President Trump has wisely moved to stop separating families at the border, but that won’t remotely end the immigration wars — and may not even mean a permanent end to this dust-up.
With the uproar continuing to mount, including among Republicans on Capitol Hill, Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order to “keep families together,” even as he vowed to “maintain toughness” on border security.
In the short term, this should cool the crisis — provided the courts don’t throw in a new monkey wrench. At issue is a 1997 court settlement that bars the feds from detaining migrant children (even with their parents) for more than 20 days.
Trump hopes to end-run that rule and keep families detained together indefinitely. Yet his executive order will surely face a legal challenge, since the left won’t rest until it forces him to end his “zero tolerance” policy.
All this comes as House Republicans prepare to vote on immigration-reform bills that need Democratic support — with no sign they’ll get it.
With their eyes on winning in November, Democrats prefer to keep riding the current hyper-emotional wave of outrage. Rather than compromise to resolve the crisis, they want total victory — for Trump to delay all prosecutions of adult migrants for illegal entry until their asylum claims are settled, which can take months or even years.
Meanwhile, the president refuses to put his weight behind either of the two bills before the House. That’s left the GOP fractured, even as its leaders push the more moderate bill, which gives Dreamers six years of renewable legal status, ends the diversity-visa lottery and appropriates $25 billion for Trump’s border wall.
But even that measure, lacking Democratic votes, will surely fizzle in the Senate.
Even if the president succeeds in stopping those heart-rending scenes of agonized children, the larger crisis won’t end until leaders on both sides start taking political risks to find a compromise solution.
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