Dan Bongino vs. Geraldo Rivera on caravans: 'What is your answer?'

Dan Bongino recently posed a simple yet stunningly effective question to Geraldo Rivera. During a recent segment on Hannity, the two fiercely debated the issue of how law enforcement officers should handle the migrant caravans trying to enter the United States. At one point, Bongino asked Geraldo the following question: "You're standing in the face of these border patrol agents, patrolling our border, just doing their jobs to keep our nation secure. What are you telling them to do when a rock comes at their face? What? What is your answer? Nobody produces an answer!"

Bongino's question, while simple, was powerful. It is safe to say that no sane person would encourage the use of tear gas if there were an available and effective alternative. However, as Geraldo's answer clearly demonstrated, it is simpler to appeal to people's emotions and to blame the border patrol agents than to provide a legitimate and effective solution to the problem. According to Geraldo:

This is what you do not do, Dan. Do not shoot tear gas at women with small children. You and Sean are both the grandsons or great grandsons of immigrants. Italian immigrants, Irish immigrants, just they were slandered like you are slandering these people. They have diseases. They're bringing disease. Read the newspapers from the middle of the nineteenth century. The Irish were bringing disease. The Italian were diseases. This is a slander. What you don't do is you don't—

You send Spanish-speaking ambassadors to the crowd. He explained to them that they are not able to rush the border. We explained to them the facts. The reality of what is happening. This is the stand on the Trump presidency.

Geraldo's answer is unresponsive and completely misses the point. First, rather than directly addressing Bongino's question, Geraldo reminded Hannity and Bongino of their roots and backgrounds. This has nothing to do with how border agents are supposed to respond when they face imminent harm. Second, Geraldo's suggestion to send Spanish-speaking ambassadors into the crowd for "explanatory" purposes is not realistic. The president made it clear (on numerous occasions) that nobody would be permitted to enter the country illegally. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that the use of "ambassadors" would magically quell those rushing the border and threatening the border patrol agents.

Geraldo's argument is also unconvincing and logically flawed. While both men showed empathy for border agents forced to use tear gas on at least one occasion, the disconnect revolved around whom to blame and how best to deal with the migrants rushing our borders and threatening our agents. While Geraldo opposed the use of tear gas, his argument was basically an emotional appeal, and thereby flawed. First, speaking about the use of tear gas, Geraldo stated: "This goes to my soul. This tear gas choked me." This had nothing to do with why he opposed the use of tear gas or how he would answer Bongino's question.

Geraldo's argument also failed to account for the legal arguments relating to asylum. Specifically, in a recent case, the Supreme Court affirmed the fact that Congress has given the president broad authority to limit or stop aliens from entering the country. The Court also explained that the Executive Branch grants asylum on a discretionary basis and when certain legal conditions are met.

Moreover, pursuant to the House report on the 1952 immigration bill, the president has "the authority to suspend the entry of all aliens if he finds that their entry would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, for such period as he shall deem necessary" (H.R.RPT.1365, 82d Cong., 2d Sess., at 53 [Feb. 14, 1952])." The president's power to impose such restrictions on immigration is plenary.

Simply stated, what should our border agents do when some people who are attempting to enter the country illegally throw rocks at them and try to injure them? Geraldo was unable or unwilling to adequately answer this question. As a result, he resorted to an emotional plea. Given the language of the 1952 immigration bill and the recent Supreme Court opinion, Geraldo's emotional plea was unconvincing.

Mr. Hakim is a political writer and commentator and an attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker and other online publications.


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