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OUR OPINION: Split government provides an opportunity

November 8, 2018

In handing control of the U.S. House to Democrats but strengthening Republican control of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, what was the message American voters sent lawmakers in our nation’s capital?

We believe the message was this: No one side possesses all the right answers to the difficult questions of today and both sides should work harder at working together to find common ground for the greater good.

On issues like illegal immigration, for example.

We have used this space time and again through the years to advocate for the compromise necessary to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. With an issue as broad and complex as this one, we have said, neither side should expect to get everything it wants. Extremists on both the left and right who insist on all or nothing produce nothing. Somewhere between a position of an open border and citizenship for everyone and a position of round them all up and jail or deport them all lie reasoned solutions to the many vexing challenges of illegal immigration.

Until decision-makers stop finger-pointing and start talking to one another in meaningful fashion, America will continue lurching from one illegal immigration-related crisis to another and applying only temporary Band-Aid solutions when deeper, long-term care is required.

Only time will tell how the new Congress responds to this year’s midterm election.

Democrats might use the power of their new House majority over the next two years to overzealously exercise oversight of the Trump administration, leading to more gridlock and continuing the perpetual cycle of political payback we see in Washington, D.C., today. Or, forced by voters to share the congressional levers of power, the Democrat-led House and Republican-led Senate might decide to reach across the aisle and work together on issues such as illegal immigration. Perhaps the border wall-for-DACA proposal floated earlier this year is a good place to start that dialogue.

With less than 20 percent of Americans approving of the job Congress is doing today (Gallup, August 2018), embrace of the latter approach strikes us as the more prudent option and more productive strategy, and it’s the path we urge our elected national leaders to take.

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