As all of us are too painfully aware, we are in the midst of another government shutdown to the immediate detriment of about 800,000 individuals — 420,000 working temporarily without pay and 380,000 on furlough who are out of work. All this is over border security that I agree we need to have, BUT how do we get there?
I state up front I am not a fan of a wall, as I feel it is not the character of this country to wall individuals and families out of our country. However, the questions are: “How did we get here?” (not to assess blame, but to understand why) and “What do we do about it?”
The “How did we get here?” seems to fall squarely on the shoulders of Congress. For years our elected representatives have stonewalled efforts to develop a reasonable immigration policy that addresses the need for security, the need for low cost agricultural labor, and the impact on underage youth — “dreamers” — who attend our schools and grow up as Americans. Much of this impasse is due to party politics and an unwillingness to do what we sent the representatives to do – find solutions to the difficult and challenging situations confronting our nation, even if the solutions are not perfect and will likely involve compromise.
However, it appears our representatives are more focused on party power and party loyalty than doing what is needed for our country.
How do we get past this impasse that is hurting so many Americans, not only the more than three quarters of a million described above, but also all the businesses that depend upon the monies that those individuals and families spend?
Perhaps there is a need for some sort of physical barrier as a part of border security or perhaps not. But has anyone explained to the general public, us, the voters, a comprehensive plan for border security? NO! What the president says is “Gimme $5 billion or I’ll close the border or I’ll use troops to build a wall,” (to get around the constitutionally enumerated power to generate revenue given exclusively to the House of Representatives.)
On the other side we hear “We’ll give you $1.3 billion for border security, but no money for a wall of any sort.”
Neither position is likely to be 100 percent, absolutely correct. But how are we to know? Neither side in this debate has explained to us, the voters, a complete plan that explains how their ideas would address the immediate border security needs, nor have they explained how they would resolve the bigger issue of immigration policy.
Can our representatives, (Senators Daines and Tester and Representative Gianforte) believe we, the voters, are too stupid to understand. Or are they too wrapped up in their own short-sighted re-election needs?
I say to all our leaders, WAKE UP! Get on with the business of our country! Solve the difficult problems that confront our citizens. Give us a detailed comprehensive explanation of a plan that addresses the issue of border security, work together, compromise where needed, and get OUR government operating again!
— Chris Hagar lives in Bigfork