President Donald Trump says he is optimistic a deal can be struck to shield “dreamers,” the young undocumented immigrants whose lives he put in jeopardy by stripping them of work permits and deportation protection, beginning March 5. His price, and that of many Republicans, is up to $33 billion in border-security measures, including Trump’s “beautiful” wall.
If that’s the deal, Democrats should take it.
Granted, Trump once told Americans that a border wall, paid for by Mexico, would cost $4 billion. After that, he said $6 billion or $7 billion, and later $10 billion. Now his administration says it’s really $18 billion for 722 miles of wall, of which just 316 miles would be a brand-new structure along the 2,000-mile southwest frontier. Oh, and Mexico’s credit card seems to be missing.
The wall is a dumb idea. It won’t do much to suppress illegal border crossings, which in any event have been falling for decades. And the additional border-security spending proposed by the administration, including thousands of new Border Patrol agents, is largely a waste. Rather than seriously addressing the opioid epidemic, or mounting cyberwarfare threats, or America’s crumbling infrastructure, the president wants to fortify a border where illegal crossings, as measured by Border Patrol apprehensions, are already at their lowest point since the Nixon administration.
But consider how rare it is that a dumb idea in Congress actually buys something smart in return. The wall’s $18 billion price tag would be spread over a decade. If a few billion dollars annually is the trade-off that provides certainty - a pathway to citizenshipfor nearly 700,000 young immigrants it’s worth it.
-The Washington Post