Trust me I don’t want to do this open thread.
In fact, I don’t even want to watch what I will assume is truckloads of horseshit that Trump intends to shovel into our living rooms.
However, I also feel that as the operator of a website focused on politics, I really do not have that luxury.
Having said that I want to give all of you some facts that you can have on hand when Trump starts his Lie-a-thon tonight.
Courtesy of CNN:
Here are the facts that you need to know before tonight’s address:
Only 12 non-US citizens on the terror watch list were stopped at the border last year. Vice President Mike Pence misleadingly claimed that nearly 4,000 terrorists were caught trying to enter the US last year. The truth is just 12 individuals who are not US citizens and are on the terror watch list were encountered on the southern border between October 2017 and October 2018. The vast majority tried to enter through airports.
The majority of hard narcotics the US seizes come through ports of entry. The Trump administration gave a border security presentation last week. It cited a “dramatic spike in illegal drugs at the southern border” as a reason to build a physical wall. However, the majority of hard narcotics seized by Customs and Border Protection come through ports of entry either in packages, cargo or with people who attempt to enter the US legally.
About 800 people with gang ties were stopped at the US border. The same security presentation said “6,000 gang members” were “apprehended at the southern border and removed by ICE.” The way this number is presented appears to be misleading. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed or deported 5,872 gang members in fiscal year 2018, per its latest numbers. And the latest statistics for fiscal year 2018 (which do not include the month of September) show that Border Patrol apprehended 808 people affiliated with gangs at the border and across the nation. The way this category is worded could leave readers under the impression that 6,000 gang members were arrested solely at the Southwest border.
A lot of people crossing the border with criminal records committed nonviolent crimes. The border security presentation stressed that “17,000 adults at the southern border with existing criminal records” were arrested in fiscal year 2018. This was in a section of the presentation claiming that officials are “fighting an influx of dangerous people.” But it should be noted that large portions of the immigrants being arrested at the Southwest border committed nonviolent crimes, like illegal entry or re-entry and driving under the influence of alcohol.
While border apprehensions increased in October and November, they didn’t surge in an unprecedented fashion as the administration is claiming. Pence claimed Tuesday that 60,000 people were attempting to enter the county illegally. The Trump administration has also repeatedly pointed to recent figures to back up its claim that there is a border crisis. But of the 62,456 individuals who were apprehended or deemed inadmissible at the southern border in November, 10,600 presented themselves at legal US ports of entry and were ultimately deemed inadmissible, according to CBP statistics. Same goes for the 60,722 figure for October. It includes 9,771 who showed up at legal US ports of entry and were subsequently deemed inadmissible into the country.
There you go, forewarned is forearmed.
Speaking of being forewarned, there is something about emergency powers to keep in mind tonight.
Courtesy of The Atlantic:
The moment the president declares a “national emergency”—a decision that is entirely within his discretion—more than 100 special provisions become available to him. While many of these tee up reasonable responses to genuine emergencies, some appear dangerously suited to a leader bent on amassing or retaining power. For instance, the president can, with the flick of his pen, activate laws allowing him to shut down many kinds of electronic communications inside the United States or freeze Americans’ bank accounts. Other powers are available even without a declaration of emergency, including laws that allow the president to deploy troops inside the country to subdue domestic unrest.
This edifice of extraordinary powers has historically rested on the assumption that the president will act in the country’s best interest when using them. With a handful of noteworthy exceptions, this assumption has held up. But what if a president, backed into a corner and facing electoral defeat or impeachment, were to declare an emergency for the sake of holding on to power? In that scenario, our laws and institutions might not save us from a presidential power grab. They might be what takes us down.
If Trump does announce a national emergency tonight, tomorrow may be a much different day for all of us.
I will update this post as new information becomes available.
Update: for those who missed it.
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 9, 2019
Go ahead, you try to make sense out of it.