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Friday, May 30, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

The reconquista (last seen in Texas) has moved all the way up to the Pacific northwest (via the Seattle Times): “Marineros” jerseys part of Mariners’ salute to Latin American players

The Mariners have celebrated Latinos in baseball annually in recent years. In 2024, they will do so as Los Marineros.

Players will don the same white home uniforms Saturday afternoon against the Detroit Tigers at Safeco Field, with one distinguishable difference — the front of their jerseys will say “Marineros,” the Spanish translation of the team name.

It will be the first time the team has done so, and is the most prominent gesture of all of the team’s previous yearly salutes to Latin American “beisbol.”

(Thanks all that is Good and Right that he wasn’t wearing a scarf!)

It gets worse!

Traditional Latin music and dance and small ceremonies have marked the occasion in years past. So have stadium public-address announcements in Spanish, which will take place again on Saturday. This year, however, there is the wearing of the Spanish-language jerseys, which has also been done by the Milwaukee Brewers (”Cerveceros”) and San Francisco Giants (”Gigantes”). Also, the first 25,000 fans at the game will get a commemorative souvenir: “Marineros” baseball caps.

We’re all doomed.

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Friday, May 23, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

This morning I noted and e-mail from John Hawkins pointing to a post entiteld: Why I Will No Longer Support John McCain For President.

The reason? McCain’s position on immigration, and specifically Hawkins’ view that McCain promised one thing, and then changed his mind (i.e., that McCain had supposedly recanted on his position of comprehensive immigration reform in lieu of a “security first” approach). This allegedly flip-flop led Hawkins to write (amongst other things):

Put very simply: John McCain is a liar. He’s a man without honor, without integrity, who could not have captured the Republican nomination had he run on making comprehensive immigration a top priority of his administration. Quite frankly, this is little different from George Bush, Sr. breaking his “Read my lips, no new taxes pledge,” except that Bush’s father was at least smart enough to wait until he got elected before letting all of his supporters know that he was lying to them.

Under these circumstances, I simply cannot continue to support a man like John McCain for the presidency. Since that is the case, I have already written the campaign and asked them to take me off of their mailing list and to no longer send me invitations to their teleconferences. I see no point in asking questions to a man who has no compunction about lying through his teeth on one of the most crucial election issues and then changing his position the first time he believes he can get away with it.

Now, a few things immediately come to mind upon reading all of this. The first was that McCain has not changed his position on this issue, but I wasn’t willing to go through the trouble of walking through this fact. However, since James Joyner has already done the work, I can point my readers to his run-down and steal cite his conclusion:

McCain is not feeling his way around on this one. He’s represented a border state in the Senate for 31 years and has been a passionate leader on this issue. Why would anyone think he’d turned 180 degrees in the middle of a presidential run? For that matter, why would they want to trust the leadership of their country to someone who had?

Instead, he took his beating on the issue like a man, announced that he’d learned that he’s not going to get his way without addressing the security issue first, but reiterated that he thinks we need a comprehensive, humanitarian approach to the problem.

Exactly. Indeed, I still think that this view is far more prevalent within Republican ranks than the anti-immigration faction act is the case. Indeed, if it was the issue they think that it is, McCain would never have been nominated and Tom Tancredo would have done a bit better than he did (i.e., the low single digits).

Beyond all of that, I continue to find it remarkable that so many people think that immigration is the most important issue on the table at the moment. Forget the economy, energy or wars and stuff, the most important problem is the ongoing infiltration of gardeners, roofers, fast food workers, nannies and the like across the southern border.

Further, I have to ask people like Hawkins, Malkin and company if they think that they will be closer to their policy goals if Obama is president. I mean if it really is the Paramount Issue of Our DayTM, then surely they will get closer to what they want with a Democratic Congress + McCain than they will with Obama in the White House, yes?

Of course, the real truth of the matter is that regardless of who gets elected, the likelihood of a radical change of the status quo vis-a-vis immigration and the border is unlikely to occur in any significant way, meaning that the issue shouldn’t, logically, be a deciding one for a voter (given all those other issues out there to choose from that might actually be affected by the election). But, then again, most discussions of immigration and border security can’t be considered logic-ridden these days…

If anything, the post is attracting a lot of attention (via Memeorandum): The Daily Dish, The Caucus, The Campaign Spot, Sister Toldjah, Outside The Beltway, American Power, Hot Air, PrestoPundit, Riehl World View, Donklephant, The Strata-Sphere, Jules Crittenden, Political Byline, No More Mister Nice Blog, The Sundries Shack, QandO, The Politico, Stop The ACLU, Macsmind and American Spectator

Update: John Cole rightly takes Hawkins to task on his remembrances of Bush 41.

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Thursday, May 8, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the LAT: Border busts coming and going

U.S. border authorities no longer apprehend illegal immigrants only as they enter the country. Now they’re catching them on the way out.

At random times near the Tijuana-San Diego border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have been setting up checkpoints, boarding buses destined for Mexico and pulling off people who don’t have proper documentation.


“If our officers come upon people who are here illegally . . . regardless of whether they’re leaving the country, we detain them, make a record of the fact they were here illegally and return them to Mexico,” Bond said.

This strikes me as nonsensical from a policy perspective. It is clear that we do not have the resources to stop persons from illegally entering the country, so we are going to divert what limited resources we do have so as stop people who are in the process of leaving so that we can, well, make them leave?

As Greg Weeks notes:

In other words, such individuals are mere minutes from deporting themselves, but the U.S. government wants to spend tons of money to do it instead.

More from the article:

Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center of Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego, said he was not aware of similar crackdowns in the past. The checkpoints make sense for intercepting contraband, but targeting illegal immigrants voluntarily leaving the country is a “bizarre” way of handling the illegal immigration question, he said.

Bizarre, indeed.

Again: as a deployment of scarce resources, this is a clear waste. Further, if part of the overall policy is to get those in the country illegally to leave of their own accord, surely the possibility of being arrested on the way out will dissuade them from trying to go home in the first place, yes? Can we therefore say “counterproductive”?

All I can figure, aside from simple stupidity, is that this a sop to those who say that the government isn’t doing enough in terms of enforcement. Indeed, it is classic politics: if one cannot actually accomplish the main policy goal, do something visible within that overall policy area, even if it doesn’t make much sense. At least people will see that one is doing something.

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Thursday, May 1, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Oh sure, some of us blogging types rant and rave with questions about justice at Guantanamo Bay and the efficacy of current border policy, but what do we know, right?

So, let’s see what people on the ground think.

Hmm, on that Gitmo thing, it would seem that the former chief prosecutor at the Guantanamo Bay facility, one Colonel Morris Davis, testified this week that he believed that politics, not justice, was driving the process (leading to his resignation). See this WaPo piece (From Chief Prosecutor To Critic at Guantanamo) and this interview from Tuesday’s All Things Considered.

And then there’s border control policy. Ends up that (via the Houston Chronicle) the El Paso border chief urges Congress to fix immigration and it isn’t that he wants a bigger, badder wall:

Chief Patrol Agent Victor Manjarrez Jr. said that without comprehensive immigration reform, border agents continue to split their attention between “economic migrants,” criminals and potential terrorists.

“Most of these people are economic migrants but we have to deal with them between the ports of entry because we have not, in terms of a legislative fix, determined what we do with these people,” Manjarrez said.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that the country has a need for economic migrants. To what degree, I don’t know. That’s for the country to decide and for the politicians to decide.”

And here I thought we were doing so well in these areas.

Darn experts.

h/t for the WaPo story on Gitmo: Alex Knapp@OTB and for the border story, Greg Weeks.

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Thursday, April 24, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: $20M ‘fence’ scrapped for not catching enough illegals

The government is scrapping a $20 million prototype of its highly touted “virtual fence” on the Arizona-Mexico border because the system is failing to adequately alert border patrol agents to illegal crossings, officials said.

The move comes just two months after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced his approval of the fence built by the Boeing Co. The fence consists of nine electronic surveillance towers along a 28-mile section of border southwest of Tucson.

Boeing is to replace the so-called Project 28 prototype with a series of towers equipped with communications systems, cameras and radar capability, officials said.

The system wasn’t a total failure, but like practically every other type of border security policy it caught some crossers, but not the majority thereof. Oddly, that describes all border security policies heretofore tried, and will describe all those yet to be invented, one suspects. The engine that drives this behavior is basic supply and demand and the human drive to better one’s life–unless and until a solution is directed at dealing with those underlying motivators, all attempts at solution will fail.

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Sunday, April 20, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via CQ Politcs: Key House Democrats Join Suit Against Use of Waivers for Border Fence

The representatives question the constitutionality of a broad waiver, which Congress authorized under Section 102 of the REAL ID Act in 2024, that issues no further restrictions or points of guidance to the executive when it hands over the power to indefinitely waive federal statutes that could hinder the progress of a border wall.

A first thought: why aren’t the objecting Representatives seeking to have the provisions of the REAL ID Act in question rescinded? Why not not try to exercise legislative power? After all, their party is now in the majority.

Beyond that: regardless of one’s position on the border fence1 , one would like to think that it would be clear that granting an executive entity such broad-sweeping powers is a bad thing. Although, no doubt, if one is pro-border fence and skeptical of environmental regulations2 then one probably doesn’t see much here to complain about.

However, let’s consider a different scenario: let’s say that the next president of the United States comes into office and seeks to fix the mortgage crisis by convincing the Congress to allow the Secretary of the Treasury to waive whichever financial regulations he or she thinks needs to be ignored so as to “fix” the problem? Or, what if to fix the national debt the next President convinces the Congress to allow the IRS to waive whatever rules that it wishes to ignore so as to accelerate income collection and thereby the paying down of debt?

This is a dangerous course to take in terms of governance (i.e., the notion that the legislature should defer to the executive), and yet it is one that the current administration is all too comfortable with–as Bush’s attitude on signing statements makes quite clear.3

If the Congress believes that certain aspect of established statutes stand in the way of policy goals, then the Congress ought to debate those statutes and change them via legislation (if the support for such changes exists) not grant an executive branch official carte blanche to ignore laws at will and even, if Chertoff’s interpretation of the provision is correct, to ignore court orders:

the environmental groups won a restraining order from Huvelle in October 2024 that temporarily stopped border wall construction and instructed DHS to investigate the local environmental impacts of the project.

Chertoff responded by using the waiver authority; in November, he circumvented the restraining order by waiving 19 federal statutes. He followed that up this month by authorizing two waivers — involving some 30 laws — in order to complete construction of the fence and other protective measures in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Forget border fences and environmental regulation and ask oneself: is this really the way we should want our democracy to function?

h/t: Greg Weeks

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  1. And yes, I am opposed to it on numerous grounds, not the least of which being efficacy, but also cost, abuse of the rights of US citizens and a host of others []
  2. A description that does fit a sizable percentage of the GOP, I will grant. []
  3. See here and here []
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Wednesday, April 9, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via Reuters: Absolut vodka pulls ad showing California in Mexico.

While I have no doubt that at the end of the day some US consumers will refuse to buy Absolut vodka as a result of this ad, I find it amusing that ultimately it was a pretty good buy for Absolut, as they certainly got their name out there with a ton of free pub. If anything the whole thing reinforces the association between the words “Absolut” and “vodka” in a way that is almost certainly more positive from a marketing point of view.

What I also found amusing, but not surprising, about the reaction to the ad is the massive insecurity a lot of people must feel about to the US-Mexican border to assume that an ad for vodka could, in any way, be threatening.

The whole thing was absolute nonsense, quite frankly.

Background on the story, along with a picture of the ad, can be found here.

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Thursday, February 21, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

A few months ago I noted that the proposed border fence would create not only property rights problems, but also issues about the de facto border. Now the Texas Observer notes some rather unjust Holes in the Wall.

For example, Eloisa Tamez, aged 72 is going to have the fence go right through her backyard, but there will be no fence down the road at the River Bend Resort and golf course (two miles from Tamez’s home). Another example:

Just 69 miles north, Daniel Garza, 76, faces a similar situation with a neighbor who has political connections that reach the White House. In the small town of Granjeno, population 313, Garza points to a field across the street where a segment of the proposed 18-foot high border wall would abruptly end after passing through his brick home and a small, yellow house he gave his son. “All that land over there is owned by the Hunts,” he says, waving a hand toward the horizon. “The wall doesn’t go there.”

In this area everyone knows the Hunts. Dallas billionaire Ray L. Hunt and his relatives are one of the wealthiest oil and gas dynasties in the world. Hunt, a close friend of President George W. Bush, recently donated $35 million to Southern Methodist University to help build Bush’s presidential library. In 2024, Bush made him a member of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, where Hunt received a security clearance and access to classified intelligence.

Several thoughts emerge:

1. How can those who argue that we must have a fence to “secure” the borders and to “keep us safe” support a fence that has massive holes in it? Setting aside all of the other very serious issues that pertain to the fence, it is amazing that advocates of this allegedly major policy need of our time find this to be acceptable.

Along those lines

On August 10, 2024, Chertoff announced his agency would scale back the initial 700 miles of fencing to 370 miles, to be built in segments across the southern border. Chertoff cited budget shortages and technological difficulties as justifications for not complying with the bill.

2. How can “conservatives” (and I use the scare quotes most deliberately) who supposedly believe in small government, family values and the virtue of the individual stand by and accept the blatant confiscation of private homes and private lands. It is an obscene element of this policy initiative that is simply not being discussed.

3. You have to love this:

A phone call to Giddens at SBI is referred to Loren Flossman, who’s in charge of tactical infrastructure for the office. Flossman says all data regarding the placement of the fence is classified because “you don’t want to tell the very people you’re trying to keep from coming across the methodology used to deter them.”

Yes, if you let the American people know what land is going to be confiscated to build the fence, the terrorists illegal immigrants will win.

Again, this type of argument that comes at us with great regularity from the Bush administration underscores the notion that limited government conservatism is clearly dead. Heaven forbid that the government should have to explain itself to us. After all, it has the Best Intentions and just wants to help.1

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  1. Despite all the Reagan worship that we have seen of late, it would seem that many in the GOP wouldn’t see the humor/warning in one of Reagan’s famous quips: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” []
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Sunday, December 30, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

At the beginning of December, I noted that Huckabee was promising the impossible, i.e., “sealing” the border. I was first challenged by an e-mailer (who worked for the Huckabee campaign, in fact) and a commenter that Huckabee didn’t actually use the word “seal” (however, ends up he did).

Well, today on MTP he was deploying the phrase “seal the border” yet again (and rather emphatically, I might add). I will post the appropriate transcript portion when available.

This type of rhetoric is, no doubt, music to the ears of many in the pool of potential GOP primary voters. However, it is utter nonsense and wholly fantastical (for reasons detailed in this post). It is very difficult to take seriously anyone’s propositions on the border/immigration who deploys such language. Further, the “plan” that he is touting that would have all 12-15 million illegals leave the US in a 120 day window and start the process of return in their home countries is similarly from the Land of Wish.

It would be nice for someone to talk about the border intelligently for a change, including that simple fact that it is impossible to stop illegal crossings, and that the economic interchange between the US and Mexico (which is vital to both countries) makes talk about “sealing” the border utter nonsense.

I will give him credit–he gives a nod to the notion that a) we need these workers in our economy, and b) the US bureaucracy regarding the processing of persons entering to work is broken. However, the vagueness to which he addresses the issue, coupled with the breezy way he deals with impossible actions (such as getting millions to voluntarily leave) makes it impossible to take his position seriously. The fact that he has changed views from his time as Governor on the question of illegal immigrants to make them more palatable to the GOP electorate also makes it difficult to take him seriously on this issue.

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Sunday, December 9, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

As a follow-up to my post from this morning, Huckabee did, indeed, speak of sealing the borders on today’sFOX News Sunday

So part of the plan that I have is that we seal the borders.

And to give credit where credit is due, Joe Carter, Director of Research for the Huckabee campaign first e-mailed me this morning to state that Huckabee did not use the phrase “seal the border” and later e-mailed to correct his correction.

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