Editorial: Would you prefer a bipartisan deal that increases border security—or no deal and just a lot of talk from now ‘til Election Day?

View of Tecate, Mexico, from the American side of the border. (Greg Bulla via Unsplash)

View of Tecate, Mexico, from the American side of the border. (Greg Bulla via Unsplash)

By Pat Kreitlow

January 31, 2024

Trump says the quiet part out loud and US Rep. Derrick Van Orden says he wants no part of a bipartisan deal.

[Editor’s Note: This editorial was first published in our daily newsletter. Click Subscribe at the top of this page to receive our free daily updates.]

There’s never a shortage of talk about immigration and the US border with Mexico, but a group of Republicans and Democrats in Washington is close to an agreement on a package that would put limits on asylum seeking while also sending more resources to better secure the border and stop drug smuggling at points of entry.

Sounds too good to be true? Alas, you may be right. 

Some Senate Republicans are urging their colleagues to approve a multi-billion dollar bill that includes new limits on how many immigrants a president can allow to temporarily live and work in the US while their asylum claims are processed. Democrats working on the package have backed off demands for a so-called pathway to citizenship—another reason, say Republican senators, for their colleagues to say yes to what they claim is the best possible deal.

But the best possible bipartisan deal has been labeled “dead on arrival” by far-right House Speaker Mike Johnson and others, now that former President Donald Trump has made clear he wants no border bill to pass before the election—in order to prevent President Joe Biden from getting any credit.

“I will have no part of it,” tweeted US Rep. Derrick Van Orden, rejecting a compromise deal despite his own steady stream of social media posts insisting the immigration problem is urgent.

Upon taking control of the House one year ago, Republicans rushed through an immigration and border package—and they have repeatedly demanded that Democrats and President Biden accept HR 2 or they’ll cause a government shutdown. The measure has been roundly criticized for being poorly written to the point where basic protections and processes would grind to a complete stop. 

That would have the opposite effect being sought by the bipartisan lawmakers, including Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, author of the Stop Fentanyl at the Border Act.

“We owe it to the American people to find a compromise that helps secure our border and stop the flow of fentanyl coming into our communities,” Baldwin said. “And I am committed to being part of the solution.”

So while the work is being done by some members of Congress to pass a bipartisan solution, the obstruction by Trump and others appears to ensure that securing the border, reducing asylum, and blocking fentanyl imports will remain just a campaign issue instead of an actual crisis that needs addressing right now.

Author

  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.

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