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Opinion | Schumer and Pelosi are hypocritical in fight for border wall

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Opinion | Schumer and Pelosi are hypocritical in fight for border wall

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to the press on the South Lawn as he returns to the White House on Monday in Washington, D.C.

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to the press on the South Lawn as he returns to the White House on Monday in Washington, D.C.

Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to the press on the South Lawn as he returns to the White House on Monday in Washington, D.C.

Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS

Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to the press on the South Lawn as he returns to the White House on Monday in Washington, D.C.

By Hayden Timmins, Staff Columnist

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Amid the longest government shutdown in American history, President Donald Trump spoke to the nation about border security during his first Oval Office address Jan. 8. Appealing to the hearts of Americans, he called the situation at the southern border “a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.”

“In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes and 4,000 violent killings,” Trump said. “Some have suggested that a barrier is immoral. Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences and gates around their homes? They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside.”

But immediately after the president finished his address, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attempted to rebut his argument for a wall, first arguing the shutdown was immoral and then arguing against the wall itself. Schumer and Pelosi’s arguments against funding the wall are both hypocritical and unfounded.

“And the fact is, President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis and must reopen the government,” Pelosi said.

Trump is, in fact, not holding federal workers hostage, and this language is the exact “fear-mongering” Pelosi has accused Trump of using. Not only can these government workers apply for an emergency loan, but they will be likely be compensated with back pay once a spending bill is passed.

“The president is rejecting these bipartisan bills, which would reopen government over his obsession with forcing American taxpayers to waste billions of dollars on an expensive and ineffective wall,” Pelosi said.

But Schumer and Pelosi seem more comfortable with spending taxpayers’ dollars on useless projects rather than giving Trump 0.14 percent of the yearly budget to help prevent the illegal entry and re-entry of criminals and suspected terrorists.

For example, the federal government, which will spend upwards of $4 trillion this year, has spent more than $3 billion on rebuilding sandy beaches that wash away within years and spends $1.7 billion annually on maintaining empty buildings.

Schumer and Pelosi’s argument that the wall costs too much is extremely hypocritical because they have done next to nothing to curb some of the needless and exorbitant spending done by the government every year. Their attempt now to prevent excess spending heavily suggests this is only a partisan issue and not a moral or monetary issue as they claim.

The biggest difference between the two opposing sides is the fact that Trump said he was willing to compromise on the wall, while Pelosi and Schumer insist on not allocating any money for a wall.

After coming back from her trip in Hawaii, Pelosi jokingly said she would only give a single dollar to the wall. Previously, a bill was proposed that allocated $1.3 billion for border security, with the caveat that none of it could be used to build a wall. Not allowing any money for additional barriers continues to leave 1,350 miles of land open to illegal immigrants with criminal records.

During her speech Tuesday, Pelosi said she would work with Trump to allocate money for a wall if he approved a bill to temporarily fund the government. But on Wednesday, Pelosi said during a meeting that even if the government was refunded, she would not allow money to be spent on a wall.

“I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!” Trump said in a tweet. Schumer has since confirmed this in an interview.

After Pelosi spoke, Schumer made his case against a border wall. But Schumer seems to forget that in 2009, he praised the building of 630 miles of fencing across the border, saying it made the border “far more secure” and “created a significant barrier to illegal immigration.” Yet during his speech Tuesday, he claimed the border wall would be useless, calling it “expensive” and “ineffective.”

Around 1,500 people cross the border unvetted every single day. While attempts to secure the border without a barrier have helped the situation, they have not come close to preventing illegal immigration entirely.

Even Mark Morgan, the former chief of border patrol under the Obama administration, spoke out against Schumer’s claim, saying walls “absolutely work.”

“I cannot think of a legitimate argument why anyone would not support the wall as part of a multi-layered border security issue,” Morgan said.

“I’m begging the president to stay the course,” he said in a later interview.

Trump finished his pitch with an appeal to morality by promising to protect the American citizens.

“This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice,” Trump said. “This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve. When I took the oath of office, I swore to protect our country. And that is what I will always do, so help me God.”

Our government has a responsibility to protect its people and right now, it is failing to uphold that responsibility by allowing vast swaths of the southern border to remain completely open.

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Opinion | Schumer and Pelosi are hypocritical in fight for border wall