Opinion | Immigration Wasn’t Always a Divisive Issue in America

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Why have Republicans and Democrats moved so far apart on immigration? That’s the question that drives the Opinion video above.

We are publishing this as President Biden comes under extraordinary pressure to curb surging illegal immigration at the southwestern border. Republicans have held up further military aid to Ukraine, demanding more border security in exchange. And this month House Republicans opened impeachment hearings against Alejandro Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, accusing him of intentionally failing to enforce immigration laws.

A group of senators from both parties has been trying to negotiate a deal that would address the Republican demands for a border crackdown. But while the measures under discussion might go some way toward lowering illegal immigration — and even that is a matter of fierce debate — they don’t pretend to address all the wide-ranging, chronic problems with the country’s immigration system.

Bipartisan deals on immigration policy have been elusive for decades. The last big immigration reform bill passed in 1986, during the Reagan administration, and a smaller bill was signed into law four years later by George H.W. Bush.

Since then, Democrats and Republicans, on the subject of immigration, have seemed to sprint in opposite directions.

So what happened?

Hint: It’s not all Donald Trump’s fault.

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John Doe

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