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Other Opinion: Trump dares to dream

This page doesn't often agree with President Donald Trump, but we're on board with his observation that most Americans oppose deportation for "dreamers"—young undocumented immigrants, mainly in their teens and 20s, in most cases brought to the United States as children by their parents. That view, reinforced by polling and apparently the president's own convictions, seems to be the driving force behind a deal he looks prepared to make with Democrats to extend protections to the dreamers in return for beefed-up border security.

The president's evident willingness to stand up for the dreamers, a reversal of his campaign rhetoric, has rendered parts of his right-wing base apoplectic, not least because it emerged from a dinner with the Democratic congressional leaders, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Calif. In fact, plenty of hard-line Republicans would gladly see the dreamers expelled from the country. Whatever bargain the president may ultimately strike, their die-hard opposition remains a formidable obstacle to overcome.

At the same time, Trump's stance, if he sticks to it, could swing enough moderate Republicans' votes in Congress to give dreamers a fighting chance at securing permanent protection from deportation and perhaps some form of legal status (though he ruled out citizenship). That would settle a festering sore in American politics and hand the president a landmark bipartisan victory on an issue that has proved impervious to resolution since the turn of the century. Most importantly, it would enable about 690,000 dreamers, American in all but the legal sense, to get on with leading productive, fulfilling lives absent the threat of harassment and removal.

Trump was wrong to announce that he was rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that shielded dreamers from deportation for renewable two-year periods. But now that he has thrown their fate to Capitol Hill, he's right to ratchet up the pressure on Congress to extend those immigrants the protections he is set to withdraw. Democrats should reciprocate in good faith by providing new funding for border security - even though its necessity is arguable given that illegal crossings have fallen for years and plummeted since Trump assumed office.

While Democrats remain irreconcilably opposed to Trump's monumental border wall—rightly so, since it would be a mind-boggling waste of money—they should oblige if the president wants funding and credit for spiffed-up border technology along the frontier with Mexico and previously planned upgrades to the hundreds of miles of border fencing already in place. This is a finessable issue.

Some Republicans are likely to do their best to subvert any emerging deal, whether by attaching poison-pill measures to slash overall levels of legal immigration and refugee admittances or by intensifying roundups and surveillance of law-abiding illegal immigrants who have been living in the United States for many years.

By doing so, they would answer, to their own detriment, the question Trump posed on Twitter Thursday morning: "Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!"

-- The Washington Post