Wall Good, Budget Bill Bad, But Maybe Not as Bad as Feared

Wall good. “Compromise budget bill” bad, but perhaps not nearly as bad as early reports indicated.

Here’s the text of the bill, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019.” It’s more than 1,000 pages, pdf file:
(Note if you’re re-directed to https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SYQ-X1tQhWe4uPUi1odmN-IiMAliJBvs/view, the word search function doesn’t work. I had to download a copy to do searches.)

(Found via https://www.cbsnews.com/live-news/shutdown-watch-latest-congress-vote-today-government-funding-bill-2019-02-14-live-updates/ Props to CBS for providing the link, which no other “news” source did.)

1) I did a word search for sponsor in the text of the bill, found this:

SEC. 224. (a) None of the funds provided by this Act
12 or any other Act, or provided from any accounts in the
13 Treasury of the United States derived by the collection
14 of fees available to the components funded by this Act,
15 may be used by the Secretary of Homeland Security to
16 place in detention, remove, refer for a decision whether
17 to initiate removal proceedings, or initiate removal pro-
18 ceedings against a sponsor, potential sponsor, or member
19 of a household of a sponsor or potential sponsor of an un-
20 accompanied alien child ( as defined in section 462 (g) of
21 the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 279(g)))
22 based on information shared by the Secretary of Health
23 and Human Services.

I think that “based on information shared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services” is key. If you ignore that, then this says that an illegal just has to say “I live in a household with a potential sponsor of a minor, so you can’t deport me.” But look at that last clause. That seems to just mean that if a person shows up in an HHS database of STDs or something and ICE gets their hands on that database, they can’t deport the person based solely on that info. Hmm. Why the fuck Congress wants to protect people running around with herpes (or fucking Ebola or whatever) is beyond me, but hey, they’re leftists: The less sense it makes, the more they like it.

2) SEC. 231. None of the funds made available by this Act or prior Acts are available for the construction of pedestrian fencing-
(1) within the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge;
(2) within the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park;
(3) within La Lomita Historical park;
(4) within the National Butterfly Center; or
(5) within or east of the Vista del Mar Ranch tract of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

First, note that “None of the funds made available by this Act or prior Acts are available for the construction.” That doesn’t say anything about funds re-allocated by, oh I don’t know, let’s say an Emergency declaration by the President! For those of you who just got back from a trip to Epsilon Eridani, he pulled the trigger on that earlier today! FUCKING SWEET!

Second, I checked the size and location of these areas, to get at their importance to invaders. To an extent, enforcement manpower can be substituted for a wall, of course. So it depends on the length of border that’s left un-walled by this part. Here’s what I found, which is basically that it only amounts to a few miles:

(1) The Santa Ana one: This border is on the Rio Grande. It’s hard to judge scale, but I think, judging from Google maps, the arc length of the winding river border would work out to a couple of miles.

(2) the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park looks to be about 1,500 feet of border:

And the park does not actually abut the Rio Grande. There’s some space in between the edge of the park and the river. Now read the language again: barrier cannot be built “within the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.” So this is fine as long as Trumpy and his homies realize it. And of course they will, since the first thing they’ll do is bust out a map and look at all this stuff. In fact, one hopes that’s what they did in the first place.

(3) within La Lomita Historical park: This is a tiny little thing, and it doesn’t abut the border anyway: https://www.google.com/maps/place/La+Lomita+Historical+Park,+Mission,+TX+78572/@26.1575951,-98.3330924,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x86650794d543f425:0xf6c385194f8a9c4c!8m2!3d26.157631!4d-98.330918

(4) within the National Butterfly Center: The Google map only shows the main building, and you can’t tell whether the park abuts the US-Mexico border.
Here’s the map at the Center’s webpage. It looks like it abuts the Rio Grande, so yes, it abuts the border: https://www.nationalbutterflycenter.org/about-nbc/maps-directions

And apparently wall segments were going to go up there, so it was a desirable place for a wall. Grrr. https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/politics/article/Wall-construction-spotted-near-McAllen-13616604.php

“Heavy equipment operators began bulldozing trees in recent days near the city of Mission under a contract to build 6 miles of wall that eventually was to cut through the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley park and the butterfly center.
The 6-mile section is part of a project approved by Congress last year to build 33 miles of wall in the Rio Grande Valley.
Cuellar’s budget amendment voids wall-construction contracts in the protected areas.
…The sites hug the Rio Grande…”

Asshole. But manageable.

(5) within or east of the Vista del Mar Ranch tract of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge: Not sure about this. Doesn’t seem to be anywhere near the border. This is puzzling, or it’s a clever ploy to literally forbid any wall “east of” that point at all, as opposed to “east of” it within the Refuge.
The Refuge does not border Mexico. A prohibition on a wall “east of” the refuge can simply be avoided by noting that one would want to build a wall to the southeast, not to the east.

So yeah, some stretches will be wall-less, but they only amount to a few miles, and with wall going up elsewhere, manpower can be re-assigned to wall-less stretches to an extent. So, an inconvenience, not a disaster.

3) Requires Trump Admin to try to negotiate with local officials until September 2019 or until an agreement is reached. As a practical matter, this means we can’t start building it in certain places until September:
Well, that’s obnoxious, but some people were resigned to waiting that long anyway.

I want to check some other shit then maybe will update or add a second post later.

Addendum February 23, 2019: A DHS official explains why people shouldn’t panic over this bill:


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