Our View: End shutdown with a commitment to address border funding

January 13, 2019

It’s time for a mulligan on that “big, beautiful wall.” At this point, it’s clear that Democrats in power aren’t taking border security seriously, and President Trump and the Republicans have offered little more than a vague outline of what border security might look like.

With starting points like these, there’s no way to expect the two sides will ever reach a real compromise that ends the government shutdown while offering Americans necessary improvements to the country’s immigration controls.

There’s not a lot we can add to the ongoing conversation about the shutdown and the border wall — it’s clear both sides are entrenched.

The wall is little more than a symbol of the need for better border security. A physical wall may help prevent some people from coming to the U.S. illegally, but as opponents have been happy to point out, walls can be flown over, or tunneled under. A wall alone won’t solve much, but coupled with other controls, such as sensors, cameras and an increase in Border Patrol officers, it can provide some benefits.

To Trump’s credit, the president has shown some recent willingness to compromise on what shape better border security ultimately takes, but he’s still pushing for a physical barrier to be a part of the package.

Democrats, meanwhile, have good reasons to resist a costly and unproven proposal but they’ve offered almost no alternatives. We’re not going to be digging ourselves out of this mess anytime soon, and it’s clear the politicians on both sides are just waiting for the other to cave. That just might happen, but it’s no way to govern. Instead, Democrats and Republicans ought to agree to take a time-out and regroup.

We suggest both sides agree to end the shutdown with a commitment to address improved border security in the budget, whatever shape that may take. Absent the wall, there’s a lot of discussion that can happen on the immigration front that would appease both sides, including a national rollout of the E-Verify program and a solution that ends the fear of deportation for children of illegal immigrants, the so-called “dreamers,” and offers a path to citizenship.

We’re still two years away from the next elections, and if there was ever a time to stop playing politics and start actually governing, it is now.

— Today’s News-Herald

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