Washington Weekly: Dear Next President
If there is one topic that has ushered in the most divisiveness of the 2016 presidential election, it is immigration.
Ideological territory is marked along partisan lines: almost four-fifths of Democrats believe that immigrants strengthen the country, while 65 percent of Republicans feel the opposite, according to a poll conducted by Pew Research.
Questions surrounding comprehensive immigration reform also push the two sides further apart, with disagreement abound on pathways to citizenship and the construction of Donald Trump's proposed wall.
Millennials, however, overwhelming feel that immigrants are a positive force in modern America. More than three quarters of young people believe immigrants are overall beneficial.
Public opinion aside, immigrants are facing a harsher reality than they did only a few years ago.
For Juan Carlos Ramos, a 22-year-old immigrant from El Salvador, a forced return to his home country could mean certain death.
"You can die. They can ask you to join a gang," Ramos told GVH Live. "I personally identify as gay so that's another persecution I could have."
Ramos came to the United States when he was 15 years old and was detained immediately after crossing the border into Texas with his younger brother. His story, along with many others, show just how big an impact current immigration policy can have on a millennial's life.
But the solutions are complicated and in the frenzied 2016 presidential race, it is difficult to untangle policy from political reality.
Rep. Robert Pittinger, R-N.C., who co-sponsored legislation to block President Obama's executive order on immigration issued in 2014, believes the rhetoric heard today amounts to little more than partisan pandering.
"Bernie and Hillary say one thing because they want open and free everything for everybody," the congressman said. "And then there's the other voices, 'throw the rascals out!' Well, how are you going to throw the rascals out? How are you going to deport 11 or 12 or 13 million people? Please, tell me how you're going to do that. That's not real logical."
Regardless of the challenge, millennial leaders are ready to offer new ideas on how to address the large number of undocumented immigrants even as America deals with a tough political climate.