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Our View: Time to get real about shutdown damage, border security fix

January 23, 2019

Before the politics of the government shutdown goes too far afield — assuming they haven’t already — the president and Congress need to refocus on two basic needs.

Restarting the government is first and needs to be done to contain all the consequential damage that comes from an extended shutdown.

Second, but simultaneously, the president’s call for better border security must be heeded. It remains a top national security issue.

Both the president and the Democratic opposition need to get serious about these topics. They also need to get real on border security.

For all the strong imagery of “the wall”, a physical barrier isn’t more than a piece of the solution to border security. Walls work well against invading hordes of the middle ages. Flying machines, ships, tunnels and technology all defeat the value of a wall. A physical barrier is helpful to the overall need to reduce easy illegal entry into the United States. Technology, though, provides effective and efficient means of monitoring movement in border areas.

Better deployment of technology and more pervasive use of it is needed not only in remote stretches of desert borders but also at legal border crossing locations. Those remain a vulnerable point for smuggling of both humans and drugs.

Border security is pricey but it is also achievable. National security is one of the top responsibilities not only of the president but of every federal elected official.

The current actions — tit for tat power plays, finger wagging and overt hostilities — are not only self-indulgent and detrimental to this country but they also border on malfeasance.

Their jobs are to get this job done: Secure the borders and re-open government. Are they incapable of doing their jobs? It certainly looks that way.

President Trump doesn’t have to suffer a political loss to trade a wall for comprehensive border security. As a self-styled dealsman, he should understand that one sells the benefits instead of features.

Which do Americans want more: A wall or a secure border?

The Democrats don’t have to suffer a political loss, either, since they universally support (or are on record as previously supporting) border security.

The petty political showboating over the shutdown is tedious and tiresome. An exasperated nation is beginning to wonder whether posturing about principles is just cover for ineptitude.

We join the growing chorus of those calling for the reopening of government and a real fix for border security.

— Today’s News-Herald

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