Immigration reform demands attention

Complex issue requires bipartisan communication, support to make long overdue changes to system

When will immigration reform get the attention it needs?

That imposition of tariffs on Mexico was averted is, as we said in our June 9 editorial, good news, for a variety of reasons — largely economic. A U.S.-Mexico agreement, announced by President Trump on June 7, to prevent the tariffs under which Mexico promised to get tougher on illegal immigration from its side of the border (under the deal, for example, Mexico will deploy thousands of troops along its border with Guatemala) is positive news, as well.

On the U.S. side of the border, however, much work remains.

Members of our editorial board have used this space on many occasions over many years to advocate for substantive action on illegal immigration. The myriad challenges — legal, social, economic and security — related to illegal immigration America faces today result from an inability of our nation’s leaders to reach a comprehensive agreement on immigration reform. As a result, we apply Band-Aids as we lurch from one crisis to another and ignore the need for broader, deeper solutions for the long term.

What this complex issue cries out for is bipartisan communication in Washington, D.C. Extremists on both the left and right who insist on everything will produce nothing. To bring order to the chaos, decision-makers must start talking to one another about the issue in productive fashion. A simplistic view? We don’t believe it should be, and we believe the lack of a will to work together on this and other problems is a big reason why 75 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, according to a Gallup poll released earlier this month.

With President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., trading insults about one another’s mental stability, with impeachment talk looming and with 2020 election campaigns picking up speed, it’s unlikely anything meaningful will happen on immigration during this Congress, and that’s unfortunate.

We don’t know how or when, or if, comprehensive immigration reform will get the traction in our nation’s capital it needs, but this much seems clear to us: The status quo isn’t acceptable.

America should demand as much of itself on this issue as it demands of Mexico.

–Sioux City Journal