A wave of pessimism on immigration has swept over Washington, even as two senators, a Republican and a Democrat, have joined together to offer a new proposal to protect the “dreamers.” A deal is looking increasingly unlikely to happen, especially as the administration keeps proposing to cut further into legal immigration as the price of President Trump’s cooperation.

To be clear, it wouldn’t be that hard to come up with a compromise both Democrats and Republicans could live with. The problem is that there are just too many points at which a deal can be shot down, and not enough reason for Republicans to feel as if they have no choice but to come to an agreement. And lurking in the background is the man who can and probably will stop just about any immigration compromise: House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).

The new proposal offered by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) is a simple one. It would give legal status to all dreamers who entered the country before 2013 and bolster security along the border (though it would not actually fund the wall). While it might seem like a good starting point — Democrats get something they want, Republicans get something they want — right now Republicans feel as though they have the advantage on this issue. Despite the fact that around 8 in 10 Americans want to see the dreamers protected, they’re probably right.

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