Two different – but related – diseases deeply affect the American public’s ability to discuss border issues in a sane manner. It’s terrible enough that those afflicted with these two dangerous ailments find themselves unable to think clearly or logically on the topic. But the truly insidious thing about these conditions is that the rantings and ravings of the afflicted are infecting everyone else.
Let’s start with the malady I call TDS1: Trump Derangement Syndrome. Their hate for President Donald Trump is so seared into their medulla oblongata that if he signed a proclamation saying the sky is blue they’d say it’s orange. “A sick, orange-ish Cheetos hue like Trump,” they’d mumble to themselves.
As awful as TDS1 sounds, TDS2 sufferers live in a comparable state of delusion. TDS2 is Trump Deity Syndrome. Carriers believe the sun rises and sets at the behest of The Donald, and if he told them the sun was powered by a million elves on Pelotons, they’d probably believe that, too. He can do no wrong, but when he does appear to make a mess of things, it’s easily explained away as part of a master plan to get the mainstream media and Democrats to “take the bait.”
Unfortunately, both TDS viruses are contagious. Early sufferers of full-blown Trump Deity Syndrome swallowed the promise that Mexico would pay for the president’s border walls. They were the Typhoid Marys, if you will, of TDS2.
Trump Derangement Syndrome is still in its incubation phase more than two years after the election. Those with TDS1 spread their plague by declaring that any strong border enforcement policy is inherently racist, let alone a wall, which would surely lead to actual tears falling from the Statue of Liberty’s 2-foot tall eyes.
These are the same folks who scoffed when Trump declared a border “crisis” last November – a sky-is-orange contrarian conceit if there ever was.
Even the likes of liberal-leaning Politico and MSNBC are acknowledging that the situation at the border is dire – along with Obama-era immigration officials. Days before now-deposed Secretary of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s April trip to the Arizona border, her predecessor, Jeh Johnson, told MSNBC about what once put him in a “bad mood the whole day” when he ran the department. It was when he learned in a morning briefing that 1,000 or more border apprehensions had occurred the day prior. “On Tuesday [March 26], there were 4,000 apprehensions,” Johnson elaborated. “So we are truly in a crisis.”
Providing humanitarian aid to these overwhelming numbers of asylum seekers is taxing both the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) resources in Arizona. Carl Landrum, deputy chief for Border Patrol’s Yuma sector, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that his agents spent about 11,000 hours in the last fiscal year at the hospital with migrants – instead of patrolling the border.
In the first three months of this year alone, ICE has dropped 22,000 processed asylum seekers off at Arizona bus stations, churches and street corners. Many have only the clothes they are wearing. And U.S. border apprehensions could approach the 1.5 million mark in 2019 – the most in 20 years.
The Derangement crowd needs to admit that the numbers are astounding and acknowledge that not all migrants are singing “Kumbaya” and handing out flowers. And the Deity crowd needs to acknowledge that a wall doesn’t fix this border surge. This surge isn’t being driven by young Mexican men running from Border Patrol. It’s Central American families running to Border Patrol seeking asylum.
The only thing crazier than believing everything Donald Trump says about the border is refusing to believe anything he says about it. So I’m launching a TDS Telethon. Together, we can defeat TDS1 and TDS2. Or, maybe we can just get the two sets of patients to shut up.
Jim Sharpe is the host of Arizona’s Morning News on KTAR-FM 92.3 (weekdays 5-9 a.m.). Visit ktar.com to find more information about his on-air work.