Multiple news outlets are reporting on plans for the President to visit San Diego for a look at border wall prototypes sometime after his January 30th State of the Union address. A visit planned for this week was canceled after an opportunity arose to attend the Georgia – Alabama college championship game in Atlanta.
In recent days the administration has taken a noticeably harder line on the border, using a request for $18 billion in funding for the wall as a precondition to any agreement on Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era program ended by Trump offering protections to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as youth.
Speaking from Camp David last weekend, Trump told reporters, “We want the wall. The wall’s going to happen or we’re not going to have DACA.”
From Common Dreams:
His comments from the Maryland retreat come hours after a group of senators received a document detailing the administration’s border security plan, which includes asking Congress for almost $18 billion to construct border fencing, despite Trump saying Saturday, “Mexico will pay, in some form” for the wall.
According to the Wall Street Journal, that $18 billion is just part of $33 billion in overall border security measures, which include drones and more agents.
As Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a statement—and other advocacy groups noted as well—the plan mirrors one the White House released in October. At the time, that list said to be the work of White House policy adviser Stephen Miller, was denounced as “red meat for xenophobic extremists.”
The president is hoping to deliver funding for a border wall before the 2018 mid-term congressional elections. Trump’s most likely path to getting the necessary funding for his border wall likely comes from a potential bi-partisan deal to save the DACA program tied to a January 19 deadline for a spending reauthorization bill.
From National Public Radio:
But Democrats are threatening to block any spending bill that includes funding for a wall — even if that means shutting down the government. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said Friday that Democrats would not accept the latest offer from Republicans because it included $18 billion to build a wall. “President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall,” Durbin said. “With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction.”
Alabama Democrat Doug Jones was sworn in last week, which leaves Republicans with just 51 votes in the Senate. GOP leaders will need votes from at least nine Senate Democrats to pass any spending or immigration legislation. To do that, negotiators will have to balance Democrats’ calls for citizenship for all people protected under DACA against Trump’s demands for border security and the construction of a border wall.
According to a report in Axios:
A source close to Trump said: “The wall is bigger than a policy proposal — it’s a symbol. Ending chain migration may be more impactful policy, but he understands the power of the wall as a concept and in terms of the way he and his presidency will be perceived and judged.”
Be smart: As the White House looks to this year’s midterms and reelection in 2020, and as more moderate advisers depart, look for President Trump to sound more like Campaign Trump on immigration, trade and other issues.
The question for activists in San Diego is going to be “What are we going to do to protest Trump’s visit?”
The logistics of staging a protest near the construction site for the Border Wall prototypes are daunting. Can there be another way to let the world know how much angst and anger Trump’s tribute to xenophobia is causing?
While we’re waiting on the details it’s time for some creative (and preferably non-suicidal) ideas. Please use the comments section to share yours.
UPDATE: Before you get too many ideas, let me add the area around the prototypes isn’t too welcoming.