Why Democrats should embrace Trump's DACA framework

On Thursday February 15, all of the immigration proposals put to a vote in the U.S. Senate failed to garner the necessary sixty votes.  Along with a bill modeled after the president's immigration framework, the Senate voted on two other compromise bills: McCain-Coons (John McCain and Chris Coons) and Collins-King (Susan Collins and Angus King).

The McCain-Coons proposal would have granted amnesty to 1.8 million DREAMers in exchange for roughly $3 billion in border security funding.  The Collins-King proposal provided amnesty for 1.8 million DREAMers and $25 billion in border security funding and prevented DREAMers from sponsoring their parents.

All three bills fell well short of the sixty votes necessary to overcome a potential filibuster.  Collins-King failed 54-45; Coons-McCain failed 52-47; Grassley's proposal, modeled after Trump's framework, failed 39-60.

While none of the proposals garnered the necessary sixty votes, Trump's framework proved the most unpopular.  The overwhelming majority of the Democrats opposed it, along with pro-immigration Republicans and hard-line conservatives opposed to any form of amnesty.

The fact that Trump's proposal garnered the least votes led some to declare it the least viable approach.  His proposed cuts to legal immigration seem to have angered Democrats the most, and only three Democrats voted for his framework.

The problem with the Collins-King and McCain-Coons approach is the same as the problem with our last two attempts at an immigration deal.  Both attempts failed because they couldn't garner conservative support.  To a conservative, an amnesty without a change to current laws amounts to an increase in immigration.  The overwhelming majority of conservatives balked at this approach last time around.

This time around, the vast majority of Senate Republicans rejected this approach.  Only seven Republicans supported the King-Collins proposal, the more popular of the two, which still failed 54-45.  Getting to 60 votes with 49 Democrats and 11 unhappy Republicans is not the recipe for compromise.  We've been here before.

The last time we tried this, the House of Representatives didn't even put it to a vote because of massive conservative backlash.  Even if such an approach succeeded, it would tear the GOP apart, and many of the more centrist Republicans would get primaried.  If you think polarization is bad now, just wait.

Democrats hate the idea of trading cuts in legal immigration for a partial amnesty.  To them, that would amount to meeting racists halfway.  They would rather let DACA disappear than compromise with a position they believe is motivated by racial prejudice.

Over the last fifty years, the United States has experienced massive demographic change, driven almost entirely by immigration.  The foreign-born share of our population is nearing a historic high and will soon surpass the mark set in the early 20th century.

This dramatic demographic shift will have massive political, cultural, environmental, and other impacts.  If you're a conservative, you have to be cautious about this type of radical change.  Additionally, much of our current immigration wave comes not from Europe or Latin America, but from radically different cultures with massively divergent social norms.

Democrats also need to remember that political stability often requires compromise with people whose views you find repugnant.  Americans are deeply divided on a multitude of issues, immigration being but one.  If we reject compromise, we condemn ourselves to gridlock and political dysfunction.

Trump's framework may be our last best hope to resolve this issue in a way that is palatable to both sides.  It balances an amnesty with limited cuts to legal immigration, and it implements the necessary enforcement measures to ensure that this amnesty doesn't encourage a new wave of illegal immigration.  If Democrats are serious about helping the DREAMers – and finding a solution for the rest of the illegal alien population – they will embrace Trump's framework.

On Thursday February 15, all of the immigration proposals put to a vote in the U.S. Senate failed to garner the necessary sixty votes.  Along with a bill modeled after the president's immigration framework, the Senate voted on two other compromise bills: McCain-Coons (John McCain and Chris Coons) and Collins-King (Susan Collins and Angus King).

The McCain-Coons proposal would have granted amnesty to 1.8 million DREAMers in exchange for roughly $3 billion in border security funding.  The Collins-King proposal provided amnesty for 1.8 million DREAMers and $25 billion in border security funding and prevented DREAMers from sponsoring their parents.

All three bills fell well short of the sixty votes necessary to overcome a potential filibuster.  Collins-King failed 54-45; Coons-McCain failed 52-47; Grassley's proposal, modeled after Trump's framework, failed 39-60.

While none of the proposals garnered the necessary sixty votes, Trump's framework proved the most unpopular.  The overwhelming majority of the Democrats opposed it, along with pro-immigration Republicans and hard-line conservatives opposed to any form of amnesty.

The fact that Trump's proposal garnered the least votes led some to declare it the least viable approach.  His proposed cuts to legal immigration seem to have angered Democrats the most, and only three Democrats voted for his framework.

The problem with the Collins-King and McCain-Coons approach is the same as the problem with our last two attempts at an immigration deal.  Both attempts failed because they couldn't garner conservative support.  To a conservative, an amnesty without a change to current laws amounts to an increase in immigration.  The overwhelming majority of conservatives balked at this approach last time around.

This time around, the vast majority of Senate Republicans rejected this approach.  Only seven Republicans supported the King-Collins proposal, the more popular of the two, which still failed 54-45.  Getting to 60 votes with 49 Democrats and 11 unhappy Republicans is not the recipe for compromise.  We've been here before.

The last time we tried this, the House of Representatives didn't even put it to a vote because of massive conservative backlash.  Even if such an approach succeeded, it would tear the GOP apart, and many of the more centrist Republicans would get primaried.  If you think polarization is bad now, just wait.

Democrats hate the idea of trading cuts in legal immigration for a partial amnesty.  To them, that would amount to meeting racists halfway.  They would rather let DACA disappear than compromise with a position they believe is motivated by racial prejudice.

Over the last fifty years, the United States has experienced massive demographic change, driven almost entirely by immigration.  The foreign-born share of our population is nearing a historic high and will soon surpass the mark set in the early 20th century.

This dramatic demographic shift will have massive political, cultural, environmental, and other impacts.  If you're a conservative, you have to be cautious about this type of radical change.  Additionally, much of our current immigration wave comes not from Europe or Latin America, but from radically different cultures with massively divergent social norms.

Democrats also need to remember that political stability often requires compromise with people whose views you find repugnant.  Americans are deeply divided on a multitude of issues, immigration being but one.  If we reject compromise, we condemn ourselves to gridlock and political dysfunction.

Trump's framework may be our last best hope to resolve this issue in a way that is palatable to both sides.  It balances an amnesty with limited cuts to legal immigration, and it implements the necessary enforcement measures to ensure that this amnesty doesn't encourage a new wave of illegal immigration.  If Democrats are serious about helping the DREAMers – and finding a solution for the rest of the illegal alien population – they will embrace Trump's framework.