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The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Moises Castillo

There’s a scene in the movie “Tombstone” where Kurt Russell’s character, Wyatt Earp, was surrounded by cowboys who told him to “turn loose” one of their partners who had just murdered the town marshal. Earp, standing alone and determined to enforce the law, had to think quickly as he was about to be rushed by several cowboys – including Ike Clanton, who had threatened him earlier against all the law stuff:  “Hey Law Dog, law don’t go ‘round here.”


With no options, Earp pointed his gun at Ike’s forehead and said, “You die first, get it?  Your friends might get me in a rush but not before I make your head into a canoe; you understand me?” Ike understood and called off the cowboys.

“You’re not as stupid as you look, Ike,” said Earp.

In the Mexico tariff standoff, Trump – America’s chief law enforcer – was in an Earp predicament.  He was not only being rushed by a complicit Mexican government, but by hordes of illegal aliens, lawless “immigrant rights” groups, the liberal-leftist media, cowardly and ill-willed politicians in both parties, and a myopic U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  They’ve all been stopping him from enforcing the law.  So, Trump picked up the only weapon in his holster, pointed it at their heads, and promised to pull the trigger if they kept it up – not knowing if things would end well.  

“You first, Mexico. Get it?”  

Mexico got it. It agreed, among other things, to send 6,000 of its National Guard troops to the Guatemalan border to curb the flow of illegal entry.  Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan also wanted Mexico to disrupt migrant bus routes and designate itself a third safe country so asylum-seekers’ journey could end there.  Trump let up on the trigger.

“The president put a charge in this whole dialogue with Mexico with the tariff threat,” said McAleenan during an interview with Fox’s Brett Baier on Sunday.   “[T]he foreign minister from Mexico arrived within hours. He arrived the next day with real proposals on the table.”


As Earp might say, “You’re not as stupid as you look, Mexico.” But he wouldn’t have been so kind to the media and “get Trump” Democrats.  

As if the border crisis doesn’t exist, Bloomberg’s Shannon K. O’Neil wrote an opinion piece June 3 saying that by threatening incremental tariffs, Trump was “hyping the border” issue and demonizing trade and Mexico to “rally his political base” and to divert attention from the Mueller investigation fallout.  

“His latest gambit abuses the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, undermines free trade agreements, and taxes American consumers,” O’Neil wrote.

Before Mexico agreed to a deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement saying Trump lacked knowledge of policy and process in trade relations, and that threatening tariffs on Mexico was reckless.  After the deal, she put out another statement saying that “by recklessly threatening to impose tariffs on our close friend,” Trump undermined the country’s leadership in the world.  

“President Trump must stop sabotaging good-faith, constructive, and bipartisan efforts in Congress to address this complex problem in a humane manner that honors and respects our most cherished national values,” Pelosi’s statement said. “Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy.”

Chuck Schumer sarcastically tweeted, “Now that that problem is solved, I’m sure we won’t be hearing any more about it in the future.”


These people live in an alternate universe.  In all their fearmongering about tariffs – much of it pure myth as Market Watch’s Brett Arends argues – they say nothing about the far greater threat coming from the elephant in the room: out-of-control illegal immigration.  

Trump didn’t make his “tariff threat” in a void.  Rabid hate-Trump lawmakers left him no choice.  They’ve been pouring all their energy into doing nothing about the legislative wall that keeps Trump from enforcing the law.  As historic levels of illegal aliens pour over the border – a million by year’s end – it’s crystal clear that Democrats don’t want to stop illegals – they want to stop Trump.

Trump’s “tariff threat” pales by comparison to the threat from unprecedented numbers of illegals openly breaking our laws.  The threat from government complicity on both sides of the border.  The threat from large numbers of unassimilated foreigners overwhelming our school system, overwhelming our social services system, overwhelming our health care system, putting downward pressure on our wages, diminishing the value of our citizenship, and eroding our legal immigration system.

When challenged at an immigration hearing in the ‘90s on how America will pay for the enormous costs of implementing the immigration policies that she was recommending, Texas Democrat Barbara Jordan told a skeptical Rick Santorum that lawmakers have “got to get the principle right” before haggling over the price.  


“The issue of immigration is not a partisan issue,” Jordan said at the United We Stand America National Convention in 1995.  “Immigration is not a right, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution to everyone anywhere in the world who thinks they want to come to the United States.  … We must control illegal immigration before it erodes legal immigration. ... For our immigration policy to make sense, it is necessary to make distinctions between those who obey the law and those who violate it.”

Well, the donkeys have certainly left that barn.  Today, the distinctions between legal and illegal immigration are more blurred than ever.   As Democrats all but advocate for open borders, Trump is using every tool at his disposal to get the principle right: “We must control illegal immigration before it erodes legal immigration.”  

Tariffs on Mexico is not a long-term policy but a tool of last resort to get the principle right.

Whether Mexico will make good on the deal remains to be seen.  Trump is right to suspend, and not eliminate, the threat of incremental tariffs until Mexico demonstrates resolve in curbing the flow of illegal entry across its borders.   

Using women, children and misplaced compassion, illegal immigrants are using America’s civility as a weapon to conduct an unprecedented unarmed invasion.  For the communities bordering Mexico, the consequences of kicking the can down the road have become insufferable to law-abiding Americans who trusted their elected leaders to simply enforce the law.


While the startling sacrifices endured by the “Greatest Generation” a world away at Normandy are still fresh in our minds, we need to resolve to take whatever pains are necessary to preserve the institutions they died for, so they remain intact for our children and grandchildren.  

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