Take it or leave it. That's how the Trump administration framed its offer to save the "dreamers" in exchange for upending our country’s immigration system. The proposal would potentially allow as many as 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought here as children to get a pathway to citizenship.
Unfortunately, this deal comes with extreme conditions that render it a dud. While the crisis facing the dreamers is real, it is not worth pitting immigrants against one another, or helping current migrants at the expense of future ones. The White House plan reflects a radical vision for the country that is as unrealistic as it is out of touch with American ideals.
Since President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September, the futures of roughly 800,000 DACA beneficiaries have been in limbo. Trump has sent mixed signals on their fate, and the Democrats went so far as to briefly shut down the government over the issue.
The new White House proposal is troubling on multiple levels. The overall problem is that it attempts to shift what should be a narrowly-focused debate over saving the dreamers into a broader one encompassing legal immigration. Yes, legal immigration.
But it makes no sense for lawmakers to wade into a distracting debate over legal immigration. Our economy is currently humming along, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average recently hitting 26,000 and unemployment at a 17-year low. The unemployment rates for Latinos and African Americans are at historic lows, too. Given that there is vast agreement among economists that immigrants are good for the economy, it is hard to see what problem is being solved by restricting legal channels of migration.
Source: USA TODAY