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Trump, strike a deal: Trade border wall funding for DACA protections. By Nolan Rappaport

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Congress must extend government funding by September 30 and has until mid-October to raise the debt ceiling, and President Donald Trump is threatening to veto any funding bill that does not include money for the wall he has promised to build on the southwest border.

“If we have to close down our government,” he said, at his rally in Phoenix last week, “we’re building that wall.”

A 16-day shutdown in 2013 resulted in an estimated loss of $24 billion in economic output and shaved 0.6 percent off the nation's economic growth. But failure to raise the debt limit would be even more serious.

Unless a law is passed to raise the debt limit, the government will run out of money to pay its bills, which would trigger a default. This would jeopardize the world’s faith in America’s ability to pay its bills and that faith serves as the underpinning of the entire global financial system.

The risks are high on both ends of this equation — financial security and border security. Indeed, it has not been possible to erect even a virtual wall along the length of the southwest border.

In September 2006, CBP awarded Boeing a contract to build the Secure Border Initiative Network (SBInet), a virtual wall of technological devices that was supposed to provide border patrol officers with the information needed to maintain operational control of what was happening along the entire length of the southwest border.

It was a complete failure. When former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano terminated the program in January 2011, it had cost taxpayers almost $1 billion to complete two regions covering a total of only 53 miles of the 2,000-mile border.

Despite the difficulty of the task, give Trump a chance to show what he can do. This can be done by properly funding the existing border security legislation.


Published originally on The Hill.

About the author.
Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.

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Updated 08-28-2017 at 01:36 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Update, September 3:

    To the outrage of every person of good will in America who believes in racial equality and a fair immigration system that is not skewed against people of color, late September 3 news reports say that Trump has decided to end DACA in six months.

    If he does so, he will be writing another chapter in America's shameful history of bigotry that began with the Chinese exclusion laws in the 1880's and continued with the whites-only 1924 Johnson-Reed immigration act which his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, had such high praise for in his 2015 immigration "Handbook" as a Senator (and which Adolf Hitler had also praised some 90 years earlier in Mein Kampf).

    And what would be the purpose of the six month delay? Is it a cynical ploy to try to force Congress to pass a DACA measure of its own (which Congress has so far refused to do) and to include funding for Trump's border Wall of shame, hatred and humiliation against Mexican, Latino and other non-white immigrants as a condition of signing such a measure?

    This would be holding the hopes and future in America of nearly 800,000 young people who were brought here without authorization through no fault of their own and most of whom know no other country but the US hostage to Trump's fantasy of building a Wall, not only against Latino immigrants, but against the core American principles of justice and equality for all, and, ultimately, against our democracy.

    My earlier comments follow:

    Update, September 1:

    Does it really make any sense to agree to and accept one form of hatred and prejudice against non-white immigrants, namely Trump's border Wall of shame and humiliation directed against Latin American, and by extension, all non-white immigrants, in return for a presidential agreement not to engage in another form of hatred directed against non-European immigrants, namely ending DACA and dashing the hopes for a decent life and future in America of 800,000 innocent young people, many of them university students looking forward to productive careers in the US, who came to America through no fault of their own and pose no danger or harm whatsoever to this country of our society?

    Isn't standing up against prejudice and bigotry against minority immigrants in all its forms more in keeping with America's core principles of racial equality and justice for all?

    See also my September 1 Immigration Daily blog post:

    Will Trump End DACA as Part of His White Supremacist Agenda, Or Will He Hold Dreamers Hostage to His Wall of Shame?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law.

    My original responses to the above article appear below:

    (Mr. Rappaport's own comments in response to mine have apparently been deleted for some reason.)

    What is the real purpose of Trump's border Wall? Nolan himself points out that it is not the best option by any means for preventing illegal immigration; employer sanctions, or what Nolan calls "cutting off the jobs magnet" would be more effective in Nolan's view, and many other experts would agree with him.

    So why is the Wall so important to Donald Trump? Obviously, as a symbol of exclusion and humiliation of Mexican and Latino immigrants in general - that is why when Trump first proposed the Wall, he promised to make Mexico pay for it.

    A typical example of the strong(er) flexing their power over the weak(er), and, if you will, of the white race (Trump's America) forcing a non-white people to submit to its will.

    At what price?

    Destroying the world's economy by refusing to raise the US debt ceiling and and causing unimaginable suffering and hardship to hundreds of millions of people inside and outside the US through a financial catastrophe such as the world has never seen before if the US defaults on its financial obligations, as might happen if Trump doesn't get funding for his Wall and vetoes a debt increase measure without that funding?

    Is the Wall so vital to America's security as to take the risk of wrecking the world's economy out of spite if the Wall is not built?

    Nolan argues that the Wall and preserving the world's economy are equally important. He says:

    "The risks
    are high on both ends of the equation - financial security and border security."

    Is this a genuine equation - the Wall on one side and the economic structure of the entire world, which depends on the US not defaulting on its obligations, on the other?

    Is sending a symbolic message to the Mexican and Latin American people that Donald Trump doesn't want "their kind" in the United States as important as preserving the world from financial disaster?

    Anyone who thinks so may know something, or even a great deal about immigration, but this is not a sign of very wide knowledge of the world's economy.

    The Wall that Donald Trump thinks is so important that he might be willing to destroy the world's economy in order to get it is more than just a symbol of hatred and animosity toward non-white immigrants - it is also a symbol of totalitarian rule, not democracy.
    The Communists built their Berlin Wall as a symbol of tyranny. The Nazis built the Warsaw Ghetto Wall to help exterminate the Jews.

    Those Walls have long since been torn down. Does America need to build a new one?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 09-04-2017 at 01:59 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    The Wall may be important for Trump's ego, but he is far too smart to risk destroying the world's economy in order to build it. My guess is that the physical Wall will never be built.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
  3. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I am only referring to Nolan's own comment above:

    "Unless a law is passed to raise the debt limit, the government will run out of money to pay its bills, which would trigger a default. This would jeopardize the world's faith in America's ability to pay its bills and that faith serves as the underpinning of the entire global financial system."

    No one could put it more clearly and accurately than that. It is true that Trump, to the best of my knowledge, has not threatened to veto a bill raising the debt limit. As Nolan points out, Trump has only threatened to veto a bill funding the government and avoiding a government shutdown, which is bad enough, but, as Nolan correctly states, not as serious as destroying the entire world financial system.

    But any parent who sees a child playing with matches is going to put a stop to it immediately, because if something does catch fire, no one knows where the fire will stop. The same is true with threatening to cause financial havoc if Trump doesn't get his way with the Wall.

    Nolan suggests that all we may be talking about is another 47 miles of Wall. If that is enough to satisfy Trump, then it, arguably, might not be worth fighting over.

    But will a president who has just pardoned a former sheriff who boasted about holding minority immigrants in what he himself called "concentration camp" conditions and who went out of his way to torment and humiliate his detainees, as a 2011 DOJ investigation determined (see my August 28 Immigration Daily comment on Joe Arpaio's pardon) be satisfied with only 47 more miles of Wall?

    When the president ranted in Phoenix about shutting down the government if he doesn't get funding for his border Wall, was he talking about only an additional 47 miles?

    Nolan also claims that a majority of Democrats voted for a border wall, and least in principle. Nolan has far more expertise in that legislative history than I do, but the argument that Democrats support Trump's 30 (or 40) foot high border Wall now is absurd, as Nolan must surely know. If Nolan can point to a single Congressional Democrat who has spoken out in favor of Trump's Wall, let him furnish that Democrat's name.

    If the Democrats supported the Wall now, Trump would not need to threaten to shut down the US government, with all of the severe hardship which Nolan knows as well as anyone else would be caused to untold millions of Americans (and legal immigrants) who deal with the government or use its services.

    How can any president who cares about the American people and wants to put America first as much as Trump says he does show such evident eagerness to shut down this country's government, especially over a Wall which no one seriously argues is essential to America's security and even Nolan admits is not the best way to deal with illegal immigration?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 08-29-2017 at 05:44 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I cannot possibly disagree with Nolan's assessment that Trump's border Wall is not the best way of spending US taxpayers' money (since Trump's claim that Mexico would pay for it is nothing more than an empty boast which even Trump himself knows better than to take seriously).

    However, there is a more fundamental basis for opposing the Wall. This is that the Wall is just another part of Trump's overall strategy of dehumanizing Latino and other non-European immigrants, the same strategy which was also behind Trump's pardon of Joe Arpaio. As Michael Gerson writes in the August 28 Washington Post:

    "Arpaio made a career of dehumanizing prisoners in his charge. His pardon sends the signal that some people are less than human...Trump has employed dehumanization as a political tool from the start - of refugees, of migrants, of Muslims. By his pardon of Arpaio, he has metaphorically pardoned his own cruel and divisive approach to politics. It is a further step toward Trump's normalization and entrenchment of bigotry in our public life."

    Trump's border Wall is also part and parcel of this strategy of dehumanizing, not only immigrants, but American citizens of Mexican or other non-European ancestry too, such as in his remarks about Indiana-born Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

    When Trump first announced his plan for the Wall, he did it as part of a speech in which he dehumanized Mexican immigrants as "criminals", "rapists" and "drug dealers".

    That is the real reason, not the cost, logistics or politics of the issue, why Trump's border Wall should never be built - not one single foot of it.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 08-29-2017 at 01:12 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  5. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I am not the one who is attributing "bad motives" to Donald Trump - his own words and actions toward minority immigrants, American people of color and anyone who opposes or disagrees with him speak for themselves, notwithstanding Nolan's constant, but steadily more transparent and less convincing, attempts to whitewash, spin and make up excuses for him.

    Trump's constant assaults and attempts to dehumanize and demonize non-European immigrants and anyone else who does not fit in with the white supremacist agenda of the people who carried Nazi slogans in Charlottesville whom Trump refused to criticize directly, or the sparse (according to the reports I have seen) crowd that showed up to cheer his pardon of America's racist sheriff who locked up Latino immigrants in concentration camp conditions and then boasted about it, Joe Arpaio, cannot be explained away so easily no matter how creative Trump's apologists or supporters might be in trying to put a less unfavorable gloss on them, or to disregard them completely.

    The fact that Trump is the president, not some right wing radio talk show host, makes his racism and authoritarianism all the more dangerous for America and the American people, and makes it even more important to speak out for the real America and our real values of freedom, democracy and racial/religious equality as Americans.

    This is not to say that Trump is all bad on immigration. Against all expectations, he has not cancelled DACA (yet). He has followed federal court decisions greatly limiting the scope of his Muslim ban orders despite his strong disagreement with these decisions.

    Stephen Bannon has now been fired.

    The legal immigration system is still functioning, despite attempts by the administration to make it more cumbersome and onerous by making the application forms longer, and more confusing vague; and, most recently to slow down approvals by requiring personal interviews, even in routine employment-based adjustment of status cases.

    Meritorious immigration applications are still being approved (despite a blizzard of either incompetent or outrageously biased H-1B RFE's which I will write more about separately in one of my own blog posts - these were hardly unknown, or even unusual, under previous administrations - especially coming from the USCIS California Service Center).

    I do not practice in the deportation area, but from what I see on, total deportations are not much higher, or possibly even lower, than they were at this stage under President Obama, despite Trump's attempts to "unleash" ICE against immigrants who were low priority for deportation under President Obama.

    Trump's opponents and critics, including a growing number of Congressional leaders in his own party - Nolan would have to admit that I am very far from being Trump's only critic, or his harshest one - I do not write ilw. blog posts (as opposed to a couple of Letters to the Editor, where I have raised questions about his mental health that so many people are asking these days) calling the president's sanity into question, as many commentators are now doing elsewhere - are still free to speak out and are not being arrested or made to disappear.

    America is still a democracy; the Statue of Liberty is still standing, and immigrants from all parts of the world, including those from a certain religious group known as Muslims who seems to be out of out of favor with Donald Trump, are still coming to the United States with legal visas.

    Millions of non-white, minority group, American citizens are still registered to vote despite the obvious intention of Trump's "voter fraud" commission, led by Kris Kobach, the author of failed voter suppression and immigrant persecution laws in many states, to disenfranchise them.

    The momentous immigration reform law of 1965, one of the major turning points in America's entire immigration history, which opened up immigration to qualified people from the entire world, not just white northern Europe is still in force.

    This law has not been and probably never will be replaced by the RAISE act which is aimed at taking America at least half way back to the bigoted "Nordics" only 1924 law, and which Trump strongly supports (the RAISE Act, that is - only Jeff Sessions, among Trump's still remaining top advisers, has openly supported the 1924 immigration act, which Adolf Hitler also wrote about so favorably some 90 years ago in Mein Kampf).

    But the warning signs, signs that very big changes in the direction of an authoritarian, white supremacist regime in America, are under way in Donald Trump's America, are out there, albeit in incremental stages. Many nations which lost their freedom did so in stages, not overnight. I could refer to one country in particular which I don't have to mention specifically, since Nolan knows exactly which one I mean, and so do most readers.

    But Trump has been the president for less than eight months. Nolan says, in a different context (the Wall) that we should in effect give the guy a chance to show what he can do. But what he has done so far, both in his harm to America's non-white, non European ancestry immigrant and US citizen minorities, and to America's democratic system of checks and balances, is a matter of great concern to everyone who believes in democracy and racial equality.

    The border Wall proposal is part of that larger picture.

    But as Nolan points out, Trump will be the president of the United States for almost four more years (or, perhaps eight years - let us hope not for life, as in many other countries that have lost their freedom).

    There is still time for Trump to change course and to become a president who stands for the best in America, for all Americans without regard to race, color, or religion, as he sometimes promises when he is not turning away from his teleprompter.

    Does Trump have the inner potential, the nobility of spirit, to turn away from his present destructive course and to respect the dignity and humanity of everyone who is now present in this country, or who wants to come here in accordance with our laws, no matter what the color of their skin may be or what part of the world they may be from?

    Is he willing to entrust his future as president to the support of all Americans of good will, rather than a dwindling minority of white supremacist extremists such as the ones we saw in Charlottesville?

    Many presidents and other leaders have changed before in America.

    Lyndon Johnson began his career as a typical bigoted segregationist Southern Democrat of his time, but he eventually became America's great civil rights president.

    Earl Warren, who as governor of California was one of the major agitators for Japanese- American internment, became the Chief Justice who authored the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, perhaps the most important one in America's entire history, ending legal school segregation.

    Does Donald Trump have it in him to outgrow the white supremacist, anti-democratic tendencies which have characterized his immigration and many other policies to date, and become a truly great president who respects the humanity and equal rights of all Americans and other people who want to become part of and contribute to our society?

    If he does, there could not be any better way to start than by abandoning and renouncing his ludicrous and invidious Mexican border Wall proposal.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 08-30-2017 at 02:37 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  6. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I notice that Nolan (or someone else?) appears to have deleted a series of his own comments above defending various points in his above article. Therefore the context of the various points I am responding to above is now missing. I will, however, continue to let my comments stand on their own, as they all make what I see as valid and important points relating to the subject of Nolan's article, namely Trump's border Wall proposal, even if there might no longer be two sides to this discussion.

    I trust that even Trump's strongest defenders could not reasonably take offense at my sincere suggestion that Trump might have the potential to become one of America's greatest presidents - if he is willing to change his course.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 08-30-2017 at 07:52 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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