If President Obama wants $2 billion in emergency funds to fight illegal immigration at the border, the GOP should give it to him. Of course, Republicans should examine what the $2 billion is supposed to achieve. Obama is notorious for pledging funds in $1 billion increments, a nice round number that often does not reflect any serious consideration for how the money will really address the needs at hand. This White House focuses on policy inputs and initial headlines, not policy results or eventual outcomes.

Undoubtedly, some of the $2 billion will be used for lawyers, foreign aid and other allocations that won’t really advance the goal of stopping the latest wave of illegal immigration and sending these illegal immigrants back home when they do enter our country. Who knows? Perhaps the right amount of money needed to accomplish that goal is closer to $4 billion. But Republicans should not quibble. The fact is, we probably need more of everything at the border.

This is also a chance for Republicans to demonstrate bipartisanship and make a difference without doing the president any political good. No one will suddenly think he and the Democrats are tough or sincere about stopping illegal immigration. In fact, Obama will probably face criticism from Democrats who want the president to stop all deportations and to slow-walk anything that might interfere with the latest wave.

I am so leery of the president on this issue that I fear that the $2 billion could just be a bluff or that the fine print might reveal it is for a five-year program and not for urgent border reinforcements. But if the president is actually planning to use the money he is requesting to gain better control of the situation and possibly include amendments to our immigration laws to make it easier to return the huge numbers of unaccompanied illegal immigrants — minors or otherwise — to their families and homes, Republicans should work with him urgently.


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