Chris Wallace Sets Record Straight On Terrorists Illegally Crossing From Mexico

A major talking point of the Trump Administration has been that the border wall is vital to national security. As part of their argument, President Trump has made the claim that terrorists have been apprehended crossing the southern border with Mexico. This and similar claims became the focal point of a heated discussion between White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Chris Wallace of Fox News yesterday.

On Fox News Sunday, Wallace cited Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s statement that CBP had stopped more than 3,000 special interest aliens at the southern border and explained that “special interest aliens” are “people who come from countries that have ever produced a terrorist.” Wallace added, “They aren’t terrorists themselves” and noted that the State Department said that there was “no credible evidence of any terrorist coming across the border from Mexico.”

Sanders responded, “We know that there are nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists [that] come into our country illegally and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border.”

Wallace interrupted, “I know that statistic. I didn’t know if you were going to use it, but I studied up on this. You know where those 4,000 people come from, where they are captured? Airports!”

“Not always,” Sanders retorted.

“The State Department says there hasn’t been any terrorist that they’ve found coming across the southern border,” Wallace fired back.

“It’s by air, it’s by land, it’s by sea, it’s all of the above,” Sanders answered.

“But they’re not coming across the southern border, Sarah,” Wallace said, ‘They’re coming and they’re being stopped at airports.”

I had also heard the Homeland Security statistics and Trump’s claims about terrorists coming from Mexico. They didn’t ring true. Think about how the Trump Administration reacts when an illegal alien commits a violent. Both perpetrator and victim are featured prominently in talking points and the president’s tweets. Over the past few years, we have seen this pattern with Kate Steinle, Mollie Tibbets, and the recent murder of police Corporal Ronil Singh in California.

But when it comes to terrorists crossing the Mexican border, the Trump Administration has been astonishingly silent. If terrorists were being captured as they crossed the border from Mexico, it seems likely that the Trump Administration would be marching them before the media to make the case for the border wall. They haven’t.

Instead, we have a bait-and-switch. Trump surrogates like Sanders make two separate claims and link them together. On one hand, Sanders makes the verifiable claim that “there are nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists [that] come into our country illegally.” On the other, she offers an opinion that “our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border.” Sanders dishonestly leads the viewer to make the erroneous connection that the 4,000 terrorists were apprehended at the Mexican border, when, in fact, they were apprehended at airports.

Border security is a legitimate concern, both at the Mexican border and at airports, but the revelation that the Trump Administration has been purposely misleading the country about how terrorists enter the country undercuts the already shaky case for a border wall.

In fact, current security at the Mexican border seems to be working pretty well. The migrant caravan, which was pitched as an “invasion” in October, is still sitting in Tijuana where its members are waiting to legally apply for asylum. Illegal border crossings have already been declining for years, hitting a 46-year low in 2017. For more than a decade now, most illegal aliens have entered the country legally and overstayed visas rather than sneaking across the Mexican border. By 2014, two-thirds of new illegals were visa overstays.

While it certainly isn’t impossible that terrorists could sneak across the Mexican border, possibly through one of the innumerable tunnels that run underneath current physical barriers, there is no evidence that they are doing so. If conservatives want to make dispassionate policy decisions and use taxpayer money to the greatest advantage for the country, facts support the idea that border security money should be focused toward tracking aliens who enter the country legally on visas and then drop out of sight.

The Trump Administration loses more of its credibility, which is already in short supply, when they make false claims such as advancing the idea that terrorists are streaming across the Mexican border. Kudos to Chris Wallace and Fox News for setting the record straight.

 

Trump To Withdraw From World’s Largest Free Trade Agreement

President Trump said Saturday that he intends to use his executive authority to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement. Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Trump said that he will soon notify Canada and Mexico of the United States intent to leave the trade pact.

“I’ll be terminating it within a relatively short period of time. We get rid of NAFTA. It’s been a disaster for the United States,” Trump said, adding, “And so Congress will have a choice of the USMCA or pre-NAFTA, which worked very well.”

The Trump Administration has negotiated a new agreement, which the US refers to as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), that is intended to replace NAFTA. NAFTA is the world’s largest free trade agreement and has led to dramatic economic growth in all three nations.

Trump’s intention is obviously to give Congress the choice of either the new deal or no free trade agreement at all. NAFTA reduced tariffs among the three nations so destroying the pact would have the effect of raising tariffs even further and slowing trade. Already, American agriculture, small manufacturing, and shipping have been damaged by the trade war.

The new trade pact, which is also referred to as the “New NAFTA,” has received mixed reviews. On the plus side, the deal contains increased protections for intellectual property, agrees to prevent currency manipulation, and opens American access to Canadian dairy markets. On the downside, the treaty automatically expires in 16 years unless it is renewed and, in an apparent attempt to limit US investment in Mexico, the Trump Administration insisted on limiting protection from regulatory abuse. Further, the new deal increases the percentage of domestic content required to exempt new cars from tariffs.

Rather than free trade, the Wall Street Journal says of the USMCA, “This is politically managed trade, and its economic logic is the opposite of Mr. Trump’s domestic deregulation agenda.” The paper’s editorial board added that the “auto gambit is part of the Trump-Lighthizer strategy to blow up global supply chains.”

The main attraction of the Trump trade pact is that it is better than a reversion to pre-NAFTA rules with their return to increased tariffs and regulations. Economists say that the new deal won’t boost economic growth or increase manufacturing jobs. Its new limitations on free trade will end up costing American consumers more money while giving them less choice.

There is also debate on whether President Trump has the authority to unilaterally withdraw from NAFTA. The treaty includes a provision that allows for withdrawal after a six-month notice, but opponents say that since NAFTA was approved by the Senate, leaving the pact would also require Senate approval.

A 2016 report by the Congressional Research Service addressed the question of a unilateral withdrawal from NAFTA by the president. “As a practical matter, the President’s communication of a notice of termination of an FTA [free trade agreement] to trade partners in accordance with the FTA’s terms59 appears sufficient to release the United States from its international obligations,” the report says, but  notes, the “President could not repeal federal statutes implementing the FTA in the absence of congressional action because the Constitution gives Congress the authority to impose duties and to ‘regulate commerce with foreign nations.’” In other words, the president’s notice to terminate could be a withdrawal in name only if Congress does not change the US laws and regulations to differ from what the treaty requires.

The report also points out that “the Constitution apportions authority over international trade between the President and Congress.” The legality of Trump’s move is not specifically addressed in the Constitution and there is no precedent for a president unilaterally withdrawing from a trade treaty.

If President Trump goes through with his move to unilaterally claim the executive authority to withdraw the United States from a successful trade deal with its two largest trading partners, it will almost certainly provoke a constitutional crisis as well as an economic one. The Senate is controlled by Republicans but many oppose the president’s protectionist trade policies. Republican Senate leaders may be forced to sue to overturn the president’s abuse of executive authority or choose between either a badly flawed trade deal or no deal at all.

Groundbreaking: 1B Barrels of Oil Discovered Off Mexican Coast Under Private Sector Control

Not only is America expected to experience an “Energy Renaissance“, it appears our neighbors to the south are experiencing a boon in oil and gas too.

The U.K. based Premier Oil–in partnership with Talos Energy (Operator) and Sierra Oil & Gas–announced the one billion barrel discovery in its Zama-1 exploration well in Block 7 off the coast of Veracruz, Mexico (Gulf Coast). Interestingly enough, it was revealed that this was the “first offshore exploration well drilled by the private sector in Mexico’s history” per Premier Oil’s official press release.

“We are delighted to be announcing this significant new oil discovery offshore Mexico,” said Tony Durrant, Chief Executive of Premier Oil.We have encountered a very substantial oil bearing interval which indicates over 1 billion barrels of oil in place, a commercial standalone development which adds materially to Premier’s portfolio of assets worldwide. It is particularly pleasing that our strategy of focusing our exploration portfolio on high impact opportunities in proven but under-drilled basins has led to this world class discovery with our first well in Mexico.”

Here’s more about this groundbreaking discovering:

 

 

  • Initial gross original oil in place estimates for the Zama-1 well are in excess of 1 billion barrels, which could extend into a neighbouring block
  • A contiguous gross oil bearing interval of over 335 metres (1,100 feet), with up to 200 metres (650 feet) of net oil bearing reservoir in Upper Miocene sandstones with no water contact
  • Initial tests of hydrocarbon samples recovered to the surface contain light oil, with API gravities between 28° and 30° and some associated gas

 

Mexico ended its moratorium on state-owned oil and gas exploration in 2013–ending Pemex’s monopoly on the industry. This has opened up the oil and gas industry to foreign investors. Free enterprise works? Imagine that! Perhaps this boon in oil and gas will propel those itching to leave the troubled nation to stay? Economic opportunities south of the border can perhaps quell the issue of illegal immigration. We shall see…

It’s interesting that so-called environmentalists cheer on foreign nations whenever they discover and decide to explore avenues to extract oil and gas–but fail to apply the same logic to domestic oil and gas exploration.

Let’s hope Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his department can safely unleash the same energy plan here in the United States!

Central American Migrants Increasingly Choosing To Settle In Mexico, Not The US

After hearing word that the new Trump administration is making it much more difficult to obtain asylum, migrants from Central America are making Mexico their final destination point.

Mexico – long a place where migrants from Central America made a waypoint between their homes and the United States – is now in the position of accepting thousands of refugee applications every year. People from the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) are hedging their bets on Mexico as the place to take them in now that the American government is cracking down on illegal immigration and making clear that asylum is not guaranteed.

Maureen Meyer, a senior associate at the Washington Office on Latin America, explained in a story from the Associated Press:

“If you look at Mexico’s definition of who can qualify for asylum, it’s much broader than the United States,” Meyer said. “If you are fleeing widespread violence in your country, you may be able to qualify for asylum in Mexico, whereas in the U.S. you have to prove that you belong to very specific groups of people.”

The numbers speak for themselves. Refugee applications in Mexico have risen substantially over the past couple of years. In 2015, it received 3,424 applications. In 2016, that number jumped to 8,794. We are barely halfway through 2017 and the number of refugee applications in Mexico already stands at 5,464 – well on track to surpass last year.

Experts say word of America’s tougher immigration policies is the main reason for the change in Central American migration patterns. People wishing to leave the Northern Triangle are acutely aware of what to expect in Mexico versus the United States. For example, the U.S. now denies around 80 percent of asylum claims by individuals from that part of the world. In comparison, Mexico granted asylum to about one of every three applicants from Central America in 2016.

They know which country will most likely let them stay.

Things didn’t always used to be this way. More than 100,000 unaccompanied minors entered the United States between October 2013 and July 2015. The Obama administration granted them (almost all exclusively from the Northern Triangle) expedited resettlement under an emergency order. As many as 2.7 million people from Central America were living in the United States in 2013.

The Trump White House, for their part, has made it clear to illegal immigrants that coming to this country is not worth the time and effort. Government officials have pressured Mexico to take in more immigrants while publicly discouraging others from attempting to reach the country illegally.

“We have asked them [Northern Triangle countries] to ask their citizens to not waste the money and head north, do not get on that terribly dangerous network,” John Kelly, the secretary of Homeland Security, reported to the Senate in June. “Stay where they are, because if they come here, this is no longer an illegal-alien-friendly environment.”

 

Homeland Security Sees 40% Fewer Illegal Immigrants Crossing The US-Mexico Border

An interesting thing has happened at our southern border, and it’s worth watching to see if it turns into a trend: Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced this week that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency has seen a 40% drop in illegal immigrants entering the country between January and February – a time when illegal immigration usually increases.

Kelly stated that the number of “inadmissible persons” at the southern border dropped to 18,762 persons in February from 31,578 in January. He added, “Since the administration’s implementation of executive orders to enforce immigration laws, apprehensions and inadmissible activity is trending toward the lowest monthly total in at least the last five years.”

Kelly said the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency usually sees a 10 percent to 20 percent increase in apprehensions of illegal immigrants from January to February.

Kelly commented that the drop in illegal immigrants is a result of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. The two executive orders Trump issued in late January called for the building of a wall to secure the border along with a clearer set of guidelines for deportations.

According to the BBC, the Mexican government has referred to the Trump-era immigration policy as “hostile” and “unacceptable.”

Will the decrease become a trend? How well will Trump’s immigration policies work? It’ll be worth watching to see if these numbers drop even more or bottom out.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Trump’s First Week

As President Trump’s first week on the job takes its place in the history books, we can take a moment to look back on the good and the bad of the new administration. I was not a Trump supporter. I did not vote for Mr. Trump or for Hillary Clinton. Nevertheless, as a conservative, I can find things to applaud in Mr. Trump’s effort. Unfortunately, I can also find some of the things that made it impossible for me to vote for him in the first place.

Let me say first that many of Mr. Trump’s appointments have been very good. It seems that his appointments for military and security jobs are particularly sensible. Most of the issues that I have with his cabinet and staffers relate to economic positions where it seems that the president and his advisors lean toward a Keynesian viewpoint.

On his first day in office, Mr. Trump issued an Executive Order that directs the Department of Health and Human Services to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay” parts of the Affordable Care Act that place a financial burden on individuals, health care providers or states.” The order effectively tells the HHS not to enforce the Obamacare mandate. This is a partial fulfillment of a major campaign promise.

On Monday, President Trump began with an assault on free trade pacts. President Trump, in keeping with his campaign promises, signed a memorandum to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and signaled his intention to reopen negotiations on NAFTA, the free trade agreement with America’s two largest export markets. Scuttling NAFTA could lead to major problems for the US economy while the dissolution of the TPP could give China a major window for expansion. Neither would be good for American businesses and consumers.

Other new policies are better news for conservatives. The president ordered a hiring freeze of nonmilitary government workers in an effort to reverse the growth of the federal government. The order “prevents filling vacant positions and creating new positions except when necessary to meet national or public security responsibilities,” press secretary Sean Spicer told CNN. The order also states that “contracting outside the Government to circumvent the intent of this memorandum shall not be permitted,” closing a major loophole of previous hiring freezes.

In another move that should please pro-life conservatives, the president restored the Mexico City Policy which prohibits international groups that perform or promote abortions from receiving federal funds. The policy was implemented by President Reagan and rescinded by President Obama in 2009.

On Tuesday, the president signed memos that would revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. The Keystone pipeline would run from the Canadian Oil Sands of Alberta to Nebraska while the Dakota pipeline would go from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields to Illinois. Both projects languished under President Obama and are important for the economy and energy independence. At the same time, Mr. Trump ordered federal departments to help streamline permitting and regulations for manufacturing projects.

On Wednesday, Trump fulfilled another campaign promise with two Executive Orders. The first established the “construction of a physical wall on the southern border” as official US policy and called for hiring 5,000 new Border Patrol agents. ABC News reports that Republican congressional leaders will back Trump’s plan for the wall with plans to authorize $12-15 billion for its construction. Last July, Politico wrote that many Border Patrol agents, even those who supported Trump, consider the wall “an expensive, pointless boondoggle, [that] wouldn’t solve the main problems with border security.” Trump’s second immigration order sets priorities for deportation of illegal aliens and aims to strip federal funds from sanctuary cities.

The Trump Administration continued to maintain that Mexico will either pay for the wall or reimburse the US for its cost. On Thursday, press secretary Spicer suggested that a 20 percent tariff on Mexican imports could be used to fund the wall, prompting Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto to cancel a planned meeting with President Trump. Millions of Americans whose livelihoods depend on trade with Mexico doubtless hope that relations between the two countries can be patched without a trade war.

On Friday, Trump signed another Executive Order, at least parts of which will please many conservatives. President Trump suspended the Syrian refugee program and halted immigrations from the countries of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia for 90 days. The Order also suspended the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until it is reinstated for refugees that can be properly vetted. The total number of refugees that the US will admit will be reduced from 110,000 annually to 50,000.

The order also gives the Department of Homeland Security the ability to prioritize Christian refugees from the Middle East. According to CNN, the Order allows DHS to give priority “on the basis of religious based persecution” as long as the person applying for asylum is “a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”

The Mexico kerfuffle is probably the ugliest aspect of the week, but Mr. Trump’s penchant for taking his eye off the ball and making off-the-cuff remarks and tweets also caused damage. Among the things better left unsaid were Trump’s unsupportable claim that 3-5 million illegal immigrants voted in the election, the pointless argument over the size of the crowd at the inauguration, his apparent endorsement of torture and his threat to “send in the Feds” to Chicago. That the new administration is now indelibly linked to the phrase “alternative facts” is disconcerting.

Though well-intentioned, there are obvious problems with President Trump’s use of executive actions to advance his agenda. Using Executive Orders to bypass Congress was a major complaint of conservatives about President Obama. Additionally, these orders may last only as long as President Trump’s term. Mr. Trump’s successor could change these Executive Orders as easily as Mr. Trump changed President Obama’s. Many of them do chart a course that will please Republicans, but ultimately Mr. Trump will have to make these changes permanent by working with Congress and persuading some Democrats to back his agenda.

Even though I didn’t support Trump as a candidate, so far he has proven to be a better president than Hillary Clinton would have been. Admittedly, that sets a very low bar. I still can’t consider myself a Trump supporter, but I will support and encourage him when he makes the right choices as he did on several of his executive actions this week and with many of his appointments. On the other hand, when he needs to be criticized, as he does on trade, some aspects of his immigration policy and saying things that are not thoughtful or presidential, conservatives should nudge him in the right direction.

Donald Trump Wants a Surge of Illegal Aliens Into the United States

UPDATED: I am keeping the post below because the original White House statement sounds like a 20% import tax, or tariff, which would be bad. But later reports are coming out that what the President is actually talking about is a “border tax,” which is essentially a tax readjustment. We currently tax exports, but do not tax imports. Many countries tax imports as a way of dealing with corporate taxation. That has its benefits.

But the way this is being trotted out may very well make it radioactive if a border tax is the intent.


Donald Trump has announced a plan to massively increase illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States and, as a bonus, drive the American economy into recession.

Trump’s plan would impose a 20% tax on all goods imported from Mexico as a way to pay for his wall. In so do, that would drive up the costs of goods in the United States causing Americans to pay more and Americans to pay for his wall.

President Trump projects that this would generate $10 billion a year, but what will happen is two fold. First, we will go into recession as a trade war starts and the cost of goods and services rises. Second, American businesses will probably shut down facilities in Mexico.

The second one sounds good, but that will drive up unemployment in Mexico and encourage an increase in illegal immigration into this country, which has actually been declining now for several years.

This is not a good plan the President is proposing and hopefully he can be dissuaded from it.

BREAKING: Mexican President Nieto Calls Trump’s Bluff, Cancels Meeting

Oh, Mexico! This is what happens when dealmaking President Donald Trump trades shots with foreign leaders who hold a better hand than him. They call him on it and claim the pot.

Trump insisted that Mexico will pay for the wall, then he authorized it with American taxpayer money. Speaker Ryan obliged that American taxpayers will pay. Then Mexican President Pena Nieto publicly condemned the wall, and reiterated his country will not pay for it.

“I regret and reject the decision of the U.S. to build the wall,” Nieto said in a nationally televised address. “I have said it over and over again. Mexico will not pay for any wall,”

That led Trump to threaten to cancel his meeting with Nieto.

Bet, raise, call. Pot to Nieto.