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There are no winners in Dreamers debate

Esther J. Cepeda on

And the current immigration drama is sure to disappoint great swaths of the electorate no matter what.

If Trump doesn't make good on his promises to take the hardest possible line on immigration and ends up reaching a compromise to shield DACA-eligible people from deportation, his base will feel betrayed and rebel.

If Democrats make the difficult choice to accept some or many of the items on the Trump wish list in exchange for protections for this small slice of the 11 million immigrants residing in the U.S. illegally, there will inevitably be enmity within the party and claims that it sold its soul.

Worse still, if the Democrats' threat of a government shutdown backfires or they simply walk away from any potential compromise, it will reaffirm that elected leaders are impotent in moving forward on big issues.

In any scenario, the idea that government is broken and that the other side is to blame will only add to political polarization and what is quickly becoming learned helplessness on both sides.

The consequence of this high-visibility fight over DACA recipients will be that -- whether our youngest, most idealistic and most Americanized immigrants are cast off or allowed to remain in some sort of imperfect status -- we'll all lose.

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Esther Cepeda's email address is estherjcepeda@washpost.com. Follow her on Twitter, @estherjcepeda.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group


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