- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 30, 2018

President Trump’s immigration plan won a significant statement of support Tuesday from the Republican Main Street Caucus, a group of 75 more moderate-leaning GOP lawmakers who said the president’s principles echo their own goals for an immigration deal.

“We believe President Trump’s framework takes meaningful steps in the right direction and hope to hear more about accomplishing these goals in tonight’s State of the Union address,” the group’s leaders said in a statement.

They said there must be a link between legalizing illegal immigrant “Dreamers” and meaningful steps on border security that could “stop the illegal guns, drugs, and people from entering through our southern border.”

Mr. Trump’s plan has been panned by those on the right and left, with Democratic leaders saying his desire to cut down on future illegal immigration and to shift to a merit-based legal system is the equivalent of a white supremacist agenda.

Conservative Republicans, meanwhile, have said granting 1.8 million Dreamers citizenship rights, as Mr. Trump proposed, is an amnesty that undermines the rule of law.

The president’s plan presents a middle ground between the two sides, and the moderates seemed to be attracted to that.

Several of the moderates who signed onto Tuesday’s statement of support had, just a day earlier, announced backing for a bill that lacked stiff border security measures, underscoring the fluidity of the debate.

“We remain committed to working with leadership and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that echoes the key principles supported by Main Street members and the White House’s framework,” the moderate group leaders said.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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