Do the ‘dreamers’ deal, and then some more

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS -

Af­ter seven months of cater­ing to the Repub­li­can base, Pres­i­dent Trump has started cut­ting deals with Democrats through his new pals, Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, or as he calls them, “Chuck and Nancy.”

The two Demo­cratic lead­ers reached an agree­ment with Trump on the debt ceil­ing and hur­ri­cane re­lief last week. Now they ap­pear close to a deal on what’s called the DACA pro­gram, which pro­tects from de­por­ta­tion nearly 800,000 im­mi­grants brought il­le­gally to Amer­ica as kids.

It is not cer­tain the ar­range­ment dis­cussed at the White House on Wed­nes­day night will hold up. Al­ready, it has sparked a fierce back­lash from con­ser­va­tives, as well as op­po­si­tion from the far left, where any­thing other than re­sis­tance to Trump is con­sid­ered trea­sonous. But as­sum­ing a deal gets done, it will pro­vide some­thing for both sides.

Trump and fel­low Repub­li­cans would get more bor­der-se­cu­rity money (though no wall) and es­cape from the cor­ner they have put them­selves in by threat­en­ing to de­port U.S.-ed­u­cated, well-in­te­grated res­i­dents who have over­whelm­ing public sup­port.

Democrats would see a prac­ti­cal and mer­ci­ful Obama-era pol­icy cod­i­fied into law, de­spite the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­cent moves to re­scind DACA. Most im­por­tant, the “dreamers” would no longer have to worry about be­ing ex­iled to coun­tries that they might have few con­nec­tions to.

The agree­ment has wider im­pli­ca­tions as well; namely, if Democrats and Repub­li­cans can find com­mon ground on DACA, they can do so on other mat­ters. Th­ese sorts of bi­par­ti­san com­pro­mises rep­re­sent how Washington is sup­posed to work but too rarely does.

Sev­eral im­por­tant is­sues have been bot­tled up by partisan pol­i­tics, though they have wide­spread pop­u­lar sup­port, and pos­si­bly even ma­jori­ties within Congress will­ing to back them.

The most ob­vi­ous is a sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of Amer­ica’s un­wieldy tax code. A plan could ad­vance now if both par­ties were to gang up on the spe­cial in­ter­ests.

Im­prov­ing and ex­pand­ing Amer­ica’s crum­bling in­fra­struc­ture is an­other area ripe for a deal, and per­haps should have been Trump’s first or­der of busi­ness af­ter tak­ing of­fice.

The most in­trigu­ing idea for com­pro­mise is com­pre­hen­sive im­mi­gra­tion re­form that would blend en­hanced en­force­ment with a path to le­gal­ity for mil­lions of un­doc­u­mented work­ers.

Why Trump, who rode an­ti­im­mi­grant rhetoric to the White House, is sud­denly cut­ting deals is any­one’s guess. The best is that it is an out­growth of his fail­ures in try­ing to leg­is­late strictly along party lines with Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Also in ques­tion is how far Trump can go in buck­ing the GOP base, and how far Schumer and Pelosi can go with Democrats.

But Don and Chuck and Nancy and Mitch and Paul have the op­por­tu­nity to open some doors that have long been shut. It is time to go through them.

JANET LOEHRKE, USA TO­DAY

SOURCE Morn­ing Con­sult/Politico poll con­ducted Sept. 7-11 of 1,976 reg­is­tered vot­ers. Mar­gin of er­ror is ±2 per­cent­age points.

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