In the 35 days of the longest federal government shutdown in history, President Trump again showed himself to be the only one interested in compromising, the only one interested in securing the border, and the only one trying to make a deal.
In the last of his major national addresses on the Democrat-created border impasse, the president offered the opposing party big wins on immigration that they’ve been seeking for years. In exchange, he asked for common sense border security measures, many of which Democrats themselves supported at various times in the recent past. That’s how serious the president was about getting the humanitarian and security crisis at the border resolved.
But as she did with every offer from him, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) scornfully rejected President Trump’s attempt at compromise. This time she did it before he even spoke.
As the effective leader of one of the country’s major parties, that’s her right. But she can’t then claim to be interested in compromise or solutions. Her refusal to consider the president’s proposals, especially in the absence of any counter-offer, increasingly appears calculated solely to deny President Trump a political victory, but it has very real consequences.
Pelosi put her feud with the president above not only the 800,000 federal workers impacted by the partial government shutdown but also the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens covered under either Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs.
In choosing the path she did, Pelosi has made it so she has no interest in reaching a deal. All that matters to her is proving to the most deranged elements of the open-borders left that she is willing to do anything to thwart the president they hate and prevent any real security improvements at the border.
President Trump’s offer made major concessions to Democrats’ immigration priorities. “In order to build the trust and goodwill necessary to begin real immigration reform, there are two more elements to my plan,” the president said. “Number one is three years of legislative relief for 700,000 DACA recipients brought here unlawfully by their parents at a young age many years ago. This extension will give them access to work permits, social security numbers, and protection from deportation.”
Democrats have been trying to normalize the status of illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children for almost 18 years. Every time this proposal has come up in Congress, it has failed, even when Democrats were in control. The reason is simple: sensible members of Congress did not think it wise to protect those who broke our immigration laws while it was still so easy to infiltrate the border in the same way. No normalization of status without border security, you might say.
Then, in 2012, President Obama did an end-run around Congress and put the almost certainly unconstitutional DACA program in place, putting these younger illegal immigrants in a questionable, tenuous legal category while doing nothing to secure the border. Since then, Democrats repeatedly have expressed interest in giving these illegal immigrants real, constitutional, legislative protection for the first time.
Democrats could have had that if they would just agree to a set of broadly popular, common sense border security measures, including the 200 or so miles of physical barriers that Border Patrol agents tell us they desperately need in order properly to protect our country.
President Trump’s approach was the essence of compromise, in direct contrast to Nancy Pelosi’s “our way or the highway” insanity that kept the government closed, the border unsecure, and the donations from deluded “Resistance” billionaires and millionaires flowing into Democrat coffers.
Subsequent events showed just how far to the fringe Speaker Pelosi really is. Even the liberal Washington Post called for her to compromise at one point. Luckily, more and more Democrats are willing to play ball, regardless of what Pelosi wants.
No compromise ever fully satisfies all sides. But as President Trump said in his address to the nation, if the two sides are going to build the goodwill necessary to get what we all want—an open government, a secure border, and a regular immigration system—we’ve got to start compromising somewhere.
So far, President Trump is the only one signaling any willingness to make a deal.
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