Arguably, the President should have taken the deal last year to get $5 billion for the wall in exchange for a DACA compromise. I supported that then and support it now. But Democrats, having moved left after the election, are unwilling to offer up the compromise again. The President is right to keep the government shutdown going until the Democrats offer up money for the wall.
Securing the border, like defunding Planned Parenthood, is one of those issues that Republicans have long campaigned on, but failed to deliver on. But, unlike defunding Planned Parenthood, Democrats have also supported securing the border, including with a wall, in the past. Multiple Congresses have funded parts of the wall, studies on the wall, or authorized construction even if not the money to go with the authorization.
Increasingly, both Republicans and Democrats are more public with their contempt for the idea. They think it is cruel or would do no good. But securing the border is a national necessity, and the cruelty is in incentivizing illegal immigrants dying in the desert because they are unsurprisingly avoiding those areas with existing border security and walls.
Republicans and their establishment pundits routinely convince themselves that shutdowns do no good and the GOP will get blamed. But now is the best time to do one. They have already lost the House, and the Senate GOP has never really suffered because of a shutdown.
We finally have a President willing to fight for border security and keep the government closed to do it. If Republicans in the Congress cave on this issue, they will be exposing themselves, not the President, and they will pay the price.
Conventional wisdom in Washington, the media, and others are convinced a wall is a waste of time, will do no good, and is a waste of money. I disagree. The President disagrees. And I believe this is the right fight to have. Republicans and Democrats in Washington have long waffled on immigration and what to do about illegal immigration. I continue to maintain the government must spend money south of the border to help Central American countries curtail the issues causing illegal immigration. But in the meantime, the wall is an appropriate measure to stop these caravans from coming and to stop people from thinking they can carry their children through the desert to get into this country.
Likewise, if there is money that can be reprogrammed by the Secretary of Homeland Security or other appropriate entities to pay for the wall, the President should order it. It is time for Washington’s elite in both parties to compromise with the President on this issue and offer up some level of funding to continue construction of the wall.