News and Commentary

NYT Editorial Board: ‘Congress, Give Trump His Border Money’

Yes, you read that right, but, no, The New York Times editorial board explicitly does not mean money for his “big, beautiful” wall. Nonetheless, the nation’s left-leaning newspaper of record is conceding that not only is there a crisis at the southern border — as Trump has been hammering repeatedly and Democrats have been denying obstinately for months — it’s so severe that the Times is actually calling for Democrats to put aside “political gamesmanship” and do the one thing they’re most committed not to do: actually work with Trump to do something good for the country when it comes to illegal immigration.

“President Trump is right: There is a crisis at the southern border. Just not the one he rants about,” the Times editorial board writes in an editorial published Sunday.

What is supposedly not happening at the border, according to the Times, is undocumented people secretly crossing over who pose a national security risk. There’s “no invasion of murderers, drug cartels or terrorists,” the Times confidently underscores — though the nature of illegal immigration is that we do not know who has entered the country, and we do have a lot of evidence of drug cartels operating on the border. That said, the editorial board lays out the aspects of the crisis they are willing to admit is in fact happening:

But as record numbers of Central American families flee violence and poverty in their homelands, they are overwhelming United States border systems, fueling a humanitarian crisis of overcrowding, disease and chaos. The Border Patrol is now averaging 1,200 daily arrests, with many migrants arriving exhausted and sick. Last week, a teenage boy from Guatemala died in government custody, the third death of a minor since December. As resources are strained and the system buckles, the misery grows.

The “misery” has grown so intense and widereaching that our lawmakers must actually do something — and “soon.” And what’s blocking this action? Well, business as usual in Washington, the Times suggests: “political gamesmanship once again threatens to hold up desperately needed resources.”

The Times then acknowledges that the Trump White House has issued a rather reasonable request of $4.5 billion for emergency funding to help manage what it aptly describes as a crisis caused by “alarming numbers” of migrants arriving at the southern border, in particular unaccompanied minors:

In a letter to lawmakers, the acting director of the White House’s budget office, Russell Vought, sought to convey the scope of the challenge. “In February, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered more than 76,000 illegal border crossers and inadmissible aliens, and in March that number exceeded 100,000 — the highest monthly level in more than a decade,” Mr. Vought wrote. He described what he said were “alarming numbers” of women and children jammed into Border Patrol stations never intended as long-term shelters.

The Times faults the request for being “light on specifics” but notes that none if it goes to the wall and that it earmarks a majority of the funds, $3.3 billion, for humanitarian needs, specifically directing much of it to the agency that handles unaccompanied minors.

The only “nonstarter”in the request for Democrats is the $700 million that goes to “shoring up border security operations, including increasing the number of detention beds overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” The board expresses some sympathy with Democrats on the issue but suggests, “until better policies are in place, Democrats need to find a way to provide money for adequate shelter.”

Related: Trump Administration May Make It Easier To Deport Low-Income, ‘Public Charge’ Aliens

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