National View: Budget impasse -- our last best hope for a border wall
For American patriots who wish to see their government enforce its laws, a budget impasse this month may represent the last best opportunity to fund President Donald Trump's border wall before the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in January. Otherwise, any chance of securing the border may be doomed for the next two years.
Despite the extremist rhetoric from Democrats and the mainstream media, Americans overwhelmingly support a secure border — and a government shutdown may be the only way to deliver for them and fund the wall.
A shutdown next month is necessary for two main reasons.
First, Democrats have made it clear they won't seriously consider any bipartisan deal on immigration, leaving our country exposed to the dangers that result from a dysfunctional system that does little to prevent violent criminals from roaming free on American soil.
According to the Pew Research Center, immigrants with past criminal convictions "accounted for 74 (percent) of all arrests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in fiscal 2017." Other region-specific studies have confirmed that illegal aliens are on average far more likely to be convicted of crimes than are American citizens.
The liberal version of immigration "compromise," however, is nothing of the sort; Democrats appear to be 100 percent committed to a radical open-borders agenda that includes amnesty even for illegals who blatantly violate our laws and commit violent crimes.
Second, the looming government shutdown provides Republicans an opportunity to negotiate from a position of strength and to use their expiring power in the House to secure funding for the border wall.
President Trump and GOP leaders in Congress have a chance to put the ball in the Democrats' court. They must insist that any funding deal includes complete funding for the wall.
For years, Democrats have outmaneuvered the GOP on immigration, slandering our brave immigration-enforcement officials, whitewashing the dangers of unfettered illegal immigration, and attacking anyone who supports border security as racist.
If Republicans want to win on this issue, they must be willing to do what it takes to get their opposition to budge; and right now, their only real leverage comes from the impending budget impasse.
The Democrat talking points on the government shutdown, like their canned lines about immigration, are predictably deceptive. In the coming weeks, the talking heads on the country's top liberal news networks will try to convince you a shutdown will have catastrophic consequences for America. Don't buy the fearmongering.
The truth is, a "government shutdown" only affects about 17 percent of the entire federal government. Members of the armed forces will still get paid, and the House already unanimously passed a bill to guarantee that all furloughed workers will receive back pay and benefits as soon as any potential shutdown is resolved. A budget impasse really only impacts so-called "non-essential" personnel by suspending their pay until the government reopens. This is hardly a catastrophe that threatens the stability of our republic.
Rather than running from imaginary disasters concocted by liberal ideologues, Republicans need to stand their ground on securing America's borders, even if it requires temporarily suspending a few non-essential government programs.
Whenever Donald Trump has warned the American people of the dangers posed by illegal immigration, his critics have scoffed that he was exaggerating the extent of the problem. Now, though, we've seen a massive caravan of would-be illegal immigrants topple police barricades and attack law-enforcement officers while demanding entry into our country. Trump was right all along: America is facing an invasion, and we desperately need a wall.
The American people sent Republicans to Congress to help President Trump fix our immigration system. This is the last chance they have to fulfil that promise and to back up the president's commitment to build the wall.
Michele Bachmann of Stillwater, Minn., is a former congresswoman. She represented Minnesota's 6th Congressional District from 2007 to 2015. She wrote this exclusively for the News Tribune.