The White House on Sunday delivered to Congress a long list of hard-line immigration measures that President Trump is demanding in exchange for any deal to protect the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, imperiling a fledgling bipartisan push to reach a legislative solution.My feeling is that to get the Dream Act, which I consider an important priority, Democrats are going to have to give something substantial. That's how politics works.
Before agreeing to provide legal status for 800,000 young immigrants brought here illegally as children, Mr. Trump will insist on the construction of a wall across the southern border, the hiring of 10,000 immigration agents, tougher laws for those seeking asylum and denial of federal grants to “sanctuary cities,” officials said.
But some Democrats seem to be opposed to this on principle. They seem to be arguing that any and all measures to toughen immigration restrictions are wrong or immoral or racist. This worries me.
A narrative seems to be forming that goes like this: Trump and his fans oppose immigration. They are racists. Therefore, any opposition to immigration is racist. In particular, because "building a wall" is so popular with Trumpsters, no Democrat can possibly endorse it.
But this is fantasy. There are more than 100 million people in the world who say they would like to move to the U.S. (The State Department keeps track of this.) Are we going to let them all in? More to the point, are you going to allow the building of apartment towers in your neighborhood to house them? A large majority of Americans would say no to both.
Therefore, we must have immigration restrictions and punitive actions against at least some illegal immigrants. We can argue back and forth about what those restrictions should be and how we should treat people who have been working here for a decade without papers, but to oppose all immigration enforcement is both impractical and politically suicidal.
If Democrats ever want to start winning elections again we must keep the narrative that immigration restrictions = racism from getting established in the party. And I think we should offer whatever it takes in the way of future enforcement to provide a secure future for people who were brought here as children and who have never really had another home.