President Donald Trump has never been able to settle on the appropriate ransom for allowing more than 700,000 so-called Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children, to stay in the U.S. But in a bipartisan White House meeting Tuesday, Republicans and Democrats made progress in narrowing the focus of Trump’s demands and laying the basis for a deal. Both sides should seize the opportunity before it slips away in an errant tweet.
The deal, essentially, is security for Dreamers in return for heightened security at the border. That won’t please the nativists in Congress or among Trump’s base, who favor more far-reaching restrictions on legal immigration. And many Democrats, immigrant-rights groups and border-state Republicans will oppose any spending on a wall.
They’re not wrong: An actual wall would be an absurdly expensive and impractical boondoggle. Some combination of technology, roads and other security measures, however, would be a reasonable price to pay to allow hundreds of thousands of Americans in all but name to get on with their lives.
A narrow agreement will not solve the nation’s immigration issues. Comprehensive reform is still necessary, and it will be a long, hard slog. But right now, Democrats and Republicans of good faith should cut the deal that’s sitting before them — and set the Dreamers’ futures on a sure path.
–Editors: Francis Wilkinson, Michael Newman.