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writing for godot

A Stalemate: Trump's Government Shutdown and His Wall

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Written by David Starr   
Wednesday, 02 January 2019 13:41

So far the Democrats have not caved. It is not the time (or never the time) to do so over Trump's government shutdown.

The Democrats sound certain they will stand their ground on not having a wall built on the border. Trump says the shutdown will go on until he gets his way, and his wall. Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) reflected the stalemate with a fiery speech in Congress ("Tim Ryan Tells Republicans To 'Get A Grip and Learn How To Govern.'" Frances Langum, Crooks and Liars, 12/21/2018.) Ryan chided Trump over the idea that U.S. citizens would have to pay for the wall. He mentioned that Trump promised that Mexico would pay for it, showing that Trump broke his promise. (But it's not Mexico's responsibility to fund the damn thing!) While Ryan said he was for border security, he added that he is against the wall.

Ryan concluded by saying that the Republicans "are living in the past. And this government is in chaos. It's in a freefall." The damage the Trump regime has done is beyond reprehensible. It and the GOP are indeed dwelling in the past with their agenda, wanting to back to a time when white privilege was not threatened. And the "big, beautiful" wall is a symbol of this. It would be a monument to xenophobia and racism. The thought of "lowly" nonwhites "invading" the white homeland is too much for racists amongst Trump's base.

But wait. Couldn't undocumented immigrants come to the U.S. legally? Those who traveled from Central America to the U.S. border are seeking asylum, which means they should be let in to go through a process of resettlement, legally. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, those seeking asylum can apply regardless of how they entered the United States. The current migrants are detained and held in what amounts to be internment camps. The Trump regime regards these people as "invaders" rather than asylum seekers. But the United Nations Refugee Agency would say they qualify since they are fleeing conflict and violence. And poverty is a root cause of these two factors.

Negotiations between Democrats and Republicans have been tried and failed. Who is to blame? Trump started this with the shutdown and so all fingers point to him. The Democrats were willing to provide $1.3 billion for border security in a budget package, trying to make a deal with Trump. ("Trump signals no end to shutdown: 'You have to have a wall.'" Linderman and Superville, Associated Press, 12/26/2018.)  But no funding for the wall. At Trump's insistence, $5.7 billion was added into the package. But the bill failed to pass in the Senate. After that, negotiations were tried again but no deal was reached.

In trying to show that federal workers were with him, Trump said they approved of the shutdown until the wall was built. He said many were in support. But this doesn't reflect reality. Paul Shearon, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, said that not one member of the union supports Trump's position. (Linderman and Superville, Associated Press, 12/26/2018) This is likely the rule and not the exception with federal workers. With about 800,000 federal workers being furloughed or working without pay, they should know who to blame.

So the stalemate continues. The Democrats must follow through with their resistance to not provide funds for Trump's wall. It is a matter of principle. And a necessary fight for justice.

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