The editor has been busy feeding the interactive timeline and preparing for the next round of visualizations. The timeline is now current up to Valentine’s Day, but due to travel, updates won’t resume until February 25.

I would encourage readers to visit the timeline and filter by the category “Border.” While all sides on this issue have been sticking to their talking points, they have also been preparing for Trump’s declaration of emergency, which finally happened on February 15. As the debate moves into crisis mode, it will be interesting to see whether the historical references change or whether the terms of the debate are already set. Justifying a crisis means convincing others that the current state is unusual in history. At the same time Trump seems ready to claim he is just following precedent.

For a jaw-dropping use of the past to claim an emergency, see Rep. Louie Gohmert’s recent statement below. Here, asylum seekers are likened to Pancho Villa’s incursions. Both are “invasions.” Both require an emergency, if not military, response.

More updates after February 25!

Rep. Louie Gohmert: Woodrow Wilson sent troops to the border in response to an invasion by a small gang; now we have 51,000 border apprehensions a month

Louie GohmertWe had a situation under President Woodrow Wilson where a small part of Pancho Villa’s gang came across the border into the United States, killed some families, and then went back into Mexico.

Devout Democrat that Woodrow Wilson was, he apparently saw that small incursion as an invasion. He sent–and I have asked the Congressional Research Service for their best numbers, and the estimate, taken from articles and information they had gotten, was probably around 75,000 of a new group called the National Guard–new back in the early 1900s. He sent them down to stand guard on the border–75,000–and sent General John Pershing down into Mexico pursuing Pancho Villa’s troops. They didn’t ever get him; they got a lot of his lieutenants. But, apparently, when 75,000 people were put on the border, there was no more invasion.

If you look at the U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Section 4–this is our Constitution–says: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion.”

Now, 51,000 [border apprehensions] in a month is many, many times more than the folks that Pancho Villa had come in and kill Americans. Would the gentleman consider that an invasion, what we have going on on our southern border?

–Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Issues of the Day, House Floor, January 30, 2019

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