April 20th, 2021


Mr. President, Put Up that Wall

Bob Tyrrell

By Bob Tyrrell

Published Jan. 11, 2018

Mr. President, Put Up that Wall
Of all the Judeo-Christian virtues, the one that utterly baffles me is humility. I mean, what is in it for me? In observing our 45th president the past year or so, I believe he, too, shares my skepticism of humility. Charity? Sure. Kindness? But of course. But humility ? I cannot see any benefit for me in practicing humility, and I am pretty sure Donald Trump thinks similarly. In fact, I dare say he has never even tried practicing humility. I certainly have not. Nor have I tried Chinese cuisine, which, by the way, has no known dessert.

Over the past few days, I have watched our president respond to calumnies directed at him by a past employee who, while in the White House, dressed like a garbage man, and a glabrous hoaxer who has already admitted that his rude book about the Trump administration abounds with falsehoods. Yet he published it anyway.

The president remains unruffled. Angry, yes. But calm. In fact, over the weekend, he tweeted, "Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart," whereupon he once again poked fun at "Crooked Hillary." I wonder how she responded. Possibly, she threw a lamp at Bill.

The president has every reason to be rather high on himself. He is a self-made businessman, a billionaire. He has been successful on television, and the first time he ran for high office he won the highest office in the land.

In his first year in office, he has created a vibrant economy, made extensive appointments to the federal judiciary (in fact, he has made more appeals court appointments in one year than any president has since the appeals court was established in 1891), deregulated on a vast scale, got his tax reform through with the elimination of the Obama-era individual mandate and, now, starting on immigration reform and the building of his promised wall. What is there to be humble about?

He amassed some of his wealth as a builder. Actually, I believe he is the only American president who made a fortune as a builder. George Washington may have built a shack or two on his estates, for he was pretty much a self-made man, too, but I expect Donald even transcended George as a builder. Now, the 45th president wants to make good on his promise to build a wall across our southern border to keep out the jihadis, the drug gangs and the illegal aliens — all promising members of the Democratic coalition. Why would anyone gainsay him? Law enforcement can surveil some immigrants, but keeping an eye on all of them is out of the question.

His wall is a part of his overall immigration policy, which is intended to fix our broken immigration system. Before President Trump entered the White House, illegal immigrants were overwhelming our southern border. Now, even without a wall, the number of illegals has declined. They know that Trump keeps his promises. Already he is demanding alterations in immigration policy to end chain migration, by which legal immigrants can bring in members of their extended family, often dozens of family members, many of whom have fictitious connections to them.

Then, too, he wants to end extending immigration to foreigners based on their winning a visa lottery pick that allows unskilled or low-skilled people into the country. It is part of a "diversity" program that is open to people who come from countries with historically low immigration rates to the United States. Presumably, their claim to a green card is that so few people from their country have ever wanted to live here. What kind of recommendation for citizenship is that?

Candidate Trump argued that a country that cannot control its borders has very little claim to being a country. He might also argue that a country that does not demand anything else from would-be immigrants other than the luck of the draw or a "diverse" background is not much of a country either. In the 21st century, with terrorism arising all around the world and many terrorists aiming their invidious weapons at the United States, I think it is time to bring our immigration standards up to date. Immigrants ought to demonstrate a love of America before they arrive here. Let them demonstrate some knowledge of the land they might be adopting.

Last week, President Trump spoke of the wall build costing $18 billion. He also spoke of reviving the confusing immigration laws. Go to it, Mr. President, and by the way, develop a dress code for the White House. Be wary of shabbily dressed counselors.

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R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator, a political and cultural monthly, which has been published since 1967. He's also the author of several books.