President Donald Trump’s talk about immigration during his State of the Union address upset many Democrats and some conservative Republicans.
Given the political environment, that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
However, we prefer to see the president’s remarks as a starting point on immigration reform. Trump referred to his plan as “down-the-middle compromise.”
One of Trump’s proposals was a 10- to 12-year track to citizenship for around 1.8 million younger immigrants protected by DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or eligible for its guarantees.
That plan angered conservatives, while some of Trump’s other remarks — “open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities” — angered Democrats.
Other ideas Trump presented were $25 billion for border security, including his wall along the border with Mexico; ending a lottery used to encourage immigration from diverse countries including African nations and redistribute some of those visas to applicants with high-skilled jobs; and limiting relatives that immigrants could sponsor for legal U.S. status to spouses and minor children.
Reaction to the president’s proposals was about what we expected.
As we said, in today’s political climate, you’re not going to hear a lot of bipartisan talk. Many Democrats aren’t going to praise something coming from across the aisle, and neither are many Republicans.
But, that’s exactly what we need in order for something to get accomplished. Both sides claim to want immigration reform. Obviously, they differ greatly on what that reform should be.
Lawmakers now need to take what the president outlined and work in their respective chambers to craft legislation.
Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., stated it well when he said Trump’s proposal was “a good first step.”
He also said: “Let each of the two houses do their work.”
This is an important issue for our country. It’s time to sit down and work out a plan.
Not everyone is going to get what they want. It’s called compromise, give and take.
It’s also what’s sorely lacking in Washington these days.
Our advice to our elected officials is to take this first step and run with it.
Don’t let this moment pass.