Our Opinion: 55 miles is a start

Fifty-five miles of the border made impassable to illegal immigrants beats nothing. That is the view President Donald Trump should take of a border barrier compromise hammered out by Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

With the three-week deadline to avoid another partial shutdown of government agencies set to expire Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has bent just a bit on her insistence Democrats would approve no funding for new barriers along the border with Mexico. She will go along with a bill that would provide nearly $1.4 billion for the purpose.

That is far from the $5.7 billion Trump has insisted upon during the past few months. He wanted enough money for 215 miles of new barriers. The bill contains enough for 55 miles.

“I can’t say I’m happy,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. He refused to say whether he would sign the bill. If he does not, another round of shutdowns will occur.

Trump makes much of his ability to conclude deals. But politics differs greatly from the world of business. Sometimes, when partisan motives intrude, one has to take the best deal one can get at the time.

So it is with this situation. Pelosi’s iron-fisted control of Democrats in the House means the choice is between erecting some new barriers and leaving large stretches of the border virtually wide-open for illegal immigrants.

So Trump should sign the bill, have the 55 miles of new barriers constructed, then try again later for more funding.

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