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January 25, 2019
CAVED-IN: With the SOTU on the line, his poll numbers dropping, Trump took to the Rose Garden this afternoon to announce that a deal has been reached to re-open the government until February 15. He then immediately alluded to the possibility of declaring a national emergency ("a very powerful alternative" that he wasn't ready to use "at this time"). He called federal workers, and all Americans, very special. Trump asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put the proposal to a vote immediately. Good news, but given that Trump then went on for several minutes about the "wall" and women with duct tape on their mouths and "see-through technology," it looks like we'll find ourselves right back where we started. (Indeed, if this were a drinking game, we'd all be wasted - coyotes, human traffickers, MS13, smugglers, "you see what's happening," etc.)
He ended the speech with an ultimatum: either he gets his wall funding by February 15 or the he will shutdown the government again or declare a national emergency, he still hasn't decided. (All of this was an effort to make the announcement sound like he had somehow won, when in reality all he did was TOTALLY CAVE.)
- He noted that the backlog in immigration courts is much greater than it was, but failed to note that this was due to his shutdown.
- He called immigration a "health crisis" because immigrants "are very, very sick."
- He said we have "the lowest employment and the best employment."
- "The farms."
Yesterday, Trump suggested he might be ready to negotiate if Democrats were willing to include “some sort of pro-rated down payment” on the wall (whatever that means). The two bills expected to fail in yesterday’s Senate vote did just that. But, to the surprise of many, the clean stopgap bill that would open the government until Feb. 8 received more votes than the “build that wall” bill. Six Republicans crossed party lines to vote for the former, while only one Democrat voted for the latter. This undoubtedly influenced the president's decision to COMPLETELY CAVE.
Federal employees missed two paychecks, the federal courts were running out of money, and people were at risk of not receiving benefits like WIC. The FBI said that the shutdown was making it impossible for them to do day to day law enforcement work (hmm… could that be the real motivation for the shutdown?...). The effects of the shutdown were expanding, with heavy delays and even ground stops at airports due to staffing problems at two FAA air-traffic control facilities. Tensions were running high, as evinced by a post-vote exchange in which Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson snapped at McConnell, “this is your fault.”
Watch: Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) tears into Sen. “Ted” Cruz (R-TX) on the Senate floor over his universally unbearable personality support for the border wall.
What happens next? Rumors are circulating that the White House might form a “supercommission” to study border security/border wall. But, as he confirmed in today's announcement, Trump is also re-considering declaring a national emergency to distract from the indictment of Roger Stone, who has Richard Nixon's face tattooed on his back and that totally a true fact get money for the wall. The White House has prepared a draft executive order. According to CNN:
"The massive amount of aliens who unlawfully enter the United States each day is a direct threat to the safety and security of our nation and constitutes a national emergency," a draft of a presidential proclamation reads.
"Now, therefore, I, Donald J. Trump, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C 1601, et seq.), hereby declare that a national emergency exists at the southern border of the United States," the draft adds.
Earlier today, Trump managed to incorporate all three of his favorite topics (witch hunts, coyotes, and CNN) into a single tweet:
Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION! Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better. Who alerted CNN to be there?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2019
[Note: he probably meant to say "biggest witch hunt," though that is also not true.]
The Texas Tribune asked all Texas federal lawmakers if they think the wall was worth the shutdown. Answers fell along party lines with one exception: Republican Rep. Will Hurd, who represents the district that stretches from San Antonio to the El Paso border region, said “No.”
DHS will begin the new Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) today, returning asylum seekers to Tijuana, Mexico where they must stay until their asylum requests have been processed.
From The Hill: "Migrant children illegally held in unlicensed facilities, attorney says"