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US President Donald J. Trump speaks to the media as he departs the White House on his way to Camp David, in Washington, DC, USA, 06 January 2019. (Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/CHRIS KLEPONIS / POOL
US President Donald J. Trump speaks to the media as he departs the White House on his way to Camp David, in Washington, D.C., 06 January 2019. (Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/CHRIS KLEPONIS / POOL

The double standard of the "border crisis"

President Donald Trump has put forth his latest strategy to achieve his objectives at the border - he's taking the political crisis to a new level.

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During the two years of Donald Trump’s presidency so far, the border between Mexico and the United States has become a political symbol marked by enduring administrative chaos.

Last Monday, Trump advanced his new strategy to build his coveted border wall, in a move that aims to pass over Congress while declaring a humanitarian crisis.

If successful, the government would use Pentagon funds for the new infrastructure, which several specialists have called "legally inadmissible."

According to the Washington Post, the president would then be using money from the projects "that Congress has already debated and approved." This, after having campaigned for months to increase funds for the military.

"The president's suggestion that he can build the wall by declaring a national emergency would likely hinge on a little-known section of the U.S. Code governing the military," the paper said, referring to Section 2808 that "gives the defense secretary the authority to undertake military construction projects not otherwise authorized by law to support troops deployed in a national emergency requiring the use of the armed forces."

This coincides with previous government efforts to militarize the border, deploy the National Guard in the area, and even try to suspend asylum requests by undocumented immigrants.

For such a project, the government would have 10 billion dollars of un-obligated funds in the current fiscal year, as a congressional aide explained to the media.

Presumably, this strategy would be strongly rejected by Democrats, and would surely bring lawsuits and condemnation, adding another controversy to the administrative blockade in which the government finds itself.

While Congress has tried to persuade the president through bipartisan efforts to finance the government without funds for a physical border wall, Trump has assured he is willing to shut the government down "for years" if necessary, until he gets the more than five billion dollars he is asking for to build a "concrete" wall on the border with Mexico.

Meanwhile, the real humanitarian crisis is yet another one.

Although Trump has insisted that waves of immigrants trying to cross the southern border are an "invasion" and a "security crisis," and that the risk is run by the Americans on the other side, reports carried out by NBC News have determined that the worst threat is precisely the White House’s double standards.

The media network explained that over the last two years, "22 immigrants have died in detention centers", among them Vietnamese and Mexicans, legal residents, refugees and students.

Through a detailed review of government reports, NBC determined that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers are part of a "problem-riddled system," including the mistreatment of detainees, and the irregular supervision of facilities.

"While the issues predate President Donald Trump, his administration has expanded ICE's enforcement priorities," the report said. "Advocates said the rollback of discretion as detention expands puts vulnerable immigrants at risk."

Since Donald Trump’s government launched its policy of "zero tolerance" against undocumented immigrants, there have been increasing reports of abuse, misuse of funds, and administrative chaos in general, which has resulted in the death of dozens of immigrants, the separation of thousands of families, and the systematic violation of human rights.

But the president insists on using his inflammatory rhetoric - full of inaccuracies and misrepresentation of data - to keep his followers convinced that the real threat lies on the other side of the border.

After the recent death of two minors in the custody of the Border Patrol, the national security secretary, Kristjen Nielsen, has used this misleading discourse to continue arguing for hardline anti-immigrant actions, including the "urgency" of a border wall.

"The system is clearly overwhelmed and we must work together to address this humanitarian crisis and protect vulnerable populations," the secretary said in a statement. "We know that if Congress were to act, or the courts were to enforce the law as written, we could address this crisis tomorrow."

In plain words, the crisis referred to by the government is the arrival of immigrants across the border, and any argument is valid in order to close the doors of the country to those who bring in "dirt", as the Republican representative of Iowa, Steve King, said.

Before a president who vociferates from the White House that immigrants bring "bad things", the extreme right and white nationalism have received carte blanche to say what they really think.

The lies, however, soon become evident.

For example, administration officials have insisted that the border is a portal for terrorists, something that the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, extrapolated last Friday assuring that the Border Patrol "had arrested almost 4,000 known or suspected terrorists” before they crossed the border during the 2018 fiscal year.

Again, NBC released data from the Terrorist Screening database, where only 41 people had been identified as possible terrorist threats between October 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018, of which 35 were U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.

Meanwhile, within the country, white American citizens have been the protagonists of the worst year in armed violence in the last two decades, with almost 40,000 deaths between shootings and suicides.

Apparently, the real crisis is moral - and it wanders the corridors of the White House.

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