America's Voice En Español »
As Donald Trump heads to the border for a taxpayer funded, mendacious campaign stop to demonize immigrants, we’re reminded of the tangible consequences of his failures, inadequacy, and insanity.
According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice: “Welcome to the 2020 election cycle: a fear mongering, xenophobic tour of America’s borderlands, while Trump simultaneously jawbones Mexico; threatens a trade war; and expands his war on immigrants and people of color. Trump’s eagerness to manipulate people’s fears is bad for business, bad for lives, and bad for America, but that isn’t stopping Trump from returning to the scene of his epic policy failure to declare ‘Mission Accomplished’”
Below, we excerpt a few pieces outlining the ramifications of Trump’s failed policies and flip-flops.
Add “residents of border communities” to the list of people whose lives Trump is using as leverage.
…At first, Trump was attempting to pitch a border closure as an affirmatively good thing for the US, saying it would benefit the American economy because of the trade deficit (which is economically illiterate).
He later stopped doing that — acknowledging what have reportedly been repeated briefings from top White House economic staff explaining to him that it would be a very bad idea for American businesses as well as Mexican ones.
Instead, he’s now explicitly calling it a bargaining chip.
…The uncertainty itself matters. Mexican growers and the US businesses that import their produce will be forced, for the next year, to think about whether they should plan for a border closure in spring of 2020, or whether they should go on with business as usual and risk catastrophic losses if the border is closed. People who live in Mexico but work in the US will spend a year wondering if they’ll be able to get to work come next April — just like the DACA and TPS recipients who wonder if they’re going to be able to keep their jobs, or whether they’ll have to be fired once they lose their permission to work legally in the US.
Trump thinks of threats as leverage. But they’re only leverage because they cause pain.
The administration has never had a viable plan. The Trumpists rode to the border eager to round up young men sneaking across. Instead, they encountered Central American families requesting asylum in record numbers. The administration restricted the number of people who can apply for asylum at ports of entry, forcing many back to wait in Mexico, and sought other ways to blunt the incoming flow while detaining those who crossed in harsh conditions.
…It’s hard to say that Trump’s wanton cruelty is overemphasized. His administration has, by any reasonable definition, committed human-rights crimes by deliberately separating infants and young children from their parents, producing “toxic stress” that pediatricians compare to torture.
But in marveling at Trump’s cruelty, it’s easy to overlook his gross incompetence. The border is his signature issue, and yet even on this, his defining policy, he has no clue how to develop a realistic plan, enlist stakeholders, work with allies, measure results. He rages. He flails. He threatens. He retreats. Then he repeats the hapless cycle.
Some seem convinced that Trump is deliberately creating a crisis so he has something other than charges about his own gobsmacking corruption to talk about in 2020. There’s no doubt he will produce ample distractions.
But if the border crisis is a product of careful planning, where is the evidence of similar competence in this White House? Where is his wall? His North Korea breakthrough? Stupidity, ignorance, laziness, lies, corruption, incompetence — these are the usual suspects. If you’re looking to explain the inexplicable, you’ll likely find the answer there.
For Eagle Pass, just the threat of closure is frightening, as cutting off access to Mexico would be akin to dropping a bomb on its economy. Thousands of jobs, billions of dollars and nearly half of the city’s budget depend on fast-flowing goods and services across the twin international bridges that span the Rio Grande here.
A closure would resonate in other border cities from California to Texas, but it also would ripple through cities across the United States, where businesses and consumers rely on crucial Mexican imports, including car parts and salad ingredients.
Here on the Texas border, dozens of American children who live in Piedras Negras line up each morning to cross so they can attend school in Eagle Pass. Other residents travel to Mexico to care for elderly parents who enjoy more affordable medical and dental care and home health aides. Dozens visit the mall in Eagle Pass or the barbershops in Piedras Negras, where a haircut and a straight-razor shave are a fraction of the price.
“If we don’t have the operation of our bridges, this city will not function, at all,” Eagle Pass Mayor Ramsey English Cantu said. “Without the bridges, our city is paralyzed.”
Mexico did $611 billion in trade with the United States last year, and approximately $22 billion in merchandise arrived through the port of entry in this city about two hours southwest of San Antonio: crates of asparagus, avocados, computer parts, motor-vehicle engines and huge quantities of Mexican-label beer. If you drink Corona, the mayor said, it probably came through Eagle Pass.