Editorial: Democrats should be more willing to reach bipartisanship on immigration reform

Daily Editorial Board

The battle for the livelihoods of millions of people within the country continues as Congress introduced a bipartisan bill centered on extending the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, immigration and border security. The bill was eventually shot down by President Trump when the bipartisan senate group went to the White House for approval. 

In what, in any other instance, would be a presidency-defining incident this past week, Trump stated his hope that more people would immigrate from places like Norway and called countries, such as El Salvador and Haiti, as well as the entirety of Africa, “shitholes” (or “shithouses,” as several Republican sources have made known in effort to defend Trump). Despite the racist, ignorant and xenophobic nature of these words and presidential disapproval of the bipartisan bill, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin, among others, continue to push the bill in Congress.

Not long before comments from the Oval Office became headlines, there was a discussion regarding political strategy and DACA. Congressional Democrats seemingly had two options: play hardball and not compromise with GOP leaders or try to pass a bill that would almost certainly include funding for Trump’s famous border wall. Refusing to accept a compromise on the issue would force a government shutdown (the bill is interwoven with government funding) and, in turn, would likely benefit Democrats in the long run by putting blame on the Republican-controlled Congress and the “Art of The Deal” author. However, several lawmakers chose the latter option and brought a bill that extended DACA, added a pathway to citizenship, partially funded extensive border security and decreased legal immigration over time. Fortunately, the bill is not “probably dead” as Trump declared on Twitter. Unfortunately, it is abundantly clear that the president is willing to disparage millions of people and unwilling to work with both GOP and Democratic lawmakers on this issue.

The argument of bipartisanship or gaining political advantage is ever present in the Democratic party with many issues, not just immigration. Standing ground and sticking to liberal principles and policies may gain Democrats a political advantage in the upcoming 2018 midterms. However, right now, the battle wages to stop the deportation of DACA recipients, renew the Child Health Insurance Program and many other policy issues. Despite a democratic congressional minority, some battles are being won. Democrats, now more than ever, must decide if the long-term is more important than the short-term, and the issue is far from black and white. 

On one hand, a Democratic takeover of even one house of Congress in 2018 would challenge many harmful policies until Democrats can make a run for the presidency in 2020. On the other hand, millions of Americans are counting on lawmakers to come to conclusions on many policies, ending this time of uncertainty and ideally improving lives. Both schools of thought may become net positives, however, there needs to be serious discussion about which path is correct and whether certain issues need immediate attention. The people of America are depending on lawmakers and, hopefully, we can find a better world in 2018, 2020 and beyond.

As always, you can find your representatives’ contact information at callyourrep.co. We implore you to voice your thoughts, concerns and opinions with them. Also, with the 2018 midterm elections approaching, learn how to register to vote at usa.gov/register-to-vote. Your vote counts.