DACA deal should not make or break efforts to keep the federal lights on: editorial

January 17, 2018

DACA deal should not make or break efforts to keep the federal lights on: editorial

Yes, a compromise to spare from deportation hundreds of thousands of hardworking young people who have spent most of their lives in the United States is needed.

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Members of both political parties understand that. So, we hope, does President Donald Trump, who can act administratively to protect young people previously covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that he eliminated last fall. At the time, Trump gave Congress a March 5 deadline for legislative action, but he could extend that through administrative directives to Homeland Security not to go after the young people who arrived as little children and who came out of the shadows under DACA to get jobs, start businesses and attend college.

But Democrats need to stop tying a DACA deal to the compromise needed to avoid a federal government shutdown at week’s end. That’s neither politically nor fiscally wise.

Already, in the toxic aftermath of Trump’s expletive-laden blowup last week over a proposed bipartisan immigration and DACA deal that he felt was not doing enough to keep out immigrants from brown and black countries (his aides insist it was really all about funding the wall), the political calculus has changed.

Instead of trying to avert a government shutdown, each party’s leadership is now engaged in guessing whether Republicans or Democrats will be blamed most. Yet it shouldn’t come as a revelation that such cynical maneuvering will just make rational compromises over worthy programs like DACA all the more difficult to achieve.

The Dems need to blink over an immediate DACA compromise, Republicans need to step up to save the program -- and both sides must strike a spending deal this week.

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