Immigration and finding consensus on the border
brown and blue metal fence

Immigration and finding consensus on the border

As the 117th Congress comes to a close, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) are wading into one of the most hot-button issues in U.S. politics: immigration

Under their new legislation, the DREAM Act, U.S. border officials would receive billions in aid to beef up security along the border with Mexico while the bill would also provide a pathway to citizenship to the approximately two million undocumented “Dreamers” brought to the U.S. as children by their parents.

It would also reinstate Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that let border agents turn away migrants as a matter of public health that helped mitigate the surge in migrants.

There’s clear evidence that the current level of migration at the southern border – which is at the highest level in 20 years – is pushing our immigration system to its limits. According to a Pew poll, “Large majorities say it is very or somewhat important to increase available staff both to patrol and police the border and to quickly process unaccompanied minors.”

Yet it’s also true that an overwhelming majority of Americans, many of whom are themselves immigrants or descendants of immigrants, support immigration to the U.S. And 74% of adults support granting permanent legal status to Dreamers according to a 2020 poll.

Secure borders and a welcoming immigration policy – it seems so simple, but immigration is a problem neither the left nor right want to solve.

Partisan politicians from both parties have instead used the crisis as a cudgel to attack the other side. The right accuses the left of wanting open borders to allow criminals and drugs into the country. The left accuses the right of running "concentration camps" along the border.

All the while, bipartisan efforts to actually tackle the problem get shot down, and Congress’ approval ratings hover near record lows.

So, are Sens. Sinema and Tillis crazy for trying to find a solution to the immigration crisis?

The data shows most Americans would probably say, “No.”