Believe it or not, another government shutdown may be upon us.
Facing an appropriations deadline on Thursday, Congress must pass a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government through late March—or watch federal agencies close. Lawmakers are simultaneously working on a comprehensive immigration deal and finalizing a budget for the remainder of 2018.
But little has changed since January, when Democrats shut down the government, prioritizing illegal immigrants over American citizens. When did it become sound political strategy to choose the interests of foreigners over Americans?
In January, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Senate Democrats shot down a Republican proposal to keep the government open—while funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the military — because it didn’t address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In other words, Senate Democrats shut down the government to protect illegal immigrants — putting vulnerable American children and military service members at risk.
Before Democrats eventually caved, the Schumer shutdown could have left more than two million military service members unpaid, while sending 100,000 national guardsmen home. Nine million children were at risk of temporarily losing their health insurance, resulting in potentially life-threatening removal of treatment.
The fact that a shutdown over illegal immigrants is even a possibility defies belief. Over the years, both political parties have chosen the road of obstruction to voice disagreement on policy issues and stymie reforms they oppose on ideological grounds. But in recent months, Democrats have redefined Beltway politicking and doubled down on un-Americanism to undermine President Trump.
Criticizing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—already boosting paychecks and spurring investment—is certainly misguided, but not outside the political mainstream. The same goes for President Trump’s infrastructure proposals or border security agenda—Democratic opposition might be wrongheaded, but not outside the realm of mainstream partisanship.
But to shut down the federal government over illegal immigrant status is an unprecedented leftward lurch. As a former congressional chief of staff and Republican strategist for over 25 years, I’ve never seen such an apparently un-American political maneuver.
Unfortunately, un-American sentiment has seemingly become a go-to political tactic for many Democrats. At President Trump’s State of the Union, Democrats refused to stand and applaud when he honored and grieved with the parents of a teenager killed by MS-13 gang members—many of whom come here as illegal immigrants. When President Trump highlighted the lowest black unemployment rate in U.S. history, the Congressional Black Caucus sat in silence.
Since when is it political advantageous not to cheer for American successes?
Now the latest shutdown debate shines another light on Democrats’ waning patriotism. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently lamented the lack of a DACA deal, claiming Congress must act to protect “the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.” But what about American lives?
Hyperbole aside, why not just agree to fund the government and deal with illegal immigrants later? Why shut down the government—and threaten American citizens—over the legal status of non-citizens?
Fortunately, Americans are on President Trump’s side. More than 70 percent approve of President Trump’s push to combat illegal immigration and implement a merit-based immigration system. Most Americans support the crackdown on MS-13 to keep our communities and our children safe. And a clear majority of Americans believe in secured borders.
Republicans are standing with them while Democrats sit on their hands. We can all disagree on immigration policy, but there should be common agreement between the parties on certain issues—say, honoring victims of gang violence. There should be bipartisan consensus that funding the government to support American citizens is more important than protecting illegal immigrants.
So whose side will the Democrats take?
Guy Short (@shortguy1) is a former congressional chief of staff, six-time Republican National Convention delegate, and Republican strategist with over 25 years of experience in politics.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.