8:00 PM 06/13/2019 | Opinion
Martha Boneta and K. E. Grubbs Jr. | Contributor
Wait. What just happened? Mexico just agreed to police its southern border and become a “third safe country” in which Central American migrants can apply for asylum before breaching our border?
That wasn’t supposed to happen. It certainly wasn’t supposed to happen, to believe the preponderant commentary, if President Trump had anything to do with it.
But he did.
Worse, he did it by going against all conventional wisdom and defying centuries of free-trade doctrine: He used the threat of tariffs, to be ratcheted up over time if Mexico failed to act, as a diplomatic weapon.
For at least four decades the American government, the political class, and the vast, noisy punditocracy have debated, argued, fought, and failed to legislate a rational immigration policy. By stepping in and linking it to trade policy, our forty-fifth president produced an actual, measurable achievement that reframes this vexing issue.
It now lies with Congress, especially recalcitrant congressional Democrats, to produce a rational policy on immigration. President Trump has dealt them an opportunity, though they prefer to delay until next year’s elections, to do something for the American people and