Home Cline, Good, Youngkin, Trump don’t actually want to solve their fake ‘border crisis’
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Cline, Good, Youngkin, Trump don’t actually want to solve their fake ‘border crisis’

Chris Graham
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There was progress in the U.S. Senate on an immigration border enforcement deal, until Donald Trump decided that immigration is a good political issue for him to run on.

Which has to make you start thinking, you know, that maybe this “border crisis” that Republicans and their PR enablers in the conservative so-called news media have been playing up isn’t as much an actual crisis as they have been letting on.

“I proudly stand with Glenn Youngkin and Greg Abbott in their fight to address the Biden border crisis. Secure the border and protect American citizens,” Sixth District Republican Ben Cline said in a message that he posted on Twitter on Friday, the latest of dozens of “border crisis” messages that we’ve seen from Cline just in the last couple of months.

And yet Cline is lockstep with House Republican leaders who are blocking legislation that would actually give Immigration and Customs Enforcement more resources to be able to deal with the increasing numbers of people trying to enter the U.S. from the southern border.

We’ll look past, for the purposes of this story, why literally hundreds of thousands of people from Central and South America are risking everything to end up in bureaucratic limbo on the U.S.-Mexico border.

You know, basically, doing what our predecessors did, trying to find opportunity, escape political persecution, for many, a combination of both.

Republicans are making a lot of hay with the border because they’ve found that their xenophobic base eats it up – a recent Fox News poll tells us that GOP voters are three times more likely than independents to cite immigration as the most important issue to them, and seven times more likely than Democratic voters.

This in the face of the fact that Trump, while he was president, did exactly nothing to address border security – he promised to build a wall, didn’t, promised to get Mexico to pay for it, didn’t happen, pledged to use his superior negotiating skills to get immigration reform through Congress, came up with nothing on that.

Now that the Trump-packed Supreme Court has taken abortion off the table, and created headwinds for Republicans in the last two election cycles since Dobbs overturned Roe, immigration might be the last wedge issue Republicans have left.

And like they did for decades with abortion, teasing solutions but not really doing anything, until they did, and set moderates and independents against them for the next generation, Republicans don’t actually want to do anything to deal with immigration, other than pretend to be tough on it.

“We do not have time to waste on a bad secret backroom deal from the Senate that cannot pass the House. We need to pass a bill that would actually secure our border if President Biden enforced it,” another fake hard-liner, Bob Good, the Republican who represents Virginia’s Fifth District in the U.S. House, said last week.

This is the same Bob Good, incidentally, who is now being primaried by an even more pro-Trump challenger because Good dared to endorse failed Republican Party presidential challenger Ron DeSantis.

We also heard from Youngkin, himself a failed former wannabe Republican presidential contender, before he blew the 2023 Virginia General Assembly midterms, who is term-limited as governor, and thus will be done as a politician two years hence.

It almost doesn’t matter what Youngkin has to say, he’s so irrelevant.

“Virginia stands with Texas,” Youngkin said last week. “Greg Abbott is doing the job Joe Biden and his border czar refuse to do to secure our border. The Biden administration has turned every state into a border state. We must stop the flow of fentanyl, save lives, and secure our southern border.”

The likes of Youngkin, Good and Cline are going by the scripts handed to them, but not all Republicans are.

“He’s in a campaign, he’s the presumptive nominee as far as I’m concerned. His opponent will be the current president. And so, he’s probably, I haven’t talked to him, but he’s probably thinking about Joe Biden victories. If Joe Biden suddenly got religion and supported a border deal that actually reduced the flow of illegal immigration, that would be good for him politically,” said North Dakota Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer, speaking to CNN’s Manu Raju over the weekend.

Cramer isn’t the only Republican senator saying the quiet part out loud, about how this border nonsense is pure politics, not an actual crisis.

“We don’t need to continue to perpetuate the crisis at the border,” North Carolina Republican Sen. Tom Tillis said last week. “It’s all about politics and not having the courage to respectfully disagree with President Trump. I didn’t come here to have a president as a boss or a candidate as a boss.”

“The border is a very important issue for Donald Trump. And the fact that he would communicate to Republican senators and Congress people that he doesn’t want us to solve the border problem — because he wants to blame Biden for it — is really appalling,” Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said last week.

“The American people are suffering as a result of what’s happening at the border, and someone running for president ought to try and get the problem solved, as opposed to saying, ‘Hey, save that problem! Don’t solve it! Let me take credit for solving it later,’” Romney said.

We’re nine months from the presidential election, and 51 weeks from the next swearing-in. Whatever we’d get in terms of new legislation wouldn’t come on Jan. 20, Jan. 21 or anytime near.

Even if Trump were to win, and have Republican majorities in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, the same political rules in place now that make it hard for one party to push things through – see: filibuster, U.S. Senate – will be at play next year, and into the future.

And then, even if a second-term President Trump actually wanted to do something on immigration other than talk tough, and that something that he wanted to do was substantive enough to maybe, just maybe work, it would take months to get that legislation passed, and months more before we’d see meaningful results from what would be done.

What I’m saying here is, Trump, playing politics with immigration and border enforcement, is kicking the can a couple of years, at least, down the road.

And yet he pretends, and the likes of Cline, Good and Youngkin pretend, because that’s what Republicans have been doing with immigration for the past 40 years.

They pretend that they want to do something about immigration and border enforcement, when they know that the millionaires and billionaires who fund their campaigns don’t want anything done, because they exploit the cheap labor of the millions of undocumented immigrants account for in our job marketplace to add to their millions and billions.

Meanwhile, there’s a deal sitting out there that may not be perfect, but if the situation is as dire as Trump and his ring-kissers are making it out to be, it’s better than what we have now.

“What’s been negotiated would — if passed into law — be the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had in our country,” President Biden said in a statement. “It would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed. And if given that authority, I would use it the day I sign the bill into law.”

Therein lies the political problem; Biden would actually do something to address the problem that Republicans say is a crisis.

They don’t want that.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].