A Take On ‘Compromise’

To The Reader’s Forum:

A headline in the P-J says Tom Reed wants “compromise” over border security. So do I. So, why is “compromise” so hard you might ask? Here’s my take.

First, and foremost, Donald Trump and Republicans mistakenly believe that they can use roughly 25% of the federal government as a “bargaining chip” so that Trump can achieve his signature campaign promise to “build a big, beautiful wall that Mexico will pay for” along the southern U.S. border. Think for a minute. Four things come to my mind – the federal government is NOT a “Democrat” matter so it’s not something they can bargain with; much of what is shut down deals with border security, which can only create or exacerbate a security “crisis” across America; ONLY Americans are paying a “price”; and not paying for forced work is 21st Century “slavery”. In other words, four wrongs don’t make a right. Therefore, before one can negotiate over the specifics of “border security” the government shutdown must end. Hurting people who Trump alleges he is protecting is nonsensical; it’s also “extortion”.

Second, no one really knows what they are supposed to negotiate over. Comprehensive Immigration law and policy reform including DACA, citizenship, work visas, family treatment, asylum, judges, ALL borders including air and water? Perhaps NEW solid wall, NEW steel slat wall, adding razor wire, repairs to existing structures, new/more technology, more border agents, more legal entry locations? Just what is on the table?

Historically, there was “comprehensive” bipartisan immigration reform legislation passed in a Republican Senate, which the Republican House refused to vote on AND likely would have been signed by Obama. Now, the Republican Senate will only bring up what Trump wants, which is anyone’s guess. If it’s only about money, the Democrats have made it clear that they will not allow a precedent for presidential “extortion”. Besides, IF there is a true “crisis” that permits use of presidential “emergency” powers to get money, well, do it. If it’s not a valid crisis then the normal process for compromise is the way to go.

Third, NO ONE I know of is for “open borders”, which means “compromise” is both possible, and likely, presuming the government shutdown ends ASAP. The shutdown belongs to Trump and is now owned by Republicans. They must end it before there are grave consequences and then I’m sure Democrats will come to the bargaining table and WILL compromise.

Paul L. Demler