President Donald Trump’s immigration plan has sparked outrage both from the left and the right. The plan involves granting two million people —700,000 of them being Dreamers —a 10 to 12 year pathway to citizenship in exchange for $25 billion to build Trump’s border wall. Immigrant activists such as United We Dream called the plan a “white supremacist ransom note.” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called it “an act of staggering cowardice,” and said that the plan uses Dreamers as bargaining chips for the wall. Republicans have shown equal anger and frustration about the fact that some undocumented immigrants will be granted citizenship. Ann Coulter, author of “In Trump We Trust,” called it a “crap deal” while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said “I do not believe we should be granting a path to citizenship to anybody here illegally.”
It is no surprise that this plan became controversial on both sides, for the plan is an example of something that is apparently intolerable in U.S. politics: compromise.
Yes, the plan doesn’t please anybody, since neither party is getting everything they want. Democrats do not want a wall, but they do want full citizenship for immigrants, while Republicans want all undocumented immigrants out of the country and the border with Mexico secured. But in a compromise, both sides cannot expect to have all of their demands met. Instead, both parties must agree on a solution that best satisfies their opposing interests — zero-sum game, so to speak.
A democratic country’s policies cannot be responsive to only a small portion of the population, but instead must represent the majority. And if the country is split — as it is now — on controversial topics such as immigration, then it is foolish for one party or group to hold the self-righteous claim that its partisan or biased solution is the right one. In cases like these, it’s not about what is the right solution for one’s personal ideology and party alignment, but what is right for the country. How else can the country move past a situation like this without one party ending with an advantage over the other? Politics should not be a game of winners and losers — compromise is the way of democratic and just societies. It ensures that all parties are pleased for they know that while they have gained and lost something, the other party has gained and lost something as well.
Trump’s plan is not perfect — there are some improvements that must be made. But if we wish to uphold our democratic values, we must continue to question government policies and push for those that truly represent the needs of the majority. As President Abraham Lincoln once said, America’s government system is one “of the people, for the people, and by the people,” not “of a people, for a people, and by a people.”
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Email Mert Erenel at [email protected]