Once upon a time, American politicians agreed more than they disagreed on immigration policy.
They acknowledged its moral imperative and its economic and cultural benefits, but they didn't sugar coat its challenges and deficiencies or deny the responsibility of the federal government to secure the border.
As Peter Beinart explained in The Atlantic, the time of policy consensus was not so long ago.
In 2008, the year President Barack Obama was elected, the Democratic Party platform cautioned its members about "undocumented and unchecked" immigrants and those who employ them. By the time Hillary Clinton had received her party's nomination, that language had been scrubbed.
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Republicans, for their part, are guilty of a rightward shift.
President George W. Bush, who made passing comprehensive immigration reform the primary (albeit ultimately futile) goal of his second term, pushed back against those who called for the deportation of all people in the country illegally.
"It is neither wise, nor realistic to round up millions of people, many with deep roots in the United States, and send them across the border," he said in 2007. He added that, "illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should" have an avenue to do so — after certain requirements, like paying a penalty and back taxes and learning English — are met.
Compare that to the mass deportation rhetoric that dominated President Donald Trump's campaign and his immigration directives issued earlier this year.
Still, while Trump's talk has been tough, his actions have not been as unforgiving as promised, especially when it comes to the children of undocumented immigrants.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was to be one of Trump's first victims.
DACA has shielded from possible deportation close to 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children by allowing them to obtain renewable work permits and temporary legal status.
But much to the chagrin of immigration hardliners, Trump has not rescinded the order. He's even expressed sympathy for DACA recipients, calling them "absolutely incredible kids," and maintaining that he will "deal with DACA with heart."
For a man who spent the bulk of his presidency dividing and inflaming people, his hesitancy on DACA reveals a window into his humanity.
It also provides an opening for a possible deal on immigration reform that both parties should be rushing to pursue.
For a variety of reasons, including its implementation through an arguably unconstitutional executive order and a probable lawsuit by a 10 state coalition led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, DACA in its current form should not stand.
The fact that it could be so easily rescinded by a subsequent administration, leaving an entire population of immigrants in a perpetual legal limbo, speaks to the absurdity of its construction.
But its aim — to help those brought to the U.S. illegally as children, but have been raised as Americans, who want to work, attend school and contribute to society — is worthy.
Republican leaders could reasonably tell their base that the benefits of keeping DACA would outweigh the costs. This immigrant population is willing to work and do what is necessary to become Americans. It's also the most likely group of immigrants to assimilate into American culture, which impacts how native-born people view immigrants.
And congressional Republicans could demand in exchange stronger border security and interior enforcement.
Democrats could herald the move as a kind of victory for amnesty — a favorite buzz word of the progressive left — and report to their constituents that they bested Trump.
It's hard to see how this wouldn't be a win for both sides.
It would also provide some assistance for states like Texas, where around 35 percent of the immigrant population is undocumented, and state leaders see the government's inaction on immigration reform as a green light to take enforcement into their own hands.
Trump's inner circle is reportedly encouraging him to make this concession in his otherwise hardened immigration stance.
And Democratic leaders are reportedly unwilling to take such a deal.
But if they truly want to protect DACA recipients and start down the path to reform, they would reconsider.
Wouldn't it be something if Trump was the president who could bring Congress together over immigration policy? Stranger things have happened.