PUT YOURSELF for a moment in the shoes of some 800,000 federal workers who have been working without pay or have been furloughed for almost three weeks now because of the partial government shutdown, and are worried about rent or mortgage obligations to pay, sending their kids to school, putting food on the table for their family to eat.

Or maybe you are among those who have been waiting for your tax refund to pay for a personal or family obligation, or perhaps you depend on government services for your business or livelihood or are using the airports for your job or your business. TSA has revealed how Trump’s shutdown has already been causing security issues in our airports because of the crisis in manpower.

We are all in this together.

The United States of America — we the people, the taxpayers — has now been made hostage by President Donald Trump’s obsession with the border wall that he couldn’t care less about how this government shutdown has been hurting us all because to him, it is either the $5-billion dollar funding for the wall, or nothing at all.

The Constitution mandates that Congress — the House of Representatives, to be more precise — is invested with “the power of the purse” — the ability to tax and spend public money for the national government.

In funding the government, both the Republicans and the Democrats of Congress have appropriated $1.6 billion for border security, but Trump wanted $5-billion to build his ‘beautiful’ wall, which he promised during the campaign that Mexico would be paying for.

As polls after polls reveal how increasingly unpopular this wall is for a majority of American taxpayers, and how Trump and the Republicans are now being blamed for the government shutdown, Trump uses and abuses the sacred Oval Office to make his case with the American people on the need for this wall during a televised address on Tuesday, January 8.

Reading from a teleprompter for eight minutes, Trump opened his remarks by framing the problem at the border as a “humanitarian issue” whereby families are separated at the border, children are used as pawns and smuggled in, women are raped by criminals, and gang members, drug dealers, rapists are coming in illegally through the southern border.

He stopped short of calling for a national emergency after reportedly being told by his advisers this just won’t work.

Trump instead called for $5.7 billion for modern high tech solution which he said “includes” a “steel barrier,” falsely claiming it was as the Democrats requested, when in fact they did not and would not give Trump money for the wall more than the $1.6 billion the Republicans and Democrats have already appropriated in the spending bill to improve border security.

It is ironic that Trump would call this a humanitarian crisis and blamed it on Democrats when he and his policies have been causing the family separation at the border, ignoring the existing laws on asylum.

In demanding for the funding for the wall, he again demonized immigrants, especially those coming from the border without basis in facts.

Days leading up to Tuesday, Trump and his surrogates in the administration had been claiming that the wall is important to stop the 4,000+ people with ties to Islamic terrorism who come in illegally through the U.S.-Mexico border.

He has been claiming that these people are there to bring in drugs, infest the country with crimes like murder, rape, etc. — the same argument that stoked fear among voters that helped him win the Republican nomination, and eventually the presidency.

These claims have been negated by actual government studies and statistics, fact-checked and reported by news media, including Trump and the conservative’s favorite cable news channel, Fox News. Yet, the president and his cohorts continue to knowingly use these dirty tactics to deceive the American people and justify taxpayer funding for his wall.

Facts state that these 4,000+ people mostly come through the airports, and not from the southern border. They come in the U.S. legally and overstay. Only 12 out of the 4,000+ came from the southern border. Some become homegrown terrorists. This does not even include the terrorism perpetrated by white supremacist American citizens.

The infestation of drugs come through the legal ports of entry as well, and also through the underground tunnels in the border, not above ground.

Crimes, rape, and other transgressions likewise do not come from people coming through the southern border. Statistics show that violent crimes in the country are committed mostly by U.S.-born citizens, and NOT by immigrants — documented or undocumented.

Trump claimed the number of people coming in illegally through the borders has been escalating and out of control, when in fact there are fewer people coming in now compared to the 2000s.

He also claimed that immigrants have been stealing American jobs when labor statistics show that we are in need of more workers, especially to do the jobs most Americans would not do — farming, caregiving, housekeeping, etc. — jobs Trump himself give to undocumented immigrants in his own homes and companies.

This unfortunate chapter in our nation’s history is proof why indeed we have a national crisis and security threat, both domestically and internationally. But the threat is coming from no less than Donald J. Trump and his accomplices, including people who blindly follow and believe their reality show president who would do anything and everything without regard for the truth, the facts, and the collective good of the American people.

Democratic leadership in their rebuttal to Trump’s address called for the president to end the government shutdown and not use this as a pawn. They urged him to continue their negotiations on how to improve border security but this should not jeopardize the life and livelihood of the federal workers, as well as the safety, security and economy of the nation.

Has he been using this fabricated emergency crisis at the border because of the new findings of the Mueller probe about the alleged collusion between Team Trump and Russia to help Trump win the 2016 U.S. presidential election?

We, the people, should stand up to this president. This nightmare has to END.

Gel Santos Relos
Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com and www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

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