With the prospect of the “mother of all caravans” making its way to the United States, President Donald Trump threatened to close the U.S.-Mexican border altogether if Mexico doesn’t take steps to halt it.
"We have right now two big caravans coming up from Guatemala, massive caravans, walking right through Mexico," the president said. "So Mexico is tough, they can stop them. And if they don't stop them, we're closing the border."
Last week a caravan, reportedly comprised of more than 20,000 Central Americans, was making its way toward what even Obama DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson described as “truly a crisis” situation at the U.S. southern border.
Democratic lawmakers, led by House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reacted much as one would expect.
“@realDonaldTrump’s failed policies have created senseless heartbreak and horror at the border – and dishonoring our values by hurting traumatized children & tearing apart vulnerable families does nothing to solve the situation he has caused,” she tweeted.
Even CBS News jumped in, displaying its bias with apparent praise. But instead of giving the president accolades for trying to relieve the border crisis, the network appeared to compliment the human traffickers guiding the migrants on their trek north.
“The human coyotes helping migrants survive Central America's grueling Darien Gap jungle,” CBS News tweeted.
What Trump’s contemplating isn’t unprecedented — the southern border has been locked down at least three times upon a presidential signature, and under what were arguably far less desperate circumstances.
Shortly after being sworn into office following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson closed the U.S.-Mexican border on his own authority and halted all traffic coming in or going out.
JFK was assassinated in a southern border state, and because it happened in Texas, that made it personal for Texas native Johnson.
The border was locked up tight until Kennedy’s assassin was caught.
Six years later, when then-President Richard M. Nixon believed Mexican authorities were doing little or nothing to curb marijuana trafficking, he ordered “Operation Intercept.”
Although he didn’t totally close the border, he brought northbound traffic down to a crawl as each vehicle, driver, and passenger was thoroughly searched.
Possibly in an effort to paint Trump as another Nixon, The Washington Post’s Emily Tamkin equated the president’s threat to close the border to Nixon’s 1969 action, calling each an act of “political symbolism.”
The Boston Globe reported in 2016, however, that “by early 1970, Operation Intercept had morphed into the fuzzier Operation Cooperation, and the Mexican government was no longer turning a deaf ear to Nixon’s demands.”
Ultimately, that’s all Trump is after — cooperation from Mexico.
President Ronald Reagan launched Operation Camarena in early 1985 in response to the abduction of Mexican-born DEA undercover agent Enrique Camarena by a Mexican drug cartel.
Like Nixon, Reagan didn’t completely close the ports of entry — but he brought traffic coming in down to a trickle. Also like Nixon, as Time reported, Reagan wanted Mexico “to step up its hunt for the missing agent.”
Closing the border wouldn’t actually stop illegal immigration. Migrants would still be free to enter illegally anywhere along the nearly 2,000-mile southern border. It would only stop immigration at official ports of entry.
But closing the border would bring legitimate trade to a halt, which would be felt more by Mexico than it would the United States. And like Nixon and Reagan before him, that loss in trade may be just what’s needed to get Mexico’s attention.
Mexico has the advantage of its stiffer immigration laws, and it can and should use those very laws to turn the caravans back south and protect its northern neighbor.
It’s time to close the border. The American people have had enough.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports - Click Here.
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