Immigration is one of the more emotionally charged issues that our country has faced
. Yet it seems as though our nation's leaders may reach a bipartisan compromise on immigration reform. What's more, the compromise may also align with public opinion.
Over the weekend, New York State Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" committed to comprehensive immigration reform, noted that the group has come to a working compromise on the larger elements of an immigration reform bill.
The American public is ready -- more than ready. We've seen that the public is hungry for compromise on the part of their leaders.
When it comes to immigration reform specifically, half of Americans say current immigration policy needs to be completely rebuilt, and another 41 percent support fundamental changes to the system, according to a 2010 CBS News/New York Times poll. More recently, just over half of Americans said the President and Congress need to act on immigration reform this year, according to Pew Research Center.
What do they want out of that reform? Most say that unauthorized immigrants should be eligible for either citizenship or permanent residency, again according to Pew.
The parameters of the Gang of Eight's plan will not be public until next week. But based on the framework the group released in January, it seems as though the plan will ultimately align with the majority of American opinion. This also appears to be the case based on what members of the Gang of Eight, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, have stated to the media.
So it seems quite possible that we may be in store for the outcome that we at Public Agenda hope to see every day: progress, in spite of differences, aligned with the needs and concerns of the public.
In all likelihood, this progress won't be perfect. But that's okay -- as President Obama said about immigration reform, "It's never going to be 110-percent perfect, but what we can do is to continue to improve it."
We're all exhausted by partisan gridlock. We hope that the Gang of Eight continues on the right track. We also hope that, ultimately, this example of progress in spite of differences can help refresh our mindsets when it comes to finding workable solutions to our nation's other tough issues.