- - Thursday, December 7, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Chicken is a game usually won by the boldest and most irresponsible player in the game. Democrats usually prevail because they know how to place the blame on the other player. Republicans, eager to avoid being seen as not very nice, usually threaten no one and settle for a friendly pat on the head. But this time they must gird their bashful loins, grit their teeth and refuse to yield. At stake is more than money. With the immigration issue on the table the outcome is a matter of national security.

With a government shutdown looming at midnight Friday, Democrats are attempting to roll Congress with an omnibus stuffed with dodgy immigration provisions, including citizenship for the so-called “Dreamers” — young people brought here illegally by their parents and granted temporary status by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Republicans propose a short-term spending deal that would push back the crack-up until Dec. 22 or maybe even Dec. 30.

President Trump warned that Democrats’ stubbornness over spending could ultimately come down to a battle over immigration policy. “It could happen,” he said just before a Wednesday Cabinet meeting. “Democrats maybe will want to shut down this country because they want people flowing into our country.” Leaving the door open to home and hearth is an odd way of serving the American people.

If Republicans can keep their nerve as the clock ticks on, they hold a better plan that gives relief to the 700,000 Dreamers without sacrificing the safety of 325 million Americans. The Security, Enforcement, and Compassion United in Reform Efforts, or the Secure Act, introduced Tuesday by Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, would protect Dreamers while curtailing illegal immigration and cracking down on criminal aliens. It further incorporates key provisions from the Bridge Act, sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat, which protects the Dreamers from deportation. But unless Republicans include a path to citizenship, Democrats won’t consider it as a “good faith effort to provide protection for the Dreamers, including those who were enrolled in DACA,” says Mr. Durbin.

It’s always great fun for the donkey party to threaten a federal shutdown if Republicans refuse to accept their terms. They’re counting on Republicans to surrender for fear of being blamed by the Democratic media for putting employees out of work at Christmastime. The federal bureaucrats actually welcome shutdowns — they get to stay home and watch old movies, and draw their pay for those days. If you’re a reclining bureaucrat, what’s not to like?

Congress must keep in mind that their constituents’ primary concern isn’t the threat of a government shutdown, but the safety of their homes and streets. A Rasmussen poll conducted Monday found that 61 percent of likely voters believe it’s important to secure the border against further illegal immigration before resolving the problem of the Dreamers.

Americans are a compassionate people, and at no time do they have more heart for the plight of the less fortunate than in the spirit of the season of the Christ child. In that spirit, Congress could move swiftly to resolve the immigration dilemma by extending the program that allows them to live and work in the United States. But Congress cannot allow a game of chicken to compromise national security. National security is non-negotiable.


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