Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.
A nation’s border is nothing in and of itself. It’s just an inanimate line on a map, in the dirt, on a riverbank. It has no philosophy, personality, feelings or meaning — beyond what people on either side attribute to it.
Unfortunately, thanks to Donnie Trump’s xenophobic demagoguery in this presidential election, America finds itself in a destructive border war — not with Mexico, but with itself. In his rallies, he leads his true believers in angry chants of “Build that wall!” He’s demanding that our Southwestern border with Mexico be turned into a hostile barrier of national, cultural and racial separation that will physically scream at Latino people: “KEEP OUT!”
This isn’t conjecture — you can see it for yourself, for about a third of that 2,000-mile frontier has already been desecrated with a massive metal wall, thrusting up to 30 feet high. It scowls at Mexico with such military fortifications as pole-mounted cameras, 24-hour radar, vibration sensors, all-seeing drones, surveillance balloons, and Blackhawk helicopters.
It has made the border mean, yet — get this — it doesn’t work! Migrants and traffickers continually overcome it. “The wall is a fantasy,” says an Arizona border sheriff. A rancher and diehard Trump supporter dismisses Donnie’s barrier scheme as a “farce.”
Worse, the existing wall and Trump’s extension of it is a perversion of what this border has been for centuries: An enriching connection point for people on either side. In fact, there were no sides — festivals paraded from Mexico into the U.S. and back again, businesses were totally bi-national, families extended across the so-called-line, kids played together on both sides, and the community was an organic whole.
However, Trump doesn’t concern himself with the hardship his wall extension would have on the hard-working people living along the border. He has convinced himself that hordes of rapists and drug dealers are pouring into the country in droves. Indeed, Donnie warned his supporters that if he does not win the election, we “…could have 650 million people pour in and we do nothing about it. Think of it: That’s what could happen. You triple the size of our country in one week.” That’s more than the entire populations of Mexico, Central America, and South America combined.
Not that there’s not an issue with border security. For example, at one part of the border, three Guatemalans waited until dusk to make their move, evading security in the remote expanse, illicitly slipping into our country. As the New York Times recently reported, “This area is a haven for smugglers and cross-border criminal organizations.” If Donald Trump were to witness such a scene, his hair would burst into flames and he’d fall into such a furious rant his lungs would explode! But The Donald will never see it, speak about it, or even know about it, because he’s always facing south, fulminating against Mexicans, Central Americans, and South Americans who cross our southern border.
Meanwhile, the scene described by the New York Times took place way up north, where rural Vermont connects to Canada. With so many of our nation’s political and security officials obsessed with the southern border, more and more criminal action — including smuggling people, drugs and weapons — has been coming across our 5,500-mile Canadian border, the longest in the world between two countries. Running from the Atlantic to the Pacific through sparsely-populated and heavily-wooded terrain, there’s often no clear demarcation of where Canada ends and the U.S. begins. Some farms, homes and businesses actually sprawl across the border.
Meanwhile, only about 2,000 agents patrol this vast stretch, and officials concede they don’t even have a good guess of how many people and how much contraband is coming across, or where.
So, Mr. Trump, shall we wall off Canada, too? And how much of our public treasury, democratic idealism and international goodwill shall we dump into the folly of militarizing both borders? By simply thinking we can wall the world out, we’ll be walling ourselves in — and that’s suicidal. Trump’s wall won’t keep undocumented migrants out, but it will lock out America’s egalitarian ideal of cross-cultural community. Rather than walling-off borders, our true national security requires that we reach across them in all directions.
To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (Reuters) – In a new twist to his immigration proposals, U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump held out the possibility of legal status for millions of illegal immigrants, but only after many other border enforcement steps are taken.
Trump, in remarks to a small group of reporters whom he invited on his plane for the first time since accepting his party’s nomination, said parts of his hardline immigration speech last week in Phoenix had been misinterpreted and that he had in fact softened his position to some extent.
The New York businessman said that before considering how to deal with millions of illegal immigrants who are obeying U.S. laws and contributing to American society, he first wants to evict criminal elements like drug smugglers and build a border wall.
Any illegal immigrants who want to gain citizenship will have to first return to their home countries first and get in line behind legal applicants, he said.
But for those who stay behind, Trump said their cases would be considered at some undefined point. Asked about a potential legal status for this group, Trump did not rule it out.
“We’re going to make that decision into the future. That decision will be made,” he said. “The first thing will be to get the bad elements out, the gang members, get ’em all out. We secure the border. We stop the drugs from coming in, because the drugs are pouring in … We’re going to build the wall. We need the wall to stop the drugs.”
Such a piecemeal approach has been pushed by Republican congressional leaders over the years because it is extremely hard to get a comprehensive immigration reform bill through the U.S. Congress.
Trump has struggled to strike the right tone on how he would take on illegal immigration if elected on Nov. 8. After flirting with a softer tone, he stuck to his hardline position in Phoenix last week, saying that anyone in the United States illegally would be subject to deportation.
Trump, seated with vice presidential running mate Mike Pence in tan leather seats aboard his private jet, was relaxed for a session with reporters of more than a half hour, clearly feeling better about his campaign after polls showed him closing the gap with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Talking about his recent effort to appeal to African-American voters, Trump was asked if it was difficult to attract black voters since he has raised doubts about whether Democratic President Barack Obama was born in the United States.
Trump waved off the question, saying it was an issue he did not want to get into anymore because reporters would seize on it. In 2011 while under fire from Trump, Obama produced his long-form birth certificate to prove that he was, indeed, born in Hawaii.
“I don’t talk about it because if I talk about that, your whole thing will be about that,” Trump said. “So I don’t talk about it.”
He said his focus for the final two months of the campaign will be mostly about how to create jobs for struggling middle-class Americans.”I’m all about the jobs now,” he said.
Trump also pledged to participate in all three presidential debates, saying he considered it an important part of being a candidate. He also said he was fine with the moderators announced last week.
(Reporting by Steve Holland)
Photo: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to reporters aboard his plane as he travels between campaign stops in Ohio, U.S. September 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Latinos for Trump founder Marco Gutierrez appeared on MSNBC Thursday afternoon to discuss the GOP nominee’s latest immigration speech and while on-air, warned of a future with “taco trucks on every corner” due to the “dominant” and “imposing” Mexican culture, should the U.S. immigration system not change.
“We need to understand that this is different times. We have problems here. We need reform,” Gutierrez said to host Joy Reid.
When Reid asked him to clarify which “problems” he was referring to, the interview took a strange turn: “My culture is a dominant culture, and it’s imposing and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re gonna have taco trucks [on] every corner.”
Reid appeared stunned and the Twitter account for “All In With Chris Hayes” later tweeted a clip:
— All In w/Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) September 2, 2016
Twitter users jumped on the statement and began expressing their feelings about the idea of taco trucks on every corner. Most were pro-taco truck:
— Dorsey Shaw (@dorseyshaw) September 2, 2016
— Cristobal Alex (@CristobalJAlex) September 2, 2016
Taco Truck, Every Corner
— Guapo 20Sxtn (@GuapoFlames) September 2, 2016
If #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.
— McNeil (@Reflog_18) September 2, 2016
#TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner So taco bowls on every corner would be better?
— Harold Itzkowitz (@HaroldItz) September 2, 2016
Photo via MSNBC/Screengrab
About The National Memo
The National Memo is a political newsletter and website that combines the spirit of investigative journalism with new technology and ideas. We cover campaigns, elections, the White House, Congress, and the world with a fresh outlook. Our own journalism — as well as our selections of the smartest stories available every day — reflects a clear and strong perspective, without the kind of propaganda, ultra-partisanship and overwrought ideology that burden so much of our political discourse.