Politics & Policy

Easily Overlooked Signs of a Gradually Improving Country

Before all of us head out and hit the roads on the busiest travel day of the year, an optimistic note in the Morning Jolt . . . 

Those Easily Overlooked Signs of a Gradually Improving Country

Two key details are buried deep in a Washington Post article about how the Trump administration is “following a blueprint to reduce the number of foreigners living in the United States — those who are undocumented and those here legally — and overhaul the U.S. immigration system for generations to come.”

Arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement are up more than 40 percent this year, and the agency wants to more than double its staff by 2023, according to a federal contracting notice published this month. ICE is calling for a major increase in workplace raids and has signed more than two dozen agreements with state and local governments that want to help arrest and detain undocumented residents.

. . . Illegal crossings along the border with Mexico have plunged to their lowest level in 45 years, and U.S. agents are catching a far greater share of those attempting to sneak in.

Republicans are going to face tough midterm elections in 2018, whether they pass tax reform on not. But they probably will be able to point to some improvements in the quality of life of Americans even without passing big bills: a more secure border and dramatic drops in illegal immigration, the elimination of the Islamic State as a state, an unemployment rate around four and a half percent, a stock market that has increased 28 percent since Election Day 2016, and a more accountable and better-performing Department of Veterans Affairs. (Right now, more than 30 percent of VA appointments are made in the private sector, and one of the long-term ideas on the table is merging the VA programs with TRICARE, the Pentagon’s insurance plan that allows active-duty military personnel to use private health-care providers.)

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