On My Corner

Bob Casimiro

By Bob Casimiro

The deadline for a federal budget agreement is Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 and it looks like there might not be a deal forthcoming, so we are facing another government shutdown. Another “Perils of Pauline” moment for the country brought to you by those incompetents in Washington, D.C.

A 2015 poll showed the U.S. Congress had an 11 percent approval rating. They have given us a $22 trillion national debt, annual budget deficits in the hundreds of billions of dollars and, while going from photo op to photo op, have blissfully ignored the explosion of the outstanding student loan debt of $1.52 trillion, with a default rate of 11.5 percent. The latest impasse is over border security.

Another one of those bipartisan Congressional groups is meeting to come up with a compromise to fund the border wall. One of the negotiators, U.S. Senator John Tester (D-MT), was asked a question by Chris Wallace of FoxNews about one of the issues — the limitation on detention bed space — and answered that they want to “make sure the southern border is secure.” He said again, at the end of the interview: “Make sure the border is secure.”

I don’t want to call anyone a liar; but let’s just say they are mightily skilled in the subtle art of purposeful dissembling.

A few days later we heard that the negotiations were stalled and going nowhere because of the insistence by the Democrats that detention beds for internal enforcement be limited to 16,500. Let me explain this issue.

The Border Patrol is responsible for enforcement from the borders and 100 miles into the country. As an example, the closest point from Bridgton to the Canadian border is just about Pittsburg, N.H. so that area is within the jurisdiction of the Border Patrol. You may have read about the liberals/progressives getting their knickers in a knot over the Border Patrol stopping buses to ask riders about their citizenship. That was all within 100 miles of the border.

Anything else (the vast majority of the country) is under the jurisdiction of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). There are branches within ICE that handle various aspects of enforcement. During the Obama administration, ICE was focused on apprehending criminal aliens, thus leaving the non-criminal illegal aliens alone. Actually, they are all criminals, but the ones ICE was focusing on were the convicted murderers, rapists, drug dealers, etc. When ICE apprehends criminal aliens they have to detain them until they can be deported, thus the need for detention bed space.

When you consider that, as of last Sunday, ICE has a total of 48,747 aliens in custody, as reported in the Lewiston Sun Journal, you can understand the preposterous demand by the Democrats for a 16,500 limitation on bed space. This would, in effect, be putting ICE out of business, which is supported by politicians Kirsten Killibrand (D-NY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), among many others.

When the Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say they are opposed to walls but “support border security,” they are just putting a fig leaf, and a very thin one at that, over their open border positions.

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