American Elephants


Desperate Democrats Search Fruitlessly for a Real Issue by The Elephant's Child

It’s the Border Wall. That will fix those Despicable Republicans! Senate Democratic leaders say there’s no plan for construction or getting Mexico to pay for it. Showdown! Shutdown! The Senate Democratic leadership team wrote a letter:

We believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of such funding in a must-pass appropriations bill that is needed for the Republican majority in control of the Congress to avert a government shutdown so early in President Trump’s Administration.
Contractors all over the country are putting in bids to build the wall, and it seems that the wall will pay for itself. Illegal immigrants pose costs on the country. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) has estimated that one illegal immigrant costs state and local governments approximately $75,000 in a lifetime, taking into account taxes paid and the cost of providing benefits such as education and health care. President Trump’s border wall needs only to stop about 10 percent of illegal crossings in order to pay for itself. The wall is estimated to cost around $12 to $15 billion and would soon be offset by the savings to government if fewer illegal immigrants arrive over the next decade.
President Trump is able to begin immediate construction and opening bids for contracts because of a 2006 measure signed by President George W. Bush and supported by 64 Democrats. Two-thirds of the Republican-led House approved the bill including 64 Democrats, and 80 of 100 senators approved the bill in the Senate, including Senator Charles Schumer. The bill authorized DHS to construct about 700 miles of fencing or wall along the southern border, and authorized the addition of sensors, lights and cameras to enhance security.

It was to be modeled on the success of the border barriers in the San Diego sector of the U.S. border. The operative word was “secure.” Instead of this two-layer secure fence what has been built consists of flimsy pedestrian fencing or vehicle fencing consisting of posts people can slither through.

The two-tier fence in San Diego runs 14 miles along the border with Tijuana, Mexico. The first layer is a high steel fence, with an inner high anti-climb fence with a no-man’s land in between. It has been amazingly effective. According to a 2005 report by the Congressional Research Service, illegal alien apprehensions in the San Diego sector dropped from 202,000 in 1992 to 9,000 in 2004.

Democrats took back Congress, and in 2008 the White House saw in unrestricted immigration a way to fundamentally transform the demographics of the country and its political landscape. ICE was told not to enforce the law. The unrestricted flow of illegal immigration, drugs and crime soon became too big to ignore. That directive is the source of confusion in the language between Illegal Immigrant, Legal Immigrant, Refugee, Visitors who did not leave when required, and invited H1B workers to replace higher cost American workers. So we have “Sanctuary Cities” who are defying federal law,  and all sorts of confusion about “Amnesty” and “Anchor Babies.”

Enter President Donald Trump who had promised to build a wall. Although there is historically a rise in apprehensions of illegals from January to February, since the administration’s message to ICE and Border Control that they were a law enforcement agency, and Executive Orders to enforce immigration laws—the number of illegal immigrants entering from Mexico has declined by 40 percent  according to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly on Wednesday. It’s trending toward the lowest monthly total in the last five years, Kelly said. Just the simple statement that the laws will be enforced changes the situation dramatically. Someone should mention that to Minority Leader Schumer.



Who Will Pay for the Great Big Wall? by The Elephant's Child

1200px-us-mexico_border_fencePresident Trump’s  Great Big Wall (popular or unpopular according to your politics) is going to be built. Walls work, if imperfectly. They’ve been working for centuries, see the Great Wall of China. Israel’s wall works well in spite of Palestinian tunnels and efforts to breach. You can’t just put up a wall and expect that the simple barrier will solve all problems. But most of the concern in this country is for the cost of  border wall.

Based on fiscal estimates developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) for immigrants by education level, NAS calculates the future fiscal balance immigrants create — taxes paid minus costs. NAS reports fiscal balances as “net present values” which places a lower value on future expenditures than on current expenditures.

Based on the NAS data, illegal border-crossers create an average fiscal burden of approximately $74,422 during their lifetimes, excluding any costs for their U.S. born children. If a border wall stopped between 160,000 and 200,000 illegal crossers—9 to 12 percent of those expected to successfully cross in the next decade—the fiscal savings would equal the $12 to $15 billion cost of the wall.

These are estimates, of course, but the current conversation about Trump’s “Great Big Wall” concern only the cost of a wall, the terrain that is difficult or impossible.

Congress passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006. It’s goal was to help secure America’s borders to decrease illegal entry, drug trafficking and security threats by building 700 miles of physical barriers along the Mexico-U.S. border. On January 23, 2008 the 110th Congress introduced Reinstatement of the Secure Fence act of 2008 which called for Homeland Security to put up 700 additional miles. (Died in Committee)

By April 2009, Homeland Security had built about 613 miles of pedestrian fencing and vehicle barriers (low fence and concrete posts as vehicle barriers) More attempts to reintroduce finish the fence regulations 2010, 2012.  Costs exceeded Border Control’s budget. Never built, and some wouldn’t keep out a jackrabbit.

That’s what I could find. The previous administration had no interest in a border fence, nor in keeping border crossers out.  They were more interested in placing illegal immigrants and refugees in congressional districts where they could influence the vote. And contrary to media insistence, lots of ineligible immigrants voted in the election.

Dozens of Ineligible Aliens Voted in Philadelphia.
Examples in Missouri, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
No, It’s Not a Racist plot.

From AEI: “How to turn off the Latin refugee flood at the source



President Donald Trump Being Presidential by The Elephant's Child

trumpgeneric1It was a very good speech. Donald Trump was at his presidential best, clear, straightforward, positive and offering his hand to his opponents in Congress, inviting them to think first of our country. He began with a tribute to Black History Month and the work that still needs doing for civil rights, and the threats to Jewish Community Centers. He reminded us all that “we may be divided on policies, but we are a nation that stands together in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.” After scanning the state of the country, he turned our attention to a strategic effort to improve the lives of all Americans. And the heartfelt applause! Be a bit difficult to keep up with the silly ‘Nazi’ bit after this.

If you were watching, perhaps you noticed that many Democrat women were wearing white. After all the talk of how they would disrupt the speech, find nasty ways to protest, walk out, or just do something to acknowledge their fury, members of the House Democratic Women’s Working Group decided they would channel the suffragette movement when they wore white to President Trump’s joint address to Congress. I didn’t even notice them until near the end of the speech.

In a statement, Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., said they will be wearing white to “unite against any attempts by the Trump administration to roll back the incredible progress women have made in the last century.”

Frankel chairs the Democratic Women’s Working Group, which said their commitment to women’s rights includes affordable healthcare and Planned Parenthood, equal pay, paid sick and family leave, affordable child care, secure retirement and “lives free from fear and violence.”

I’m not sure in what alternate universe this bunch of women assume that the Trump administration is trying to deprive them of their progress. The women of the House don’t have ObamaCare for their health insurance, so they really don’t know how expensive it is, nor why it is such a failure.  The Federal government has no business either supporting or attacking Planned Parenthood. The right to an abortion has been guaranteed by the Supreme Court, but a large portion of the country opposes abortion, and should not be forced to support it with their taxpayer money. Equal pay has been settled law since 1963, and this blather about 70% of mens pay is and has been totally false. Republicans passed the vote for women’s suffrage in 1920 in spite of Democrats opposition, just like they passed the Civil Rights Act in spite of Democrat opposition. A little late, Democrats are once again attempting to capture credit for something they historically opposed. This gets tiresome.

President Trump’s speech to Congress was truly presidential and a very good speech as well. Democrats were clearly not expecting that, and were totally unprepared for it to be anything even acceptable. In their current unhinged state they were expecting something they could really get their teeth into (so to speak) and were ready to take him on, but gracious, well-meaning, kind,  and celebrating our country and its history—the women in white slunk out of the chamber before anyone could notice, without a sound, utterly defeated.



The Laws of the United States of America Are Going to be Enforced. by The Elephant's Child

john-kelly-testifies-1500-20-jan-2017-ts600John Kelly, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has issued two memoranda directed to the federal agencies that are involved in implementing executive orders or immigration. The memoranda are clearly intended to tell ICE and the Border Patrol and other agencies that the United States laws on immigration are now going to be enforced.

It’s not all going to happen overnight, new resources will be required including the hiring of 10,000 new ICE officers and agents. The memorandum titled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest” makes it explicitly clear that it is the president’s constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. We have a president who takes his oath of office seriously. This should not be news, but in the wake of Barack Obama’s abdication, it is. Kelly’s memoranda reads, in part:

Except as specifically noted above, the Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. In faithfully executing the immigration laws, Department personnel should take enforcement actions in accordance with applicable law. In order to achieve this goal, as noted below, I have directed ICE to hire 10,000 officers and agents expeditiously, subject to available resources, and to take enforcement actions consistent with available resources. However, in order to maximize the benefit to public safety, to stem unlawful migration and to prevent fraud and misrepresentation, Department personnel should prioritize for removal those aliens described by Congress in Sections 212(a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(6)(C), 235(b) and (c), and 237(a)(2) and (4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Victor Davis Hanson points out the complications. Activists portray illegal immigration as a tale of the desperately poor from south of the border seeking a new productive life in the U.S., but the Mexican government keeps taxes low on their elites by exporting their own poor citizens who will send remittances back to Mexico—some $25 billion from Mexican citizens working in America—to support the Mexican economy. Mexico’s approach to immigration enforcement on their own southern border is sterner, and perhaps you remember the U.S. military member who got confused at the border crossing into Mexico, got into the wrong line and ended up in a Mexican prison for his error. And of course the Mexican government is having fits at President Trump’s tweets.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly were in Mexico today to meet with the Mexican government. The current initiative is focused  primarily on those illegal aliens who threaten national security, border security or public safety. But being here illegally is unlawful.

President Obama wanted to use illegal immigrants’ numbers to change the demographics in districts currently unfavorable to Democrats. Which makes the attempts to conflate illegal aliens and illegal immigrants and legal immigrants in the public mind clearer. If most people don’t understand the difference between the popular vote and the electoral college vote, that makes it easier to change the vote by changing the population of a district. Thus, most of those who violated our immigration laws got a pass.

That is coming to a halt. “DHS no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. Any illegal immigrant encountered in the course of normal law -enforcement  operations will be subject to deportation.” In other words, our laws will be enforced. It is only in America that deporting aliens or those who have overstayed their visas is a big deal. In virtually every other country immigration enforcement is an uncontroversial part of national life. Canada deports about 13,000 people annually. Australia deports 10,000 people annually, and they intercept illegal boat migrants by denying them any claim to refugee status by not allowing them to land.

The vast majority of Americans oppose the idea of sanctuary cities. A new Harris poll shows that 89% of voters say local authorities should have to comply with the law by reporting illegal immigrants, and the president has broad public support for cracking down on sanctuary cities. American Hispanic citizens are no more favorable to illegal aliens than the rest of us.

Is it possible that the Democrats are on the wrong track here? It would seem so, but if they have a death wish for their party, who am I to interfere?



Michael Ramirez Captures the Media by The Elephant's Child

trump-promises



Trump Told the Border Patrol: “This is a Law-enforcement Agency.”And they Cheered! by The Elephant's Child

dreamersWhen President Trump met with the Department of Homeland Security staff last Wednesday after he signed two executive orders on immigration enforcement, he told the assembled ICE agents, Border Patrol officers and others “This is a law-enforcement agency.”

The fact that he had to say that – and that the assembled ICE agents, Border Patrol officers, and others heartily applauded – tells you all you need to know about how badly Obama gutted immigration enforcement and torpedoed employee morale.

The two executive orders dealt with border and interior enforcement. They are substantive and far-reaching, a change from the pabulum and generalities we usually get from politicians. Some of the directives will have immediate impact, while others will require congressional action and will take time to bear fruit.

Border. The border enforcement order led off with the wall, naturally, calling for “the immediate construction of a physical wall.” The definitions section allowed for some wiggle room, saying “‘Wall’ shall mean a contiguous, physical wall or other similarly secure, contiguous, and impassable physical barrier.”

The wall gets all of the press’ attention, but it is the other parts of the order that are more important. It directs those who infiltrate the border be dealt with at the border, and not be released- into the country. This ends catch and release. Under Obama’s rules, they were released into the country with a summons to appear in court, mostly years into the future. Not surprising that few managed to show up. More detention facilities will be built, with asylum officers and immigration judges on site.

Obama’s people used the law governing the treatment of unaccompanied children who have been trafficked into the U.S. (William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Authorization Act of 2008) to permanently settle thousands of Central American  minors who were neither unaccompanied , trafficked and often not even minors. The law was meant to protect kids from being kidnapped or tricked into the sex trade, by white slavers. Obama extended its protections to young people coming voluntarily, accompanied by smugglers paid by illegal alien parents in the U.S.

It includes a directive to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities.  Local authorities are authorized to start deportation paperwork, and immigration violators will be identified when they are booked by local police officers. There will be  cutoff of visas for those countries that refuse to take back their own citizens that we are deporting. There will be regular reporting of the immigration status of prison inmates and jails, and reporting of crimes committed by non-citizens—including those released by sanctuary cities.

As Bill Whittle said, think of this as a new CEO telling a stockholder meeting — this is what’s going to happen—after a hostile takeover. There are going to be some changes made.



Donald Trump’s Generals: The Most Renowned Wartime Commanders of Their Generation by The Elephant's Child

A blog called “Breaking Defense” has written well on Trump’s Generals. The Left, constantly looking for something horrible in Trump’s plans, finds the naming of so many retired military men to top positions will possibly undermine the principal of civilian control—as if Constitutional niceties are of enormous concern to the  Left—who have been ignoring that ancient document at their convenience for the last eight years. I’m getting really tired of the Left and their antics.

Donald Trump’s decision to lean heavily on generals in building his national security team has been received with sighs of relief by many foreign policy and national security experts. By the nature of their profession, senior military leaders tend to be pragmatic internationalists who know how to run large organizations. They understand from experience how the world works. They are generally disciplined and well-read. Having come of age on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, these generals are also intimately familiar with the horrors of war, and the second- and third-order consequences of firing the first shot. …

Indeed, the generals likely to form the top ranks of a Trump administration are among the most renowned wartime commanders of their generation. As the presumptive Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Corps General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis will have as his chief military adviser Marine Corps General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Dunford, appointed by Obama as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both flag officers earned their nicknames the old fashioned way during multiple combat tours. They are also close to retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, another combat veteran and the former commander of US Southern Command, who will reportedly serve as Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security. According to a knowledgeable source, it was Mattis who took upon himself the heartbreaking task of telling John Kelly that his son, 1st Lieutenant Robert Michael Kelly, had been killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

Trump’s Generals, Part 2: Jim Mattis vs. Iran

Trump’s Generals, Part 3: Mike Flynn vs. Al Qaeda

Trump’s Generals, Part4: John Kelly vs. The Narco-Terrorists

Like many Republicans, when President Elect Trump announced his first nominees for cabinet positions, I was reassured that Mr. Trump knew what he was doing and was getting excellent advice. After 8 years of an administration that assured us that they were completely in control of foreign policy, but could not manage to call the enemy by name or even admit that it was an enemy (junior varsity?) I was delighted. It’s a pretty impressive national security lineup. Get acquainted.




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