Before one considers the proposals made by President Trump to open negotiations to get the government back in business, it is important to understand that the Democrats, under the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, do not want to end the government shutdown.
Yeah! Yeah! They claim that Trump and the Senate Republicans are prolonging the shutdown, but Pelosi could end it just as fast as Trump. All she has to do is give Trump some border barrier funding, take the things Democrats have been demanding, and the shutdown is over. But Pelosi believes that the longer the shutdown continues, the more Democrats will benefit in 2020.
That is why Democrats are proffering a rather unique and irrational argument – at least irrational if you sincerely want to end the shutdown. They say that they will not even negotiate until Trump caves and opens the government on their terms … period. Their suggestion that there can be no talks until the government is open is as ridiculous as a school board saying they will not engage in any talks until the union ends a strike. You need talks … negotiations … on the critical issues to end a work shutdown, whether federal employees or school teachers.
No sooner had Trump’s speech ended than Pelosi called his proposal a non-starter. Senate Democrat Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois demanded that Trump open the government TODAY! Virtually every Democrat member of Congress has echoed the same demand and promise – open the government and we will negotiate immigration.
Anyone with an I.Q, higher than a hockey score understands that without the leverage of the shutdown there is no chance in Hell that the Democrats will negotiate immigration in good faith – or even bad faith. Trump’s border protection plan — the wall — would be less likely than a return to Prohibition. We have seen that old movie before – a number of times. President Reagan granted amnesty, and the Democrat reneged on the promised immigration reform.
The Trump proposal has some old elements and some new offerings. They are a mix of his demands, Democrats demands and areas of actual past agreement.
On Trump’s side is the all-important $5.7 billion for border security, including some physical barriers. That is the President’s only non-negotiable demand for openers. It would provide for 230 miles of border barrier in the coming year in places designated by the border enforcement community. It would most likely be composed of steel slat fencing and other barrier systems. In other places, it would deploy technology and natural barriers, such as mountains and rivers with steep cliffs alongside.
The Pelosi Democrats want a reinstatement of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) which allows for a special TEMPORARY residency for temporary asylum seekers – which Democrats construe as PERMANENT residency, of course. This involved people like the Haitians who were homeless after a major earthquake ravaged their island nation. Trump will give it another three years while they negotiate a more comprehensive reform measure, but he believes temporary asylum should mean temporary.
Trump wants to add 2750 border control agents, and use new technologies, such as drones, to patrol the border. He also proposes a program for asylum seeker to apply in their home nation through the American embassy or consulates.
In terms of Democrat demands, Trump would support legislation to give the DACA “Dreamers” a three-year protection from deportation as comprehensive reform was being negotiated. This would be done by legislation since both Trump and Obama said the President does not have the authority to deal with the issue by Executive Order – although Obama rejected his own legal counsel and did it by EO anyway.
Responding to Democrat public requests, Trump would add 75 judges to process asylum seekers in a more expeditious manner. He would also provide $800 million in “humanitarian funding” for a range of border programs and practices. Separation of children would be held to a minimum.
One of the scripted Democrat complaints was that Trump made his proposal without any input from the Democrat leadership – although he did host a serious of meetings with Democrat legislators. The Democrat complaint, however, is more nonsense. In a negotiated situation, it is common and proper for one side or the other to make a proposal – to which the other side responds. The can agree or disagree to certain points or present their own proposal. The only unacceptable response is no response.
The fact that the Democrat position is a refusal to negotiate until the government shutdown is ended can only ensure that it will be a long time before the federal workers are back on the job. There will come a day when the federal workers, the contractors, the Dreamers, the American public and a critical number of congressional Democrats will realize that the government shutdown will not end until there is an immigration deal that includes the $5.7 billion funding for border barriers and protection.
What is remarkable about this standoff is that virtually everything Trump laid out in his speech has been endorsed, supported and voted for by most congressional Democrats – including billions of dollars for a wall. If Democrats truly had empathy for the furloughed workers, they would see that $5.7 billion dollars as a very small price to pay to get the federal workers back on the job, provide protection for the Dreamers and those currently here under the temporary asylum program, and to enhance border security – which they claim to support.
Congressional Democrats and their allies in the major media are working hard to get the Republicans in the Senate to break with Trump, but so far, the GOP and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are holding firm. It is more likely to take break-away Democrats in the House and Senate to end the shutdown – and that means giving Trump his wall, like it or not. The only question is how much suffering and damage Pelosi is willing to make the nation endure for her narrow and petty political agenda.
So, there ‘tis.