Nov 8, 2020

3 min read
Credit: Graphic Studios MH

They breathe deeply

The longest Tuesday of our lives is over.

We were a divided country in 2016. And, well, we are just as, if not more, divided now.

Even if an election night poll by Public Opinion Strategies found that “The President’s position on immigration was a net negative with voters,” the 2020 election was not a repudiation of Donald Trump’s ideology. While there is sure to be a debate among conservatives as to the direction of the party, Trumpism will define the GOP for the time being — at least until the 2024 Republican nominee for president emerges.

The Washington Post reports that the Biden administration is likely to move forward with a number of executive orders and regulatory changes to reverse many of the harms put forward by Trump. But, for at least two years (assuming Republicans hold at least one Georgia Senate seat), legislative change will require a bipartisan approach.

This is the beginning of a long phase that goes beyond rebuilding our nation’s immigration system. We need to reimagine American immigration in the context of a global pandemic, changing demographics, an economy that has created populist movements on the left and the right, a call for racial justice, and some of the deepest political divisions of our time.

To be successful, over the long term, we need to think strategically, keeping big-picture objectives front of mind, but act tactically to create and take advantage of short-term opportunities for bipartisan solutions.

The narrative we shape, and the coalitions we build, combine to increase the likelihood of policy success.

More on the strategy front at a later date.

This weekend, I’ve been thinking of those who are breathing deeply for the first time in years.

I think of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients. Hundreds of thousands of TPS holders.

I think about the farmworkers, meat packers and food processors who have kept our nation’s food supply running during a global pandemic. The doctors, nurses, home health care workers, born here and around the world, caring for the ill. Drivers, delivering people and products across the country. Those who have been barred from seeing family because of the travel ban. The abuelitos in Nogales, Arizona, whose community is a military zone separated by a wall topped with razor wire. Refugees and asylum seekers, whether they made it to the U.S., wait in Matamoros for their hearing, or sit in a camp in Greece.

I think of the 545 children whom we know are still separated from their parents.

The list of women, men and children could go on and on. People of color. White. Black. Brown. Supported by conservatives, moderates, liberals.

I think they know the challenges that lie ahead. The challenges that will test their resolve. Our resolve.

But, for the first time in a long time, they breathe deep.

It feels good.