After November’s election results, I got the feeling that it wouldn’t be too long before Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader (and soon to be speaker, assuming all goes well) Nancy Pelosi were feeling their oats like they were Quaker.
Earlier this week, they forgot that they were dealing with the one man in Washington who’s never not feeling his oats, Donald J. Trump. When they tried to engage him over the possibility of a partial government shutdown next week if the wall isn’t funded by Congress, things got a bit dicey.
“I’ll tell you what, I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” the president told Schumer during a contentious Oval Office meeting, “because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems, and drugs pouring into our country.
“So I will take the mantle. I will be the to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it. The last time you shut it down it didn’t work. I will take the mantle of shutting down, and I’m going to shut it down for border security.”
“But we believe you shouldn’t shut it down,” Schumer said.
Schumer was a bit more unequivocal later on. “I want to be crystal clear: There will be no additional appropriations to pay for the border wall. It’s done,” he said on the Senate floor.
Schumer’s line is basically this — falling illegal immigration numbers show that we don’t need the wall, so why fund a project that isn’t needed? After all, what we have now must be working, right?
There are so many problems with that I almost don’t know where to start. However, for the purposes of this article, I know where to start and finish: with the word of the Department of Homeland Security, the department which deals firsthand with the threat of illegal immigration on a daily basis.
“DHS is committed to building wall and building wall quickly. We are not replacing short, outdated and ineffective wall with similar wall,” the department said in an article published Wednesday. “Instead, under this President we are building a wall that is 30-feet high.”
And they weren’t shy about who was behind the wall, either. “FACT: Prior to President Trump taking office, we have never built wall that high,” the article stated.
Here’s the difference between the old wall and the new (big, beautiful) wall, as pictured on their website:
DHS said that they utilized $292 million in funds from Congress to build 40 miles of this kind of wall in three sectors — El Centro, El Paso and San Diego. These were “Border Patrol’s highest priority locations in place of outdated, operationally ineffective barrier,” according to Homeland Security.
“As of November 21, 2018, (Customs and Border Protection) has constructed more than 31 of the 40 miles with the remaining 9 miles scheduled for completion by early 2019,” they said.
So, how much of a difference does this wall make? Here’s another visual demonstration, just in case you didn’t get the idea:
And how good is the newer style of border fencing at keeping illegal border crossers out?
“On Sunday when a violent mob of 1,000 people stormed our Southern border, we found the newly constructed portions of the wall to be very effective,” DHS said.
“In the area of the breach, a group of people tore a hole in the old landing mat fence constructed decades ago and pushed across the border. U.S. Border Patrol agents who responded to the area ultimately dispersed the crowd, which had become assaultive, and apprehended several individuals. All of the individuals were either apprehended or retreated into Mexico. That evening, the fence was repaired.
“There were no breaches along the newly constructed border wall areas,” they noted.
As for the $5 billion that Trump is requesting in border security funding, DHS says that will go a long way.
“When combined with the funds provided in FY 2017 and FY 2018, if funded at $5B in FY 2019 DHS expects to construct more than 330 miles of border wall in the U.S. Border Patrol’s highest priority locations across the Southwest border,” the article read.
“The Bottom Line: Walls Work,” the article concluded.
“When it comes to stopping drugs and illegal aliens across our borders, border walls have proven to be extremely effective. Border security relies on a combination of border infrastructure, technology, personnel and partnerships with law enforcement at the state, local, tribal, and federal level.
“For example, when we have installed wall in Yuma Sector, we have seen border apprehensions decrease by 90 percent. In San Diego we saw on Sunday that dilapidated, decades old barriers are not sufficient for today’s threat and need to be removed so new — up to 30 foot wall sections can be completed.”
In short, what we have now isn’t sufficient for the threat, contrary to what Sen. Schumer may believe. And contrary to what Democrats might believe, walls work. Walls are a good thing. These facts are all independent of whether or not President Trump gets the $5 billion he’s asking for in order to build it. If you don’t believe me, just ask DHS.