By Robert Hoffman, guest columnist
The U.S. government shutdown has lasted for three weeks with no end in sight. Many news reports state that more than 400,000 federal workers have not earned their pay because of their furlough, producing hardships on themselves and their families. Most disturbingly, many of these victims face evictions and utility stoppage.
As he stated in his campaign, President Donald Trump wants funding to build a border wall. Expense estimates for a border wall extending from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California range from $20-30 billion. Negotiations between congress and the president suggested other alternatives, such as a fence, which would lower the cost.
Unwilling to compromise, President Trump has threatened to call a national emergency to obtain funding for the wall. Nevertheless, Congress continues to offer alternatives that show more cost effectiveness. The United States currently has a $21.9 trillion debt, and fiscal austerity stands as an important responsibility for America’s future.
Yet, notwithstanding the grueling discussions, the dialogue appears futile. Democratic Rep. Colin Allred of Texas, speaking with CBS’s Face the Nation, said Democrats will negotiate on border security, but points out a difference between border security and building a wall that the United States does not need that he called a waste of money.
On that same program, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, an ally of the president, said Trump feels open to making a broader immigration deal.
I do want the government to open, but this does not stand as a goal, Graham said. The government has to fix a broken immigration system. Now that a government official has identified the problem, elected members can begin solving it.
This past weekend, several residents from San Francisco offered both a solution and a message from the many furloughed workers. At local federally managed parks where furloughed workers normally perform maintenance, they want to gather all the trash and deliver it to the White House.
This sends a clear message about failed government policies. Trying to fix one problem by creating 10 more problems never will work.
The government truly does have to fix a broken immigration system.