And there is clearly an adamant, persistent segment of the public that sees the crisis of illegal immigration as a vital one. They’re not alone. Cast an eye at Brexit Britain, newly populist Italy, Macron’s France, and even Merkel’s Germany as it heaves in response to mass immigration from the developing world. This is a huge force in Western politics in every country. It may be the primary one. Millions of people are on the move right now, fleeing war and poverty and persecution. The vast migration from south to north, from poverty and chaos to opportunity and order in the West may be just beginning. Climate change will surely only make it worse. Finding the right balance between reason and compassion is essential if we are not going to further tear this country apart, or witness ever more humanitarian catastrophes, or see what’s left of the West go under.
So give him his fucking wall. He won the election. He is owed this. It may never be completed; it may not work, as hoped. But it is now the only way to reassure a critical mass of Americans that mass immigration is under control, and the only way to make any progress under this president. And until the white working and middle classes are reassured, we will get nowhere. Don’t give it to him for nothing, of course. It should come with a full path to citizenship for all DACA immigrants, as in the proposed deal in January that Trump first liked and then reneged on, under Miller’s toxic influence. But it should also go bigger: a legislative fix for Flores; massive new funding for detention facilities, humane family-friendly housing, and, above all, much more money for the immigration legal system, now completely overwhelmed by asylum cases. If Democrats can show they want to deal with the humanitarian problem as a whole, and are willing to compromise on the wall, they’ll be in a much stronger position going forward than in the recent past.*