Past Features

January 4, 2018

Is Trump playing the part?

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The Hlll -- January 3, 2018
Confusion over Trump's border wall delays spending talks
 Senate negotiators say a lack of clarity from President Trump about his plans for a proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is holding up talks to avoid a government shutdown.
    Trump has demanded tougher immigration controls and more border-security measures in return for relief for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients in the 2018 spending bill.
    But Republicans and Democrats working on a possible immigration deal said Wednesday they're still waiting to receive Trump's specific demands for tighter border security to hash out a deal. [...]
    The biggest question is whether Trump will insist on building a 2,200-mile wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, as he indicated in a recent interview with The New York Times, or whether he'll settle for increased patrols and surveillance.
    “That's something we're waiting on the White House to give us clarity on,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), one of the negotiators. “When you talk to [the Department of Homeland Security] and the other individuals, they talk about technology, they talk about personnel, they talk about physical barriers. [...]
    Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the Democrats working on a prospective immigration deal, said the reason Trump hasn't wanted to put his proposal for a border wall on paper is because it would appear unfeasible and draw opposition from fellow Republicans.
    “It has been almost three months since we asked the administration to provide us with a specific border security proposal. Still, I haven't seen it,” Durbin said.

Glenn Spencer -- January 4. 2018    
The Straw Man?
President Trump will soon unveil his secret plans for his border wall. He has repeatedly made it clear that his “wall” must be see-through. What is the difference between a wall and a fence? A Google search provides this most consistent definition: "The difference between a fence and a wall is that you can almost always see through a fence, at least to some degree, while a wall is solid."
    There is one thing for sure that we can say about it --- it won't be a wall.
    Why does the president continue to insist on calling it a wall? Because it is a straw man. Trump may have erected prototype walls on the border that knowing it would make everyone mad. Did he give his opponents a target they could easily knock down - like a straw man?
    Regardless, he will "give in" to those opponents and agree never to build a ‘wall'. He will build something else --- now being designed --- that will be easier to defend.
    It could be more like what the Secure Fence Act of 2006 called for - and almost the entire Congress voted for --- including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
    It could include new sensor technology that DHS/CBP may have found from its recent search.
    He may even make a point to publicly put the hammer down on misguided border technology --- thus saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
    How the president uses these cards --- a la things like DACA --- is an open question, but be assured he will do so artfully.
    President Trump's head is not full of straw.