I really don’t like Trump’s threat to impose escalating tariffs on Mexico unless it stops illegal immigrants from entering the United States.
But I dislike even more the U.S. Congress’ appalling inaction on immigration reform. Many members of Congress love to sit back and criticize Trump as he takes drastic action to control illegal immigration. But they do nothing themselves to pass sensible legislation creating a workable immigration system.
Immigration is an unmistakable congressional responsibility. It’s not a state responsibility. It’s not the president’s responsibility to make policy. Congress should be making the laws and the Trump administration should be carrying them out.
A humanitarian crisis exists at the border. U.S. resources are being overwhelmed. Between congressional neglect and conflicting and confusing court opinions, the border is a total mess. More immigration judges are needed, more social workers, more facilities, and more law enforcement.
If lawmakers don’t like what Trump is doing, how about taking action themselves? Among other things, sensible laws are needed to treat immigrants from Mexico and Central America similarly. Laws forcing catch and release need to be changed.
Why is Congress paralyzed on this issue? I fully recognize that Republicans and Democrats, and various factions within each party, are far apart on immigration solutions. But they should be putting forth plans, debating them, voting, putting members of Congress on record, and at least trying to get something passed.
The Democratic House should pass an immigration plan. The Republican Senate should pass an immigration plan. Take some actual votes. Then see what the differences are and see if it’s possible to find some common ground. Let the American people see both plans and weigh in.
I get that Democrats don’t want funding for a wall. I get that Republicans don’t want amnesty and an easy path to citizenship. But they are much more likely to find things they can agree on if they each put forth some real legislation and let voters provide input.
It is outrageous that Congress is incapable of acting on one of the most important current issues facing the country.
Trump is frequently too impetuous, too rash, too impractical. But at least he’s taking action. That’s more than Congress is doing. Congress has no standing to criticize Trump while it is incapable of taking action itself.