There’s something that doesn’t love a wall, wrote the poet Robert Frost, and that something for the moment is comprised of Democrats. President Trump’s long-promised wall along the U.S. border with Mexico is slowly rising from the desert floor and his noisy political opponents are mounting a campaign to bring it down.
Construction began last month on eight wall prototypes along the border south of San Diego. Half of the test barriers are constructed of concrete and the rest are made of “other materials,” according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Each section is expected to be between 18 and 30 feet tall and 30 feet wide, and the president wants to judge the results for himself. “I’m going to go out and look at them personally, and I’m going to pick the right one,” he says.
The president has made the border wall a centerpiece of a 70-point enforcement proposal forwarded to Congress on Sunday, meant to get a grip on the nation’s lax immigration rules. The White House further wants to appoint more deportation agents, limits on “chain migration” and sanctions on sanctuary cities. He offers in exchange the legalization of the so-called “Dreamers,” young illegals given temporary legal status through the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The wall project received a boost on Capitol Hill last week when the House Homeland Security Committee approved $10 billion for construction as part of a border-security bill. But House Democrats say they want no part of border-security funding for the wall they despise, and Senate Democrats are expected to follow.
Mounting their counter-offensive, House Democrats introduced a bill to prohibit border-wall construction. Called the Protecting the Property Rights of Border Landowners Act, the measure would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to bar the secretary of Homeland Security and the U.S. attorney general from acquiring border land for wall construction through the use of eminent domain, the right of government to expropriate private property for public use with just compensation to the owners.
The bill’s sponsors argue that landowners will suffer if Washington resorts to the taking process to acquire a corridor for the wall. For cosponsoring Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, it’s a curious argument. In 2006, as an El Paso city councilman, he led an effort to use eminent domain to push through a downtown revitalization plan, and barely survived a recall effort mounted by angry property owners. Mr. O’Rourke further condemned the Minutemen, citizen-volunteers who patrolled the border during the mid-2000s. The actual target of his ire isn’t so much eminent domain, but the border security efforts of Donald Trump, whose impeachment the congressman has championed.
California, a stronghold of Democrats and illegal aliens, is trying to stand beyond the reach of U.S. law. In September, the state sued the Trump administration in U.S. district court, saying the border wall would violate federal environmental standards and impinge on the state’s rights. Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed legislation that, when effective Jan. 1, bars police from checking anyone’s immigration status or cooperating with law enforcement except when illegals have been convicted of certain crimes.
Having succeeded in thwarting President Trump’s vow to repeal and replace Obamacare, Democrats have turned to the defeat of his promise to secure the border. It’s part of an ugly and cynical strategy to nullify the Trump presidency, and they perceive the waves of illegal aliens as something like an ATM machine, where they can withdraw voters as needed. Their own struggle to “fundamentally transform” America, begun in the Obama administration, continues apace.
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