Monday, Nov 12, 2018
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Save the Dreamers

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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), left, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) must work out a deal to save the Dreamers.

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Now that the latest self-inflicted crisis has passed and the government is running and funded again, we can deal with the Dreamers.

We should deal with them anyway. It is not at all clear that we will.

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The Dreamers, of course, are the sons and daughters of illegal immigrants who themselves are illegal but through no fault of their own. Many are scholars, engineers, and scientists. There is broad and deep consensus, among citizens as well as lawmakers, that they should be given a path to citizenship.

But it’s not getting done and it may never get done, which would lead to the eventual deportation of some good people we want to stay in this country.

President Trump has offered Democrats a Grand Bargain. He would extend a path to citizenship to 1.8 million Dreamers — twice the number that President Obama offered to help during his presidency — in return for “The Wall” being built between the United States and Mexico, and an end to so-called chain migration, as well as an end to the diversity immigration program.

It’s a good deal and the Dems should take it.

They should take it because it would save many Dreamers and because the cost the president is extracting is proportional. The wall will not be like the one that once divided Berlin. In places, it will be a natural barrier and in other places electronic. Its cost would be absorbed over five to 10 years. The Wall is not draconian, racist, or fascist, but reasonable. Nations need to control their borders. It is not only their right, but their duty.

The two other limits on immigration proposed by the president are actually similarly limited. The idea is simply to make immigration more targeted and rational. That ought to happen anyway. If that is the cost for saving the Dreamers it is well worth paying.

There is another cost for Democrats, however, and it is political: If they take the deal, they lose the immigration issue in the elections of 2018 and 2020.

But that too is a price worth paying. There will be plenty for Democrats to run on this year and in the next electoral cycle. And the immigration issue cuts both ways — to keep it alive for Democrats is also to keep it alive for the president.

The Democrats have a simple but serious choice: Help some people they have long promised to help, or posture. They can work with the president to get something important done — something that almost everyone agrees should be done — or let Dreamers be deported while they pursue a dubious political advantage.

If the Democrats take the low road it may boomerang. It should.

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