Our View: Another wild ride on the immigration reform roller coaster

Immigration reform matters to Arizona for reasons that range from humanitarian to economic. That made last week a wild roller-coaster ride.

It was encouraging to hear reports early in the week that the Trump administration thinks the time may be right for reform – including a pathway to legalization.

Donald Trump’s history of bashing immigrants gives him a Nixon-in-China opportunity to muscle comprehensive reform through Congress, so this was promising.

But the president’s address to Congress Tuesday did not capitalize on that opportunity.

Instead, he hurled the usual unrelenting litany of blame at the undocumented. He also made the ridiculous assertion that our southern border is “wide open for anyone to cross.”

The low point: Trump’s VOICE office

With the conciliatory tone toward the country’s undocumented population absent from the speech, it looked like comprehensive reform was off the agenda.

Instead of proposing to solve the long-standing problem of 11 million people living and working in shadows of a great nation, Trump used his bully pulpit to tout his new office of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement, which is ostensibly to support victims of crimes by undocumented immigrants.

Should such victims be supported? Of course. All crime victims should get the help they need.

Should dangerous criminals be deported? Of course. Quickly and permanently.

But Trump’s new VOICE office is an official U.S. government platform from which to promote the fallacious idea that undocumented immigrants as a whole are prone to committing violent crime.

They are not. And portraying them as dangerous inflames the discussion and makes reform much more difficult.

That was the low point of the roller-coaster ride.

A couple of Republican senators began the uphill climb from there.

Arizona Sen. John McCain and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham understand the difference between criminals and hard-working mothers – a distinction that Trump misses.

By Editorial board, The Republic for azcentral.com
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