From the Right



Trump's SOTU speech showed he flunked immigration

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

SAN DIEGO -- President Trump is perfectly suited to be driving this chapter of the immigration debate. That's because he very ably represents the millions of Americans who love most talking about a subject they don't understand in the least.

Knowledge, experience and common sense are overrated. Anger, fear and racism work just as well.

Trump proved that again during the State of the Union address, much of which he devoted to his hackneyed scare tactics about how immigrants are supposedly invading the United States through the U.S.-Mexico border.

For the Carnival Barker of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., all those years spent hocking everything from apartments to steaks to vodka taught him two things: First, give people what they want. And second, if you can't do that, try to convince them that what they really want is what you have to give.

What Trump's supporters want is blistering talk on border security, threats to crack down on illegal immigrants and reassurances that the much ballyhooed "big beautiful wall" on the U.S.-Mexico border will one day materialize.

Don't hold your breath. Whatever structure finally emerges from all the horse-trading will be neither big nor beautiful.


In a political bait and switch, Trump's supporters were promised an imposing structure made of concrete, something scary enough to deter the desperate people of Mexico and Central America from traveling north.

Now those plans have been scaled back. The best we can hope for is a mixture of steel slats combined with a "virtual wall" of electronic sensors.

That's fine with Democrats, who supported physical barriers on the border long before they opposed them. The parties are actually much closer to each other than you might think from all the heated rhetoric. Democrats have signaled they'll support a wall as long as they can call it a fence. Meanwhile, Republicans will support a glorified fence if they can describe it as a wall.

Call it what you like, just don't call it a silver bullet that solves our border-enforcement woes. The only way to stop illegal immigrants is for Americans to do something they don't want to do -- stop hiring illegal immigrants.


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