Now that the President has signed the appropriations bill that will allow the government to be reopened, we all have to hope that Congress will now get serious and begin to forge a compromise bill on border security and immigration.
The first thing the bill should do is address our current immigration system. Congress needs to put down strong language on the qualifications for new immigrants. Second, it needs to create a permanent solution for the DACA problem. These children were brought to this country by their parents and the United States is all they know. They should be given permanent status and a pathway to citizenship. Third, we need to look at the current number of people in this country illegally, and that includes visa overstays as well as southern border crossers. We are not going to deport over 10 million people and those that have been here the longest and can show they have been law-abiding people and paying their taxes should be given preferential treatment in remaining in the country with a pathway to citizenship should they desire to avail themselves of that pathway.
Then we have to look at border security. Trump has already modified his position on the “wall.” He must realize by now that we are not going to fund a wall on the entire southern border. But the experts in this situation are the Border Patrol agents. They are on the frontline of the problem and there appears to be close to unanimity among them that barriers are needed and are effective in certain parts of the border. Couple this with the technologies that we have, and we can take a major step in securing our border. This is taking what Trump wants and what the Democrats want and forging a compromise that can work.
We also have to slow down the rhetoric on both sides. There is a crisis on the southern border and anyone that denies this fact is playing politics. Democrats keep saying it is a manufactured crisis, but you can be assured that if President Obama were calling for more barriers, they would be in lockstep support. The Democrat leadership are all on record as calling for more barriers and tougher steps on illegal immigration. But politically it is not chic for them to stick with this position, so they now say they have changed their minds. What has changed is that Donald Trump is in the White House and they are adamant that he will not be able to get a single victory before 2020. If the role were reversed, I believe the Republicans would be acting the same way.
The Democrats have been saying this is a manufactured crisis and there is no need for any drastic action. Right now, there are thousands of migrants in Tijuana who are trying to gain entry to the United States. There is another caravan of migrants traveling from Central America with the same intent of getting to our southern border and crossing into the United States.
They say they are claiming political asylum but when offered that same protection in Mexico they decline and say their goal is to get to the United States. In the media we see them interviewed and the majority of the interviews have them saying they don’t want to stop in Mexico but want to get to the United States and get a job and earn money. This is not political migration but rather economic migration. Can we as a nation absorb every person from another country that says they simply want to come to the United States? They have been sold a dream that is not reality. They are uneducated, most speak only Spanish and have very little in the way of job skills for today’s job market. The massing of thousands more at the border is a crisis and not a manufactured one.
The joint conference committee organized in the Congress has members from both parties and members of both the House and the Senate. Their task is to negotiate a compromise bill. Perhaps they should look up that word in the dictionary. There they would find two definitions:
- An agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.
- Settle a dispute by mutual concession
The first step in getting that compromise is having both sides lay out what they want to be included in a bill. Where there is agreement it automatically gets included. Where there is disagreement each side has to prioritize what they really want and give each side some of its priorities.
To Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer, that means just saying no to any barriers will not forge a compromise. To the President and other Republicans that means you have to adopt new forms of technology in securing the border.
This Joint Committee has three weeks to lay out a basic outline of such an agreement. It is not as if they have not been discussing this before this time. They all know what they want and what the other side wants and now they have to come together and get a bill ready to take to the floor of the House and Senate. That is what the American public not only wants but should demand.
Cong. Ben McAdams is a newly elected member from Utah. This is one of the seats the Democrats flipped in taking control of the House. He went on record today saying that barriers might be needed on some parts of the border. He also supported new technologies. There are a lot of new members that won a seat in Congress with the promise of changing the system and working across the aisle. Now they will be put to the test. Will they allow the far left and far right to deter them from getting the business of the American public done?
I believe that the Senate can forge a bill that gets bipartisan support by making some of the changes I outlined above. If that happens the pressure will be on Speaker Pelosi to allow her members to vote for their constituencies and get a compromise passed. Over and over she and Chuck Schumer said that if the President would just open the government they would negotiate and do so in good faith. I go back to the definition of compromise and hope they understand what that means as well.
Perhaps we need to find the next Monty Hall and realize that there are good deals to be had behind the appropriate door.