A large number of Americans have been troubled by gridlock in Washington, so some hopeful signs this month are welcome. One is over immigration, which has been a big issue in Arizona for years while politicians have been unwilling to work together on any meaningful reforms. This has led to huge numbers of people continuing to enter the country illegally on the southern border.
President Trump has taken some action on removing people who have been ordered out of the country in court, which certainly seems reasonable. However, a federal court has blocked that, something both sides of the issue expected.
Meanwhile, a truly bipartisan effort involving Arizona’s Democratic senator, Kyrsten Sinema, seeks a serious improvement that could quickly take away the incentive for many people to cross the border. Her effort with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and seven other senators came in the form of a letter last week to the homeland security secretary urging a screening process that would quickly remove immigrants who do not have a valid asylum claim. That gets to the heart of a key immigration problem — the fact that asylum claims are delayed in court for months. It is obvious that many of the claims are not valid and people — although they have serious needs and a strong desire for a better life — are taking advantage of the system. The suggested reform likely would greatly reduce the number of people coming.
Many Americans sympathize with the plight of the immigrants and want to help them, but there is little discussion about increasing taxes to pay for that. The United States is now borrowing a fourth of every dollar it spends.
As to the budget deficit, a compromise was reached this week on raising the debt limit and averting a budget crisis. While many partisans on both sides are not happy, the deal seemed desirable under the circumstances and will keep the government running into the next presidential term. The agreement was worked out by Trump’s treasury secretary and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with support from congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle. The government and military will be funded — without huge increases but certainly more than we can afford long term. Nevertheless, bipartisanship prevented gridlock.
A willingness by individual members of Congress to work together produces results, and that is what most people want.