President Trump must work with the current Congress to make a deal on border security and the Dreamers. Now is the time. Next year will be too late.
President Donald Trump has a golden opportunity to deliver on his campaign promise to build a border wall and at the same time get a law passed to protect the Dreamers, as he asked Congress to do over a year ago. But the president can’t wait — the time to act is now.
In the blink of an eye, Congress will adjourn for the year. Soon, Democrats will have control of the U.S. House of Representatives and passing legislation will take a back seat to investigations, tax increases and Medicare-for-all schemes.
So, President Trump must work with the current Congress in the waning legislative days remaining to make a deal on border security and the Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought here as minors at no fault of their own. If he pulls it off, he would further cement his reputation as a master negotiator and send a strong message to the country — and to the rest of the world — that he is a man of his word who will do what he says.
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The need to fix our broken immigration system has never been more urgent as droves of Central American migrants are on our doorstep seeking asylum from violence and poverty. The president has said he wants to welcome those looking to start a new life in the U.S., but they have to come into the country legally and through a process.
But the only way this is going to happen is if Congress begins to deal with the immigration system — a debate they have avoided for nearly three decades under presidents from both parties.
On the question of the Dreamers, the president has shown genuine compassion. At a press conference in February, President Trump said: “But you have some absolutely incredible kids — I would say mostly. …We are going to deal with DACA with heart.”
Providing certainty to the Dreamer population is a no-brainer.
Dreamers are some of the best and the brightest in our country and include folks like John Gomez, a 28-year-old New York-based software engineer who through sheer will and determination rose from living in constant fear of eviction to landing a lucrative job now helping to support his family. According to the American Action Forum, Dreamers contribute, on net, roughly $3.4 billion annually to the federal balance sheet.
Americans support Dreamers, border security
Why on earth would we want to show folks like John the door, especially when our economy is booming and there are more jobs available than people looking for work?
The elements of a possible deal are staring us in the face. All that is missing is a push from the commander-in-chief and laser-like focus to guide a rudderless Congress.
Earlier this year, President Trump said he would be willing to “take the heat” for a bill that provides money to build a border wall in exchange for a solution for Dreamers. But if he gets such a deal done, he won’t be taking heat, he’ll be taking plaudits.
In The Art of the Deal, President Trump explains: “You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”
Now is the time to deliver the goods. Next year will be too late.
Steve Forbes is chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media. Follow him on Twitter: @SteveForbesCEO
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