Originally published by The Washington Post
“President Trump wants to find a solution that makes everybody happy.”
Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, believes the president who rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy wants to do right by the children brought to this country by their undocumented immigrant parents — a belief that will be put to the test as Congress grapples with a continuing budget resolution that expires on Dec. 8. Democrats have said a solution to DACA must be part of any funding bill.
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“The upside of attaching something as controversial as immigration legislation to a must-pass piece of legislation, such as the funding bill, means that there is a high incentive on the part of both parties to find the compromise,” Noorani told me in the latest episode of “Cape Up.” That’s because everyone knows that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will need Democratic votes to get a funding bill passed. “They’re going to depend on a high number of Democratic votes to get that funding bill across the finish line,” Noorani continued. “Democrats can apply pressure [on] Republican leadership to say, ‘You want my vote? I want protection for dreamers.’ ”
Even if Democrats don’t succeed in this effort, there is still time to do something. “We’ve got a few months to work with,” Noorani said. But he acknowledged, “The environment is going to get harder and harder for Republicans to reach a compromise with Democrats in the new year.”
We also discussed his book “There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration.” The successful repeal of the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military proved an epiphany moment for Noorani and his efforts in immigration reform. “Those of us in the immigrants rights movement …we won the politics, but we lost the debate,” he noted. “For the majority of Americans, immigration is not about politics or policy; it’s about culture and values.”
Listen to the podcast to hear Noorani explain why “demographics are not destiny” and how he is enlisting the help of conservatives to get immigration reform back on track.
“We have found that as we’re meeting people where they are, our language and our understanding is changing as we’re asking others to change their language and their understanding of the issue,” he said. “If you respect somebody’s opinion, over time you can change somebody’s opinion.”