We are a nation of immigrants. Every one of us, except Native Americans, came here from somewhere else, and historically, we’ve been a welcoming nation – it is etched on the base of the Statue of Liberty! – and a land of opportunity. It is un-American to lock the door after the rest of us are all safely inside.
We do need sensible laws to regulate immigration, but we cannot deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants living, raising families, and contributing to the economy of America. President Eisenhower tried mass deportations in the 1950s, deporting about one million Mexicans in “Operation Wetback,” and it was a disaster, with human rights abuses, legal due process violations, and a black eye on America’s global reputation.
It’s a no-brainer to restore the pathway to legal status for Dreamers, immigrants who were brought to America as children by their parents. Nine out of 10 Americans support this. It is unconscionable that Trump dismantled it, and that Congress has not yet acted to restore it.
If Trump wants the Wall he promised, let him do the other thing he promised: get Mexico to pay for it. He never promised that American taxpayers would foot the bill.
More broadly, let’s get to work on sensible comprehensive immigration reform, to address the 11 million undocumented residents, and legitimate needs of border security, and the labor needs of American businesses. It was a difficult multi-year process the last time Congress enacted comprehensive immigration reform, in 1986 – I know, because I was working for the chair of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, Senator Alan Simpson – and everybody had to give a little, but the result was solid bipartisan consensus. I know we can do it again, if we act in good faith, based on real facts and the best interest of the nation.