If Democrats actually care about Dreamers, let’s make a deal
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President Donald J. Trump is the most pragmatic president in decades. He has made it abundantly clear that he is both a deal maker and feels compassion for children of undocumented immigrants. If Democrats actually care about them, now is the time to put down Twitter and stop raging on television. Come to the table to make a deal to save the Dreamers alongside the president and Republicans. Come to the table to govern.


Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLisa Page sues DOJ, FBI over alleged privacy violations Sessions leads GOP Senate primary field in Alabama, internal poll shows Trump rebukes FBI chief Wray over inspector general's Russia inquiry MORE — in his Tuesday press conference announcing the phasing out of DACA — said, “we are people of compassion, we are people of law... There is nothing compassionate about failure to enforce immigration laws.” Take notice of this emphasis on laws, you will hear it a lot coming out of the White House, the Justice Department and the leaders on the Hill. The administration is signaling their eagerness to pursue a permanent solution, but it must be done the right way.

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How does this get done? President Trump will expect several key, but reasonable concessions from Democratic lawmakers. Chief among them funding construction of a wall on our southern border, resources to enforce immigration laws already on the books and some reasonable gesture on immigration reform.


First, going back to the campaign, President Trump has said repeatedly that, “a nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.” Needless to say, the wall is the President’s most visible and prized project.

Democratic lawmakers must come ready to fund the wall in full. The Department of Homeland Security estimates President Trump’s campaign promise of a border wall with Mexico will cost around $21.6 Billion to build. House Republicans are already funding small segments of the wall, but a more aggressive timeline and budget for the wall (especially with support from some Democrats) will give the president a political win he will have to seriously consider.

Second, Democrats must give the president the tools to enforce today’s immigration laws. Democrats won’t support defunding sanctuary cities, but they can reasonably support increasing the number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, enforcing a nationwide e-verify, and increasing penalties for overstaying a visa. These are not huge issues with rank and file Democratic voters, so their political liability is limit on the downside.

Lastly, to be compliant with President Trump’s campaign platform, any immigration reform must improve jobs, wages and security for current Americans. This is a tall order. Once again, Attorney General Sessions dropped us a clue, “the nation must set and enforce a limit on how many immigrants we admit each year." The massive influx of cheap labor acts to depress wages, it’s basic economics. Already with President Trump’s pull back on guest worker visas, Americans are being hired in place of immigrants. Given more competition for workers, wages will rise.

President Trump will pay a price for working with Democrats on anything. Some of the president's most hardened supporters will view any collaboration with Democrats on a permanent solution for children of undocumented immigrants as an act of capitulation. He needs to go back to the base with material policy wins specifically regarding immigration. The balance to strike between alienating party fringes on the left and right is difficult, but viable.

The communities most impacted by massive illegal immigration are ironically Democratic communities. Democrats have a chance to score a victory for their constituents and 800,000 DREAMERS by merely agreeing to build a wall, enforce current laws, and set a limit on immigration to the United States. This is all doable with Democratic leadership willing to put their work before party. The president is in the Oval Office ready and willing to make a deal.

Harlan Hill is a New York-based PR & political consultant, an Advisory Board Member of Donald J. Trump for President and a guest on Fox News, Fox Business and CNN.


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