‘Ninety-one percent of Republicans support the building of the wall…’
That’s the policy and political reality behind the about-to-emerge ‘immigration compromise’ negotiated between President Biden, Senate Democrats and a handful of Republican Senators. But it is the reality the Senate Republicans are about to ignore and not merely ignore, but actually demonstrate contempt for, and for the party that elected them.
The ‘supplemental’ bill about to emerge promises to be a complete disaster for the GOP. One for the books. There is still time for Leader McConnell to lead a retrograde movement away from the fiasco.
McConnell has pulled off many miracles before. He’s the best legislative leader the GOP has had in my lifetime. He saved the Constitution with his refusal to allow hearings on the Supreme Court vacancy following the death of Justice Scalia. McConnell preserved the First Amendment through litigation over decades. He’s put together crucial Senate majorities only to see lesser political talents destroy them with party nominees he told everyone could not win.
McConnell got former President Trump elected because of the Leader’s ‘no hearings on any nominee’ stance which made Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees the key to the upset win in 2016 by the former president. McConnell will work with Trump again for the good of the Republic. McConnell’s two best pieces of advice —’First, you have to win’ and ‘You can start too late but never start too early’— are worth the cost of his brilliant memoir ‘The Long Game.
Will McConnell save the GOP once more?
We need to get Israel aid. We need to get Ukraine aid. We need to secure the southern border. These are all pressing national security needs. They are of equal importance to America.
If we send the wrong sort of aid to Israel or Ukraine it will not help them win. If we don’t build the 900 miles of fence where it is needed on the 2000 miles of southern border, Americans will continue to die from fentynal, more millions will walk across ‘UN encountered,’ along with the 8 million who have been ‘encountered’ in the three years of the Biden Border Era. The Wall isn’t one of five things that need doing. It is the first thing that must be done if the other things that need to be done are going to work.
The Wall is a necessary but not sufficient national security measure. To repeat: It is the first thing that must be done. Other things are useful —more Border Patrol, more return flights, more detention facilities, more Administrative Law Judges and changes to the actual asylum and refugee law. All of it.
But none of it matters without the Wall. The Wall is the ‘signal’ amid the noise. It actually gets the message to the endless column of millions trudging north. That message is ‘Closed save by appointment.’
This is not a hardliner position. It is the moderate position. Most ‘moderates’ on immigration reform including me are people who want to care for the stranger when they get here. Most of us are aware that only a small percentage of the millions crossing illegally are undoubtedly dangerous, but they are dangerous indeed, and those who engage in human smuggling are depraved while possible terrorists should be understood as 10/7 types. We moderates are also concerned with innocents caught up in this river of misery that has to be damed before those on this side of the order can’t be helped.
If Democrats say ‘No’ to the Wall, then it is no, and the GOP walks away from the talks, explains why, and campaigns on the Wall.
All three of the remaining possible GOP presidential nominees want the Wall. The Senate candidates the GOP needs to win the 2024 elections and thus the 2025 majority all want the Wall. Only a handful of Senators and their staffs have persuaded themselves that the Wall isn’t necessary. Wake up. It is necessary, and the 91 percent aren’t wrong. They are your bosses.
The supplemental without the Wall is far, far worse than a dead end. It’s a cliff. We won’t climb back up to a moment of clarity like this for decades, if ever. And the House GOP should never approve it anyway, and I doubt incumbent GOP senators who support it will in turn find themselves supported by 90 percent of the Party. Who is selling this? On what grounds?
Please, Senate GOP, the momentum of a terrible ride is no reason to stay on the runaway train. Get off. Now. Walk away.
Hugh Hewitt is one of the country’s leading journalists of the center-right. A son of Ohio and a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, Hewitt has been a Professor of Law at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law since 1996 where he teaches Constitutional Law. Hewitt launched his eponymous radio show from Los Angeles in 1990, and it is today syndicated to hundreds of stations and outlets across the country every Monday through Friday morning. Hewitt has frequently appeared on every major national news television network, hosted television shows for PBS and MSNBC, written for every major American paper, has authored a dozen books and moderated a score of Republican candidate debates, most recently the November 2023 Republican presidential debate in Miami and four Republican presidential debates in the 2015-16 cycle. Hewitt focuses his radio show and this column on the Constitution, national security, American politics and the Cleveland Browns and Guardians. Hewitt has interviewed tens of thousands of guests from Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump over his forty years in broadcast, and this column previews the lead story that will drive his radio show today.