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Our View: Politicians don’t’ want a border solution. It’s bad for their business.

February 1, 2019

A public listening to the shutdown war chronology is apt to think it’s silly the sides are so far apart. After all, both seem to want to the same thing: A government that secures the border and has a workable immigration policy.

Reality is different. The sides do want the same thing. They want political wins.

As far as border security and immigration, neither side has a interest — a political interest, that is — in fixing anything. Solutions result from compromises, which are wonky and dull, at least in comparison to the political storms that galvanize, thus raising money and votes.

A private task force could probably iron out a decent border security and immigration program in a week or two. It would probably include a wall, but it would be called a barrier. It would integrate technology both along the barrier and at vulnerable border crossings, seaports and airports.

The program would likely address wide issues. It would likely involve stringent requirements for legal residency for those who have been in the country for five years or longer. It would expand visas for those who have specific work skills. It would reduce visas for family members and the random lottery.

A security and immigration plan would incorporate a number of minor elements as well, including seasonal work forces and the elimination of E-Verify, which holds employers accountable for assuring workers are authorized. That’s the job of federal immigration officials.

It would probably — given that the goal is a workable plan — affirm the residency and even possibility of citizenship for children raised in this country by illegal immigrants.

It would not please everyone. Not by a long shot. It would, however, provide clarity on security and immigration policy in the first major immigration overhaul since 1986. (The Simpson-Mazzoli Act was sponsored by lawmakers from non-border states who had little political capital at risk.)

Developing such a legislative plan is advantageous to this country. It puts the public — through their elected representatives — in charge of policy that should be in its hands. It would be policy decided as it should be rather than the current de-facto method of handing bits and pieces to the courts.

Such a thing won’t happen. Don’t blame it all on political intransigence, though. Some is incompetence, the kind of legislative skill America gets when it hires representatives based on their perceived fighting ability alone.

Mostly they just don’t want to. Solutions remove the iconic demons that are key to fundraising and re-election.

We hope this jaundiced view is proven wrong.

— Today’s News-Herald

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