Opinion: Democrats must be willing to negotiate on immigration reform

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., left, and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - The national debate on immigration reform continues. The White House recently put out a framework on immigration reform and border security. President Trump is calling on Congress to produce an immigration bill based on this outline.

The key points are a request for a $25 billion trust to fund a border wall, an end to chain migration and an end to the visa lottery. The framework does allow for a 10-12 year path to citizenship for those covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA, and those eligible for the program.

A path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who came here as children is not a preferred option for many Republicans. The current estimate is that this would apply to 1.8 million people. Frankly, I am not a huge fan of the idea because it rewards those who did not follow the legal process to enter our country.

Having said that, governing is all about compromise and priorities. The president is offering a significant concession to Democrats in order to get immigration reform done and strengthen our borders, our national security.

Here is the bottom line: the key to getting immigration reform passed is in the Senate. If Democrats won’t even negotiate, immigration reform is dead on arrival. If there is real negotiation, immigration overhaul can be achieved with bipartisan support, even if some Republicans remain opposed to it. However, I think that real gains on the border wall and other immigration protections will be enough to win over a huge majority of Republicans.

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