President Trump brashly announced "I'm proud to shut down government" if the soon to be dominant Democrats in Congress don't fund his southern border wall. Is he bluffing? Probably not. It's one of the main promises he made during his 2016 presidential campaign. He should keep it.

Democrats and Republicans have been slugging it out toe-to-toe for weeks now over building the wall. Democrats have offered a grudging $1.3 billion to build the barrier to illegal immigration, while Republicans seek $5 billion.

Meeting with the Democrats' leaders, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and soon-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump was blunt: "I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck."

He means it. And he should. Earlier this year, Schumer & Co. pushed hard to give amnesty to the so-called "Dreamers." He shut down the government for three days before caving in. Why? Because he feared the illegal immigration issue was so potent it might damage the chances of Democratic congressional candidates.

At the time, the big media treated Schumer as a brave statesman who used all the tools at his disposal to get what he wanted. His closure of the government was viewed almost as a humanitarian gesture, rather than pandering to the far-left of his party and the burgeoning Hispanic vote.

Government Shutdown?

Don't worry. President Trump will get no such treatment. If the government shuts down, he'll be treated as a combination of the Grinch and — no surprise here — Hitler.

The deadline for the talks has been set for the December 21, the Friday before Christmas. But the whole government isn't at risk of shutdown. Parts of the budget were approved back in October, which will leave most of the government open and operating.

As the Daily Caller observed, "Congress has already funded nearly three-fourths of the government and a partial shutdown would lessen stakes involved over negotiations."

We're not absolutists about building a wall. In point of fact, merely enforcing laws now on the books would pretty much take care of our illegal immigration problem. But for a broad swath of Americans the border wall has an enormous symbolic significance that can't be ignored.

What Americans Want

In our most recent IBD/TIPP Poll, we asked Americans to rank their top two priorities for Congress in the coming year. Immigration, with 36% of respondents ranking it No. 1 or No. 2, finished only behind health care costs, which 40% of respondents ranked No. 1 or No. 2. Immigration even ranked ahead of "economy and jobs" (30%) and "national security" (22%).

So, yes, immigration is a big issue. And while other polls suggest Americans would like a "compromise" on building the wall, Trump knows that he will be called a liar by Democrats — and by the Trump-hating media — in 2020 if he doesn't do it.

So Trump is pretty much stuck taking a hard line. Americans expect it. It's a big reason why he was elected in 2016. It's why, in his talks with Schumer and Pelosi, he threatened to have the military build the wall. Their funding is already in place.

The Democratic Party has staked its own future on having a plentiful supply of future votes by illegal aliens grateful to them for making their presence here legal. So we're really not surprised at their adamant opposition. Though they deny it, they are a de facto open-border party.

And what does "open borders" mean exactly? A new Gallup Poll, released just this week, tells you exactly. Some 750 million people around the globe would like to migrate to another country, the poll says. That's up 40% from just a decade ago. And 21% — 158 million, or roughly half the current U.S. population — want to come to the U.S.

Border Wall: A Necessity

We're all flattered, certainly, but assimilating and making Americans of that many people would be nearly impossible. We need to control the number arriving to be able to ensure that the U.S.'s government, Constitution and unique way of life, emphasizing individual and economic freedom, are respected and preserved. That's why this is important.

Usually, Republicans cave on such issues. They hate being called "mean," "racist," "nativist," and other names thrown at them by leftists merely for protecting our border. So be it.

But this time there's at least a glimmer of hope that influential GOP members of Congress will stand with Trump. Sen. Lindsey Graham, for one, issued a statement saying, among other things: "It's simple: We as Americans have the right to decide who gets to come into our country, not immigrants seeking to force their way in."

If You Build It, They Won't Come

House members have proposed legislation to show we're serious about our borders, though in the new Democrat-led Congress such legislation has virtually no chance. Still, we would hope that our politicians would make clear to their constituents, who might not understand what's at stake: Nations that don't control their borders cease to be nations.

So we hope Trump builds the border wall. It might not keep everyone out, but it will serve to keep many who want to come here illegally out. That's what it's for. And it will also serve as a blazing signal to the rest of the world that the U.S. will welcome all legal immigrants with open arms, but not illegal ones.

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