting unrealistic expectations for them about what the migrants’ journey would entail. The group is called Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders), and one of their leaders, Irineo Mujica, is heavily involved with “leading” the caravans toward the United States and discouraging the migrants from looking for work and residency in Mexico.

For the migrants, there is safety in numbers when traveling through crime-ridden Mexico. Such journeys would be near-impossible without the help of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a collective of about 40 U.S. and Mexican activists that is most closely associated with the U.S.-bound caravan phenomenon. Mujica, a dual U.S.-Mexican citizen who grew up in Arizona, is one of their leading voices.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras activists maintain they simply accompany what they call an “exodus” from Central America and want to ensure migrant rights are respected. But they have drawn increasing criticism, even from one-time allies, who say they play a much larger role than they claim, downplay the dangers of such treks, especially for families and small children, and encourage illegal immigration.

The most recent caravan brought more than 6,000 people to Tijuana, Mexico, last month, where they lived in a squalid, city-funded shelter for two weeks and got a chilly reception from the mayor and some residents.

These caravans have been forming up for a few years now, but they were originally home-grown affairs attracting only a couple hundred participants at most. Once Pueblo Sin Fronteras got involved, however, the numbers spiked into the thousands. The group is funded through Freedom for Immigrants, a non-profit outfit based in San Francisco. They always insist that they are not the “leaders” of the caravans, but whenever the groups of migrants take a vote on what to do next, it seems that Irineo Mujica or one of the other Pueblo Sin Fronteras members is the person doing the counting and “explaining” their options.

That’s where the problem comes in. According to the linked report, Mujica regularly tells the migrants that Mexico doesn’t approve many asylum requests and doesn’t really want them. He also allegedly downplays problems with gaining asylum in the United States and encourages them to “keep going” and make it to the American border, despite the fact that Mexico is opening up their southern territory to more immigrants and creating jobs for them.

Mujica was arrested in October on charges of obstructing Mexican federal officials and aiding a group of Honduran migrants who were illegally crossing over the border from Guatemala into Mexico. He claims he wasn’t involved in organizing the most recent (and largest) caravans in Honduras and is only doing humanitarian work on their behalf. But if he’s steering the migrants away from a possible new life in Mexico and setting many of them up for failure at the American border, is he really helping?

There’s no proof offered that Mujica and his colleagues are actively encouraging migrants to cross into America illegally or helping them to do so. But some of the charitable organizations in Mexico are suspicious that he might be. Perhaps it’s time for Congress to open up an investigation into this group and see exactly what they’re up to.

The post Who is Pueblo Sin Fronteras and why are they leading migrant caravans? appeared first on Hot Air.

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