Washington politicians thrive on polarization. They need to stop because normal people are sick and tired of it.
DACA is the acronym given to the executive order temporarily legalizing the so-called “Dreamers” who were brought to our country as children in violation of our laws but who now know no country but this one. The survival of the executive order is in doubt because of court challenges, but bipartisan legislation in Congress provides Washington politicians a golden opportunity to solve a thorny problem if they resist the urge to polarize.
The hearts of the Lincoln Club of Orange County are with the Dreamers, and therefore, it supports legislation that would give the 800,000 minors brought to our country at no fault of their own a chance at permanent residency if they arrived before 2012, were under 16 years of age, have graduated from high school, have no criminal record, and meet one of the following: served in the military, are currently employed or are in college. We support a 5-year conditional resident status for eligible persons, and if at the end of that time they are in good standing, that status can become permanent.
Here is where Washington politicians need to listen to each other. Conservatives are willing to help the Dreamers for all the obvious reasons, but we went down this road before in 1986 when Congress provided for permanent residency to certain undocumented persons. This led to a massive influx of illegal immigration, leading our country to the heart-wrenching problems we have today. To prevent or mitigate these possible effects from the Dream Act, the Lincoln Club has proposed that Congress adopt two additional elements. First, there must be a dramatic improvement to border security, either through a border wall or something equally effective. Second, the current practice of giving priority to extended families for legal immigration over other economic considerations must be discontinued.
Republicans and Democrats do not agree on much but we agree that Dreamers should stay here. That’s a pretty big deal. To save the Dreamers, everyone will have to ignore the polarizing rhetoric of their base and make small compromises. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have already met with the president about DACA. Just imagine if Republican lawmakers were invited to join the meeting and, for once, a deal was completed without name calling. Normal people would love it.
Robert Loewen is chairman emeritus and former president of the Lincoln Club of Orange County. He is a resident of Laguna Beach.
Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.
Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org