This week President Trump offered a “compromise” on the stalemate over funding border barriers and the partial government shut down. Here is exactly what was offered:
- The President was willing to extend protection to DACA persons and Temporary Protected Status people for at least three years. During that time, he expected Congress to negotiate legislation that would result in a comprehensive immigration bill.
- The deal would also include $5.6B for border security including barriers.
- It also would provide emergency funding for U.S. areas hit by hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters.
- The package would include an extension of the Violence Against Women Act.
- In exchange, Trump would sign the appropriation bill that would allow the government workers currently furloughed to return to work.
This was immediately rejected by Democrat leaders in Congress. Pelosi again said she will not allow one dollar of funding for a “wall.” Schumer said he would not support it in the Senate. The President said that the Republican Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, would bring his proposal up for a vote in the Senate.
This offer has both real compromises as part of the package and at the same time attempts to flip the political tables on Democrats forcing them to vote no and keep the government shut down. As I have said before this funding impasse is not about border security or government workers but more about the 2020 elections. Especially from the Democrats view.
Looking at the proposal in its parts. First, it would allow the Dreamers and the TPS people to have some certainty in their life. The President would extend their protection for three years while Congress negotiated a comprehensive immigration bill. This is more than enough time to get to a deal on immigration and if they do it quicker both of these groups would be included. Some Democrats criticized the offer because it did not include a pathway to citizenship, but everyone realizes that any immigration bill would address this issue. A comprehensive immigration bill would also allow us to address the other side of illegal immigration that occurs in the form of visa overstays. This happens more at airports than borders. There are estimates that show about 50,000 Irish immigrants have overstayed a visa and are in the country illegally.
Second, what the President asked for was $5.6B for border security including funds for barriers. President Trump has modified his position several times on this issue, but it does not appease the Democrats. His original proposal called for a wall the entire border length. This was not feasible, and he realized it was not doable and was not needed everywhere. He modified his request. Third, he also realized that a “wall” was not the answer and now talks of barriers that would include a steel fence that Border Patrol agents could look through to see what was occurring on the other side. Another modification.
If we are all honest about this, we know two basic things. We have to do something to enhance border security. Right now, in Tijuana, there are thousands of Central American immigrants massing at the border. Another caravan of migrants is presently moving through Mexico and a third caravan is being formed in Honduras. The cost of housing, feeding and educating the children of these migrants will exceed the $5.6B the President is asking. We also have to acknowledge that the Democrat leadership is playing to the left wing of the party which is more interested in being anti-Trump than getting anything done. To compromise now might allow, in their eyes, Trump to gain a victory and opposing him is more important to them.
Speaking of the caravans I have noticed that the new Mexican President is allowing migrants to apply for “temporary asylum” in Mexico while they await their immigration status in the United States. In watching interviews of the migrants, I hear over and over that they want to get to the United States and make money. If they are fleeing Honduras for fear of their lives, then they are safe in Mexico. They can simply apply for political asylum in Mexico and remain there. But the reality is they are heading for the United States where they have been told they can easily find jobs and be taken care of with benefits. That is not political asylum but rather economic migration. It has taken place for centuries but does not meet the criteria of “asylum” under the law. The migrants have been coached by activists on what to say and border agents have even found the sheets of paper printed in Spanish on what they need to say.
The vast majority of these migrants do not speak English and have no real job skills that would benefit our economy. Nations such as Australia have set requirement for immigrants. Immigrants need to have skill sets that are both needed in the country and will allow them to support themselves. One of the advantages of being an island nation is they don’t have to erect barriers on their borders to stop a flow of illegal immigrants.
So once again I have to call on the Democrats to do the job you were sent to Washington to do. Solve problems and that means you have to compromise. I said the same thing to conservative Republicans in the House. This my way or the highway attitude that so many politicians take serves nobody over the long run. Schumer and the Democrats can block the legislation that Trump is proposing by simply filibustering the proposal. But then the American people will see that it is Democrats digging their heels in on one part of the issue and ignoring all the benefits of the other parts. They want the entire deal to be to their liking or they will block it in any way they can. In other words, give me everything I want, and you get nothing you want and then I will agree.
I have reached a point where I would now support two things that I have not supported in the past:
Term limits on a member of Congress in both the House and Senate. Time to send these septuagenarians home to retire; and the elimination of Rule 22 in the Senate. This is the rule that required 60 votes to pass anything and both Democrats and Republicans have abused it to a point where nothing gets passed. I have supported the rule in the past acknowledging that good legislation could normally get 60 votes. But the hyper-partisanship now in the Senate means it is being used more for political purposes than legislative purposes.