Though Trump wants permanent barriers but only temporary protection for ‘Dreamers,’ some difference-splitting could bridge the divide: Our view
At midnight on Monday, the partial shutdown of the federal government reaches the one-month mark, with hundreds of thousands of workers going unpaid and vital services not being performed.
This is a sad commentary on the mindless partisanship that has gripped American politics, making Washington seem more like a kindergarten than a beacon of democratic governance that much of the world has envied for centuries.
The record-long shutdown is putting a damper on an economy already showing signs of slowing, thanks to rising interest rates, sluggish growth overseas, President Donald Trump’s tariff policy and the declining impact of the 2017 tax cuts.
With people not being paid, contracts not being let and Small Business Administration loans not being made, a shutdown is making matters worse. It is also denigrating America’s global brand as a country that can manage its affairs to the benefit of all.
OTHER VIEWS: Democrats now are the ones prolonging the shutdown
It is time to bring a swift end to this nonsensical shutdown, and provide relief to workers, by reopening the agencies that remain unfunded.
Once that is done, Democrats and Republicans can make a deal on immigration through the normal legislative process. That deal should include more money for immigration enforcement, including physical barriers in certain areas, as well as a path to lasting legal status for approximately 700,000 “Dreamers” who were brought to the USA illegally as children.
The sounds you heard over the weekend were of the two parties edging closer to such an agreement, one that could and should have been made long ago. Trump, in his speech from the White House on Saturday, threw the Dreamers into the mix. Democrats offered to cough up another $1 billion for border enforcement (though not for Trump’s “wall”).
Someday, it is possible that a comprehensive immigration package will be enacted that will combine improved border enforcement, employer verification, guest workers and an arduous path to legality for many of the 11 million people thought to be here illegally. But for now, a deal covering more enforcement money and deportation relief for Dreamers is the deal that is politically plausible.
As early as Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Senate is expected to vote on Trump’s plan to increase spending for personnel, drug detection and immigration courts, plus $5.7 billion for an additional 230 miles of fencing.
While Trump’s plan is a non-starter in the Democratic-controlled House, particularly because it includes permanent barriers but only temporary protection for Dreamers, some creative difference-splitting could bridge the divide.
In many ways, this battle resembles the fight over police funding in the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton was determined to fund 100,000 police officers to show that Democrats could be tough on crime and Republicans were equally adamant that the money should be rebranded as a GOP block grant program. In the end, the two sides did what legislative bodies are supposed to do. They found a compromise and declared victory.
They should do the same today on immigration and get on with the other important business of government.
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