Remittances and the Border Wall

Create: 05/13/2017 - 08:11

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President Trump has just completed the milestone of 100 days in the White House.  In his subjective opinion, this was a historical 100 days which included historical accomplishments.  For objective students of history, Trump’s performance could not have been more chaotic, more abysmal, and so damaging to the democratic process.  His ongoing romance with non-democratic leaders in the Philippines, Turkey, Egypt and Russia is unprecedented in recent history.  As he has confessed, he did not realize the job of President was so hard and he yearns for his previous life at Mar-a-Lago and Trump Towers.

            What has been clear throughout the 100 days is a blatant lack of character.  With Trump, there is no moral core.  There is no elevation of his game.  The Trump on the campaign trail, who criminalized his opponents, continues to criminalize his opponents despite the fact that he is President of the United States.

            The absence of moral character comes through loud and clear as besieged with the inquiry of Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election, he concocted the absurdity that President Obama, unlike Trump and a man of integrity, had wiretapped him during the transition.  Trump could not produce one scintilla of evidence to back up his outrageous charge.  The Director of the FBI and other intelligence agencies have debunked the outrageous charge.  There is no incident in the 100 days that personifies more the measure or the lack thereof of the present occupant of the White House.

            Trump is mesmerized by the complexity of governing.  He has failed to understand public policy questions and often resort to platitudes.  He has yet to grasp the significance of the Affordable Care Act and when queried about the proposed GOP replacement, The American Health Care Act, the details are beyond his intellectual capacity.

            What Trump enjoys is the campaign trail when and where he can unleash his attacks on the fourth estate and grind away at the legitimacy of democratic precepts.  In the budget agreement which brought together Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate to fund the federal government until the end of this fiscal year, there were no funds set aside to build the Wall to separate the United States from Mexico.

            Nonetheless, President Trump continues to assure his true believers that the Wall will be built.  During the height of the campaign propaganda, he would repeat ad nauseam that the Wall would be build and Mexico would pay for the Wall.  Such illogic could only have been proposed by a charlatan and followers who are unsophisticated enough to believe that the government of Mexico would foot the bill.

            Trump kicked off his campaign derogating Mexicans as rapists and criminals. He fostered the untruth that the borders were porous and the Obama administration was not deporting illegal immigrants.

            Before Obama came to power, the machinery of Homeland Security was well oiled to deal with mass deportation.  In the early days of the Obama administration, ICE was deporting over 360,000 illegal immigrants on an annual basis.  In the waning days of his administration, Barak Obama used his Executive Powers to protect young children who were brought to America at a tender age and had grown up to be Americans.  He also issued an Executive Order to protect the parents of DACA providing they had committed no major crimes.

            The gargantuan wheels of ICE enforcement were turned to the deportation of criminals.  As a result of this discretionary policy, the deportations were reduced and fell below 300,000.

            Who seeks to come across the borders illegally is far from static. At this juncture, the report from the front is that as many Mexicans are returning as are coming across the border.  Much of the illegal immigrants are coming from Central American countries such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.  Nicaragua is an exception as the social order in that Central American country is not in tatters compared to its sister Republics.

            The new Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, and the besieged Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, announced recently that border crossings are down by over 70 percent.  The decrease in illegal migration would mean that there was no need to wastefully spend somewhere in the vicinity of $21 billion while cuts to the National Institute of Health, and other sorely needed social programs yet there are funds to expand the already bloated military budget.

            The Congressman from Alabama, Mike Rogers, has introduced a Bill in the House of Representatives that would tax remittances by 2 percent.  That tax would be imposed on Central America, South America and the Caribbean.             Remittances help in a small way to level the playing field of globalization.  America has always extracted more profits from the nations of the Americas from the latter part of the nineteenth century to much of the twentieth century.  John Kennedy during his brief tenure as President tried to reverse that historical trend with the Alliance for Progress in the 1960s.

            Remittances play a vital role in the well-being of the Jamaican people.  Those who migrate to the United States, to the United Kingdom, to Canada, to the Cayman Islands, through remittances keep the umbilical cord intact.  Women play a predominant role as senders and receivers.  Funds are used for educational purposes and expanding housing stock. Much of the remittances are used to keep kith and kin together, to ensure that there is food on the table, that prescription drugs are filled, etc.

            Remittances sent to Jamaica already pay a service fee and an additional tax would be unnecessarily onerous.  Remittances in Jamaica amount to over $2.4 billion and constitute about 17 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.  These funds represent the sweat and tears of hard working immigrants who pay taxes to the American government, federal and state and function as transnationals in a globalized world.

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