Romer: Celebrating political compromise to solve national challenges
Those who know me well — or even a little — know that I celebrate moderation and political compromise. I think it is important for both sides to give a bit to get important work done around items such as infrastructure and immigration reform. As a self-described “radical centrist,” I try to view issues from a perspective of thoughtful moderation, as opposed to selfish extremism.
It is why I am excited about a recent proposal by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Thom Tillis (R), which seeks rare bipartisan agreement on immigration legislation. Roughly 2 million “Dreamers” would get a path to citizenship in exchange for stronger border security measures under a loose blueprint for an immigration deal circulating among Senate offices. The agreement would legalize undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who face uncertain futures in the U.S. amid legal challenges to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It would also shore up asylum processing at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Since its inception in 2012, DACA has been a tremendous success, enabling hundreds of thousands of young people who have called the U.S. home since childhood to grow their careers, families and lives here. Ten years in, DACA recipients are no longer children. Even as they have grown and changed, the long-term security of DACA has not, and hundreds of thousands of these young people still live day to day facing the overwhelming uncertainty around their future in a country they have called home for decades.
Dreamers are economic multipliers who benefit our economy and add to our communities. Consider:
- They live in every state across the country, work in virtually every sector of the economy, and contribute tens of billions of dollars to the national GDP every year. They are nurses, teachers and engineers, and are contributing to their families, communities and our economy.
- Most DACA recipients are working; more than three-quarters of DACA recipients participate in the labor force, contributing an estimated $11.7 billion to the U.S. economy each year. Dreamers also directly contribute to the success of numerous U.S. companies.
- According to the Coalition for the American Dream, At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies employ Dreamers — including IBM, Walmart, Apple, General Motors, Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, and Wells Fargo, among others. Those companies alone generate almost $3 trillion in annual revenue.
When you turn on the TV or log onto the internet, you see an America that is bitterly divided between liberal and conservative. The ideologies have drifted so far apart that it is increasingly hard to find a middle ground on which to reach a compromise and those who do tend to face primary races. Despite that, a pathway to citizenship combined with increased border security is good politics and good policy and is overwhelmingly popular across party lines.
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Right now, the Senate is sitting on a bipartisan citizenship and border security bill. While a solution is long overdue, it’s not too late for Republicans and Democrats to come together to make bipartisan decisions in Congress. The challenge with finding a middle ground is there is no perfect solution and neither side will be 100% happy, but that’s what compromise is all about. You shouldn’t throw out the good just because it’s not perfect.
My expectations are tempered since I’ve seen several bipartisan immigration deals fall apart in the past 15-plus years, but regardless it is good to see pragmatic, solution-oriented proposals coming out of Washington D.C., and we encourage our elected officials to support this proposal.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com.