We Have Always Been At War With Shutdownia
The government runs out of money on Saturday, so unless negotiators can find some kind of budget deal by then, we'll have another goddamn government shutdown, taking paychecks away from 800,000 government employees and forcing half of them to work without pay. To make matters worse, negotiations on a budget deal broke down over the weekend because Democrats want Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to only lock up criminals who are slated for deportation, while Republicans want all undocumented immigrants to be imprisoned infinitely. Or, as Donald Trump explained, Democrats want murderers to run wild in the street, because isn't that just like them?
The Washington Post reports that, according to insiders, the negotiators had actually been getting close to some kind of agreement on money for border security, and the Trump administration had maybe been willing to accept less than the $5.7 billion it had demanded for WALL back when the government shut down in December (all of which would have been subject to veto by Ann Coulter, of course). But things then went kerflooie when Dems insisted on a cap on the number of undocumented immigrants ICE can hold in the interior of the country -- not people crossing the border now, but those already in the USA. The Democrats want to use the detention cap to force the administration to concentrate on detaining those who actually may post a risk to safety, instead of just letting ICE scoop up otherwise law-abiding people who don't have legal status, as Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California) explained in a statement:
A cap on ICE detention beds will force the Trump administration to prioritize deportation for criminals and people who pose real security threats, not law-abiding immigrants who are contributing to our country.
The GOP pushback, of course, accused Dems of wanting DANGEROUS CRIMINAL ALIENS to move into your house and kill you, because of course under Donald Trump, ALL undocumented immigrants are likely to cut your throat, that is just a fact. See for instance Lindsey Graham, appearing on Fox News:
Now, apparently, not only is it enough they want to abolish ICE. They want to abolish the bed spaces available to the country to house violent offenders so they can be held and deported, [...] I promise you this. Donald Trump is not going to sign any bill that reduces the number of bed spaces available to hold violent offenders who come across our border. He can't do that. He won't do that, and you can take that to the bank.
Trump took it up a notch, because damned if he's about to let Lindsey Graham out-panic him:
Welcome to political discourse in Hell World. Democrats: You should only be locking up dangerous criminals, like murderers. Republicans: WHY DO YOU WANT TO LET ALL THE MURDERERS LOOSE?!!?
WaPo says the Republicans offered an ingenious "compromise" that would allow ICE to keep imprisoning all the undocumented people it can possibly grab. While Dems would like a cap of 16,500 detention beds -- about the amount in the final years of the Obama administration,
Republicans want to exclude a range of immigrants from the cap. These would be people convicted of, or charged with, a variety of crimes, ranging from violent felonies to misdemeanor drug offenses.
Democrats said that would make the cap toothless, because it would allow ICE to round up numerous people without criminal records and also hold an unlimited number of people who, in some cases, have only been charged with misdemeanors.
NBC News took a closer look at who ICE is locking up, why, and how that's changed under Trump. Under Obama, ICE was directed to concentrate on holding and deporting only immigrants who were a threat to national security or who had serious criminal convictions (mind you, that included a lot of people with misdemeanor charges, but most had been convicted, not just charged). By Obama's last year in office, says NBC, "98 percent of immigrants arrested in the United States fit those priorities."
Ah, but then Donald Trump, Stephen Miller, and the Deport Everyone policy came along, and anyone here without papers was now a priority, from dangerous grandparents with no criminal records to multiple felons, because what is "priority?" And now?
As a result, in fiscal year 2018, 20 percent of immigrants arrested by ICE had no criminal conviction.
[An] ICE official told NBC News that 89 percent of immigrants currently being held in detention have been convicted or charged with crimes.
And just how many of those detained immigrants are bloodthirsty murderers?
While ICE held immigrants in fiscal year 2018 who collectively were convicted on 54,630 charges, only 1,641 of the charges were homicide. The most frequent charges were for driving under the influence, followed by drug offenses, traffic offenses, and immigration offenses (such as reentering the country after a deportation order.)
We'll go way out on a limb and suggest maybe Republicans just really want no limits at all on how many people can be locked away, and that's why, come this weekend, we may well be hearing that Democrats shut down the government because they want murderers to be set loose in YOUR neighborhood.
Still, there's the possibility that some compromise can be worked out -- like maybe a very firm requirement that murderers stay locked up, while we take the crazy risk that someone with a "failure to yield" misdemeanor might be an acceptable risk for being let out with a GPS monitor. Madness, we know.
Nah, that's just crazy and impossible. Surely the government workers who'll lose their cars and homes in another shutdown will understand why we need to lock up those non-yielders in even greater numbers, lest you find yourself standing in line at a food pantry next to an undocumented bad driver yourself.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.