Sunday, January 28, 2018

How To Do an Immigration Deal

Ross Douthat in the NYTimes has a column arguing, if I've got it right, that any deal on immigration must have Stephen Miller at the table. Two paragraphs:
The present view of many liberals seems to be that restrictionists can eventually be steamrolled — that the same ethnic transformations that have made white anxiety acute will eventually bury white-identity politics with sheer multiethnic numbers. 
But liberals have been waiting 12 years for that “eventually” to arrive, and instead Trump is president and the illegal immigrants they want to protect are still in limbo. So maybe it would be worth trying to actually negotiate with Stephen Miller, rather than telling Trump that he needs to lock his adviser in a filing cabinet, slap on a “beware of leopard” sign, and hustle out to the Rose Garden to sign whatever Durbin and Graham have hashed out.
I think he's got a point, at least if we want a deal before November.  There might be a case for delaying a deal until after the 2018 elections, figuring the Democrats may take the House.  That runs the risk of the Trump administration deporting Dreamers.  The counter argument would be that there wouldn't be significant numbers deported between March and November and the risk is worth it.

Personally I've no big problem with the current system, either in the levels of legal immigration or in the ways they come.  The idea of spreading immigration across a variety of methods appeals to me; it minimizes the extent of problems in any one method.

Having a large number of immigrants living and working on the margins of society because they lack legal documentation isn't good, but going to draconian methods to reduce the numbers is costly.

IMHO I'd go with E-Verify (usually a no-no for liberals) and give the restrictionists money for the wall, then bash them for not getting Mexico to pay for it.  With those concessions I'd hope to get agreement for legal status for Dreamers and their parents.  And then I'd work like hell to take control of Congress in 2018 and pass a path to citizenship in 2019.

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