Americans know well about the gridlock in Congress, and many of them are tired of it. There is no better example than with the immigration issue. It has been a major campaign theme of President Trump for years, and Democrats have no intention of giving him a legislative victory. Meanwhile, the influx of migrants is at a crisis stage, and that is recognized by people in both parties.
Now House Democrats have used their majority to pass a bill giving legal status and a path to citizenship for the “Dreamers,” illegal immigrants who were brought across the border as children. The measure also gives protection to asylum seekers who have legitimate claims of fear in their home countries.
There is widespread support for the Dreamers and many observes believe they will eventually achieve legal status, although the potential cost is high. An estimate of benefits for the approximately 2 million Dreamers is more than $30 billion, much of that in Medicaid. America continues to need legal immigrants, but the cost part of the issue often is forgotten amid heated debate, at least on one side of it.
The bill is given little chance of action in the Republican-controlled Senate. Meanwhile, Trump and Republicans have proposals for dealing with the asylum crisis, including forcing claims to be filed in other countries and allowing longer detention of those making claims. That would be a deterrent and would weed out many illegitimate claims.
A great solution would be a compromise including both the Dreamer bill and asylum reform. That would do some real good instead of keeping immigration legislation as a mere campaign issue for people in both parties. Other aspects of immigration could be left for later, along with much other legislation in this highly polarized time.
Next year’s election may tip the scales in favor of one party or another, but compromise action this year could help solve a major problem and begin restoring Americans’ faith in Congress. This issue has been burning long enough.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has reached an agreement with Mexico that halts the threat of new tariffs on Mexican exports in exchange for a serious effort to halt immigration from Central America. Mexico agreed to deploy thousands of troops and also to keep asylum seekers returned from the United States, which will make major investment in Mexico and Central America to stimulate the economy. All of this will help the immigration situation and gives Trump a victory in what many considered a dangerous game over tariffs.