Immigration: Refusing Trump request may do harm

When Democrats in Congress refused to grant President Donald Trump’s administration $4.5 billion last week, it prevented spending that would have stopped an enormous amount of suffering among the very people leaders of the party claim to defend: illegal immigrants.

Trump had included the request in a disaster aid bill the Senate approved, 85-8, last Thursday. House of Representatives acquiescence was expected.

Before Democrat leaders in the Senate would allow the bill to proceed, they insisted $4.5 billion requested by the president be removed from the bill.

Trump himself embraced the measure as passed. It includes $19 billion in disaster aid to areas of the nation hit by wildfires, flooding and similar disasters. “I didn’t want to hold that up any longer,” the president said. “I totally support it.”

In this case, it appeared Trump’s desire to help disaster victims outweighed his political instinct to continue fighting for the $4.5 billion.

What of those who opposed that request? Clearly, their desire to score a political win against the president overcame the compassion they say they have for illegal immigrants.

A massive influx of illegal immigrants has strained both the resources of the federal government and those of communities and states along our southern border. Basic needs such as shelter, food and health care are proving inadequate to the needs of those taken into custody after coming into the United States illegally. Enforcement — keeping illegal immigrants out and apprehending those who make it across the border — also needs to be augmented.

It was those purposes, not construction of more “border walls,” that prompted the administration’s $4.5 billion request.

Opposing anything Trump seeks in regard to illegal immigration has become the policy of many Democrats. In their enforcement of it this time, they may well have done more harm than good to those whose well-being they claim to defend.