Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday January 9, 2019
Trump doubles down on push for border wall in televised address
U.S. President Donald Trump blamed unauthorized immigrants for killing Americans, taking their jobs and flooding his country with drugs as he doubled down on demands that Congress hand over US$5.7-billion for a wall on the border with Mexico in a nationally televised address.
In a 10-minute Oval Office speech, Mr. Trump tried to rally his base and hold his Republican Party together amid a government shutdown he triggered over congressional refusal to fund the wall.
“Some have suggested a barrier is immoral,” Mr. Trump said. “The only thing that is immoral is for the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized.”
Democratic leaders on Tuesday rejected the President’s demands, and accused him of unfairly targeting asylum-seekers.
“The women and children at the border are not a security threat,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a televised rebuttal, as she accused Mr. Trump of “manufacturing a crisis.” Added Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: “The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall.”
In his speech, the President described several murders committed by immigrants, lamented the quantities of heroin arriving from Mexico and claimed that “all Americans are hurt” by migrants coming to work in the U.S.
In fact, a study by the libertarian Cato Institute last year found that crime rates among immigrants in Texas – both legal and unauthorized – were lower than those among native-born Americans. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency found that 90 per cent of smuggled heroin went through designated ports of entry such as border crossings, and air or seaports, which means it would not be stopped by a wall.
The President also repeated an assertion that the wall will be paid for by Mexico through the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The trade pact contains no provision for Mexico to pay for the wall.
Mr. Trump, however, stopped short of declaring a state of emergency that would give him the power to divert money from the military to build the wall. Such a move would likely be met with a court challenge. (Source: Globe & Mail)