April 18, 2019
There isn't much that compares to combat. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) ought to know. Before he was a congressman, Duncan was a Marine, doing two dangerous tours in Iraq. Now, 14 years since those bloody battles for Fallujah, he's in a different warzone -- this time on the Arizona border. And nothing in this country, he says, has ever reminded him "more of Afghanistan."
While Democrats shrug their shoulders at the immigration crisis -- or worse, fight the administration in court for trying to fix it -- Republicans like Duncan Hunter are pleading with the country to start taking this disaster seriously. Wednesday afternoon, on the ground in Yuma, the California congressman couldn't believe what a combat zone the area had become. "It is so bad here," he told our listeners on "Washington Watch," that "the border patrol has forward operating bases like we had in theatre in Iraq and Afghanistan." Looking down at the scene from a DEA helicopter, Hunter and seven other congressmen saw the operating bases where agents are stationed for weeks-long rotations.
"It is almost a short-term military tour for them -- that's how bad it is here. And even me being so close to here, I didn't really grasp just how big of an area with no border wall, so there is no way to funnel the illegal immigrants and the criminals. It's just a wide-open space with no fence at all in some places, a three-foot high barricade in other places -- but no real fencing like we have in San Diego. It is a spectacular failure of a way to secure a border."
Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls agrees. Wednesday, in a desperate plea for help, the Republican became the first local official to declare a state of emergency because of the flood of illegal immigrants overwhelming the area. With shelters bursting and hundreds of illegals arrested every day, Nicholls is warning of mobs of people "roaming the streets looking to satisfy basic human needs," clashing with citizens looking to protect their own property. "There is an imminent threat on having too many migrant releases into our community," he said. It's a "catastrophic situation," Nicholls warned.
And every day, locals say, it's getting worse. After jumping the low fences, some migrants are just showing up on people's doorsteps asking for food and water. "In the past several months, it's getting to be more and more," one homeowner told reporters. "It's pretty much like a sieve right here because all we have are vehicle barriers, and the river is very shallow right here. You can just wade across." Her husband guesses that "50 to 500" migrants cross the area a day. And while some of them are just desperate people, there's no mistaking the danger other smugglers pose. At his DEA briefing, Hunter posed in front of piles of confiscated cocaine, heroine, and fentanyl.
The only answer, Hunter insists, is stopping people at the border. "This is a Mexico problem," he argued. "They're the ones allowing the people to transit throughout their nation into the United States. They're helping them, they're providing them food and water, legal advice, and maps..." Once they cross into the U.S., they become everyone's problem. As Mayor Nicholls pointed out, his city -- and so many others -- just don't have the money to respond. Even with area nonprofits and ministries pitching in, it's just "above our capacity as a community to sustain," he said at his press conference.
Of course, the situation only gets worse when you consider that 98 percent of the illegals border patrol caught in 2017 are still in America today, benefiting from government resources. "As you know there are plenty of people in our country who are hurting and who need help," Duncan pointed out. "You shouldn't be giving American taxpayer dollars to illegal immigrants that break the law by coming here in the first place."
With things completely unraveling at the border, you'd think congressional Democrats would at least come to the table and negotiate. Unfortunately, Hunter said, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) is driven by one thing and one thing only: politics. Her only priority is coddling her "San Francisco crazy base that wants open borders" and doing everything for the "[Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortezes, for the [Ilhan] Omars, for the open border crowds that don't believe that you should have to do anything to become an American citizen. I think it's all politics and they don't care about reality."
Well, Democrats had better start caring -- or the problem won't be migrants showing up on their doorstep demanding supplies. It'll be voters demanding stronger leaders.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.