Over the weekend, the Trump Administration further pushed its threat to fully close the U.S.-Mexico border amid the unprecedented migrant crisis transpiring there. “If they don’t stop [the migrant influx], we are closing the border. We’ll close it. And we’ll keep it closed for a long time. I’m not playing games,” Trump said Friday, according to The Washington Post. And on Saturday, the president tweeted: “Mexico must use its very strong immigration laws to stop the many thousands of people trying to get into the USA. Our detention areas are maxed out & we will take no more illegals. Next step is to close the Border! This will also help us with stopping the Drug flow from Mexico!”
The president is right to call attention to the unsustainable situation at our beleaguered southern border: A self-spiraling maelstrom of largely bogus “credible fear” asylum claims (the denial of which now shockingly includes a purported right to appeal, per the leftist-dominated U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit), a combination of the Flores consent decree settlement working in noxious tandem with our physically limited bed space at detainment facilities, and self-defeating catch-and-release policies with respect to countless illegal aliens absconding into the nation’s interior — sometimes to murderous effect — prior to their mandated removal hearings.
John Daniel Davidson recently noted the depth of the physical bed limitation problem at The Federalist:
Federal immigration authorities are now releasing migrants as fast as they are taking them in. The New York Times reported Wednesday that officials in McAllen, Texas, had released more 2,200 people from immigration facilities since Monday (McAllen, it should be noted, is a relatively small town that can’t exactly absorb thousands of new people showing up on its streets in a matter of days).
Mass releases like this are happening all along the border, and cities are struggling to cope with the large numbers of people being discharged from federal custody. On Thursday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the agency has released more than 107,000 migrant families and children since December 21, and that ICE arrests in the interior of the country are falling as resources are diverted to the border.
In El Paso, ICE plans to release up to 600 migrants a day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, which will likely overwhelm already crowded shelters in the city. City officials with El Paso’s Office of Emergency Management on Tuesday were planning to turn a municipal park into a staging ground to house 150 migrants for whom there was no room at local shelters (a local charity was able to secure hotel rooms at the last minute, so the park wasn’t needed).
Here is the bottom line. To no small extent, Trump’s anger is, indeed, misplaced. Trump’s ire and the focus of his planned separation of powers constitutional recalibration should, more than anything, be directed at the oftentimes indescribable hubris and institutional arrogance emanating from the black-robed denizens of what Alexander Hamilton assured us in The Federalist No. 78 would be “the least dangerous” branch. And to be sure, Trump’s possible actions vis-à-vis the judiciary can — and should — include some potentially bold, groundbreaking Lincolnian remedies. In addition to honing in upon the constitutionally untethered #resistance courts, furthermore, Trump would be wise to place much of the blame on Congress for its failure to provide sufficient funding in dealing with migrant crossing numbers so astounding that even Nick Miroff — a Washington Post national security reporter specializing in immigration enforcement and drug trafficking — recently only found one word to describe them: “Bonkers.”
But Trump is also right to not let off the hook the deeply corrupt, narco-dollars-dominated Mexican government. Consider the introduction to this news — not opinion, but news — story from The New York Times in December about the “El Chapo” trial:
It is no secret that Mexico’s drug cartels have, for decades, corrupted the authorities with dirty money. But as bad as the graft has been, the New York trial of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug lord known as El Chapo, has suggested that the swamp of bribery runs even deeper than thought.
In two months of testimony, nearly every level of the Mexican government has been depicted as being on the take: Prison guards, airport officials, police officers, prosecutors, tax assessors and military personnel are all said to have been compromised.
One former army general, Gilberto Toledano, was recently accused of routinely getting payoffs of $100,000 to permit the flow of drugs through his district.
The reality is that, while the various post-DACA amnesty border surge crises have generally involved many more migrants from the Central American “northern triangle” of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador than they have involved Mexicans, the “caravans,” cartels, traffickers, coyotes, and smugglers from Central America all still have to physically make their way through the vast Mexican terrain before reaching the United States’ southern border. It necessarily follows, as a matter of rudimentary logic, that the Mexican government ought to be responsible for putting the kibosh on these deeply dangerous, anti-humanitarian, inherently violent trafficking rings — and that the Mexican government would be empowered to do so, were it not for its dastardly combination of utter incompetence and disgraceful venality.
Furthermore, we have long passed the point at which that Mexican governmental utter incompetence and disgraceful venality is having an irrevocably hellacious effect on America’s sovereignty and national security. In the 2012 Supreme Court case of Arizona v. United States, Justice Antonin Scalia described “the power to exclude from the sovereign’s territory people who have no right to be there” as being “the defining characteristic of sovereignty.” Momentarily hold aside the dire need to reform our “credible fear” asylum loophole and rectify interior enforcement once and for all. Why, even besides the need for those measures, would we even partially outsource our sovereignty to sundry corrupt dunderheads in the Mexican government?
Amid what Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, refers to as an “unprecedented” border crisis that places our collective border security apparatus in “uncharted waters,” now is the perfect time to crack down on the Mexican government and attempt to exercise national leverage. Trump’s previous fanciful calls for making the Mexican government pay for his proposed border wall may have been risible campaign speech folderol, but surely he ought to be able to exert a modicum of leverage on the border to incentivize Mexico to finally stiffen its spine and cease its willfully allowing human traffickers and transnational criminal cartels to wreak havoc on America’s sovereignty and national security. Shutting down the border until the migrant influx stanches — and until the Mexican government decides to treat its cartel/trafficking ring problem even remotely seriously — makes eminent sense and is in line with principles of just governance.