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Megan McArdle

We Need Everyone at the Immigration Table

Railing against racists will not solve one of the toughest problems in the nation.
Hashing it out.

Hashing it out.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ten years ago, I would have cited immigration as a triumph of good policy over the popular will. A good chunk of the population opposed the levels of both legal and illegal immigration. They were strong enough to scuttle bipartisan deals that would regularize illegal immigrants, or increase the numbers of legal ones. But they couldn’t alter the status quo. The result might not represent good democracy, but it was good policy on both economic and humanitarian grounds.

Ten years on, this seems rather embarrassing. The dam broke, and the floodwaters that surged through propelled Donald Trump to the presidency. Yet the logic behind the old immigration consensus is as popular as ever.