Why has the partial federal government shutdown now extended to 35 days? Part of the answer could be found in the U.S. Senate on Thursday. Senators took up two competing proposals to reopen the government, both expected to fail, and they did. The bill backed by President Trump amounted to practically no compromise at all. He didn’t budge from his demand for $5.7 billion to build portions of a border wall. If he was more protective of Dreamers, he also would put at greater risk of deportation some young people brought illegally to this country as children.

The other bill emerged from the Democratic-led House. It reflected what the Senate approved unanimously a month ago: Fund the government through Feb. 8, allowing time to negotiate differences over the border wall and other elements of immigration.

That is a responsible direction. Yet now House Democrats appear willing to do more, beyond the additional $1 billion for border security they discussed last week. They are ready to add more dollars for such things as retrofitting ports of entry, immigration judges, border agents, sensors, drones and other technologies, even barriers where they are the best option. Democrats are smart to prepare the details of a compromise plan.

What the Democrats rightly won’t accept is the president’s border wall, let alone under these conditions, the president holding hostage 800,000 federal workers to get his way. No thoughtful organization would make this choice of a wall.

Recall how the wall concept began, the New York Times reporting that the Trump campaign used the idea as a memory trick, so the candidate would remember to talk about getting tough on immigration. The president cites the need to deter terrorists. Yet the State Department admitted in 2017 that it had “no credible information that any member of a terrorist group has traveled through Mexico to gain access to the United States.”

Thwart illegal drugs? Smugglers long have been using tunnels and drainage systems, and more recently, drones. They may transport drugs by boat up the Pacific coast. Border authorities report that most drug smuggling takes place at legal ports of entry and through the mail.

Today, illegal border crossings are less than a quarter of the high point two decades ago. Actually, asylum-seekers are the current trend. They show up at ports of entry, and this country has legal and treaty obligations to hear and assess their claims. As it is, the majority of those here illegally have overstayed their visas.

The president often cites 4,000 violent killings by illegal immigrants the past two years. Yet, as the fact checkers have explained, there is no database that compares crimes by immigration status. What is apparent is that overall crime rates are lower among immigrant groups.

In a way, the president’s case for a border wall echoes the misguided arguments for the Iraq War, the country called to embark on a mission built on false premises. A wall fails the cost-benefit analysis, especially in view of the projected $25 million per mile, the president’s proposed sum covering 234 miles, or 12 percent of the border’s length.

So, yes, invest more in border security measures that have proved to work. That has been the consensus of Democrats and Republicans, reflected in the increased investment of recent years. Which points to the added shame of the government shutdown, the lives of so many federal workers needlessly harmed along with the disruptions for those who depend on the services they provide. There is a compromise to be struck. The hope is, the failed votes in the Senate and the Democratic offer lead to getting there, and fast.