President Donald Trump delivers a televised address to the nation on funding for a border wall from the Oval Office of the White House, Jan. 8.

President Donald Trump delivers a televised address to the nation on funding for a border wall from the Oval Office of the White House, Jan. 8.


Photo:

carlos barria/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The dialogue of the deaf that is America’s immigration debate was on full display Tuesday night as President Trump and Democratic Congressional leaders talked past one another to an American public that could be forgiven for tuning out and returning to more illuminating programming like “The Bachelor.”

Mr. Trump made his case for more funding by asserting there is “a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.” He then offered a parade of crimes committed by illegal immigrants that are horrible but are unlikely to be stopped by a “steel barrier” at the border. Barriers have worked in some places, but determined criminals will find other ways to smuggle drugs and people into the United States.

Mr. Trump was most honest when he talked about the humanitarian harm caused by the recent migrant rush seeking asylum in the U.S. This really is overwhelming U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which needs more resources to take care of families and children. They come because U.S. policy lets illegals claim asylum and stay here and work during the months or years it takes to hear their cases. Democrats ought to help change that perverse incentive, but instead they want to blame Mr. Trump for being “cruel.”

Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer also showed no sign of compromise, blaming Mr. Trump for the partial government shutdown and refusing to talk about border security until the government is funded. But then they’ll have no reason to provide more money for the border. Democrats are going for total political victory because they think Republicans will start to waver in Congress and vote to reopen the government.

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The obvious deal is for Democrats to provide border money to Mr. Trump in return for legal status for Dreamer immigrants and others like Haitians on temporary visas facing deportation soon. But neither side showed any interest in such common sense on Tuesday. Back to your regularly scheduled political morass.



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