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Border Wall Deal: Which Party Won? Lost?
Peggy Sands Orchowski -- Immigration Expert Peggy Sands Orchowski -- Immigration Expert
Washington , DC
Thursday, February 14, 2019


New Border Deal: Which Party Won/Lost?

By Peggy Orchowski

It's 3 pm. on Feb. 14 2019 and your valentine (sort of) is that there will be no new partial government shutdown tomorrow at midnight. It was just announced that President Trump will be signing an almost 1200 page funding bill put together by a bipartisan, bicameral conference committee that makes a compromise on the border wall – the issue that until now both parties took defiantly opposite positions.  The bill will allocate only about a quarter of the money that Trump wanted -- about $1.4 billion to build about 55 miles of steel post fencing instead of $5.7  billion to build a 200 miles wall. BUT he will declare a national emergency to build the rest.

So which party won?  Which party lost?

Most pundits will say that President Trump caved and the Pelossi Democrats won.

* He didn't get his money for the wall that he was insistent about (and Mexico didn't cooperate to pay for it either).

* He actually ended up with less than was previously offered in other bills.

* He couldn't use a further shut down to bully his way because it went badly for him for 35 days after he "brought it on" on Dec. 21.

* He could be accused of wasting time and causing harm to government workers during the shut down to get a worse deal than before.

* In that mood, the bill also grants federal civilian workers a 1.9 percent pay increase which the President had opposed.

* It also includes grants for an extension of the Violence Against Women Act which the President also opposed.

So he lost big, right?

But there's another side.  It can be seen that President Trump actually won big and the Democrats lost.

* The Democrats had adamantly refused during the government shut down to allocate anything for a wall – zero, zilch, well OK, one dollar. Leader Nancy Pelosi declared the wall to be immoral.  Yet the compromise bill grants $1.5 billion to a barrier fence, a term Trump repeatedly said was fine with him ro replace "wall".

* Now President Trump and Republican leaders intend to get the rest of the money for the border barrier by declaring a national emergency at the same time he signs the bill. He can tap into legal constitutional resources including military funds, the 2006 Fence Act and other security resources. The case for a national emergency will certainly be helped by visuals of likely thousands of migrants currently surging through Mexico breaching the U.S.borders and demanding asylum, for which it is known that more than 90 percent will not qualify in the end.

* Democrats will challenge Trump's attempts to get other monies and may be successful even after the historic surge at the border. But Trump and Republicans will use their resistance in the already heating up 2020 presidential election campaign to accuse Democrats of being for open borders and for actively supporting non-enforcement of immigration laws and law-breaking by illegal immigrants.

* There is not one mention in those 1200 pages of legalizing illegal immigrants known as DACAs (some 700,000 who were granted temporary waivers from deportation in President Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order) nor for some 4 million DREAMERS (anyone who came into the U.S. before the age of 18 by whenever the Dream Act of 2017 is passed).  This would seem to be a huge failure for Democrats since they shut down the government twice in 2018 over DACA DREAMERS.

* The new bill also expands the operational budget and number of ICE  (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents who work to enforce immigration laws in the interior (not the borders) of the country. Some Democrats have demanded that ICE be de-funded altogether.

* It also expands the number of detention beds available to ICE without a cap even though Democrats had demanded a max.

* And maybe Mexico will in effect pay for it all after all if the illicit some $50 billion in drug monies that the now convicted for life imprisonment Drug Lord known as El Chapo is confiscated by the feds.

So one could say that Democrats are the one who lost the border wall battle and Republican won big.

You decide.

Happy Valentines day!

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“We can’t know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been”. Vice President of the Brookings Institution Darrell West wrote in recommending Peggy Sands Orchowski’s books   "The Law That Changed The Face of America: The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965" and  "Immigration and the American Dream: Battling the Political Hype and Hysteria" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015 and 2008 respectively).  Peggy is a credentialed Senior Congressional journalist in Washington DC. She is available for interviews, article assignments and speaking engagements about immigration   porchowski@hotmail.com

Peggy Sands Orchowski
Senior Congressional Correspondent
Washington, DC
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