I’ve been a U.S. senator for three weeks now, and I can tell you that reports of hate and incompetence in Washington are severely understated. Things are actually much worse than they appear.
One year ago, I called on Congress to make a simple deal on immigration requiring both Republicans and Democrats to do two things - compromise and respect the wishes of the American people. This deal is so logical and so easy, even politicians in Washington should be able to grasp it. But, as the events of the past few weeks have shown, they cannot.
Democrats would have to agree with the American people that our border needs to be secure, and that we need some kind of physical barriers to secure it. It's not complicated; it's common sense.
Republicans would have to agree with the American people that "dreamers," kids who grew up here after being brought to the United States by their parents, must be welcomed into our society. Again, it's common sense.
That's it. That's all. Done. It is simply asking politicians to agree with the voters and do something practical and logical. In what parallel universe is this a hard decision? Answer: Washington.
The truth is, the vast majority of Republicans are ready to make this deal, and are ready to provide a route for the dreamers. But Democratic leaders are not ready to make this or any deal. Sure, the Democrats have voiced support and cast votes for border security in the form of physical barriers in the past, but they won't do so now because of their hatred of the president of the United States.
Hate is bad that way; it clouds your judgment. As former senator Alan Simpson said at the funeral for former president George H.W. Bush, "Hatred corrodes the container it's carried in." That's the predicament that Democratic leaders find themselves in now. They hate President Donald Trump so much that they cannot behave in a rational manner.
The public overwhelmingly wants our borders to be secure, plenty of public opinion polls show that. Likewise, the public overwhelmingly wants acceptance for these kids who, through no fault of their own, were brought here, and who have grown up here, gone to school here, and who are now part of the fabric of our country.
My state of Florida is home to more than 27,000dreamers. The notion that we would - after educating them, protecting them and raising them - kick them out of the country, well, it's just absurd.
Let's be very clear here:I am inflexible when it comes to illegal immigration. I am against it, always have been and always will be. The president was completely correct when he said that we don't keep our doors locked at night because we hate the people on the outside, but rather because we love the people on the inside.
Florida is home to nearly 21 million people, more than 4 million of whom are Hispanic. They want fairness for these dreamers. But guess what else they want: a secure border. That's right, and it's not something you hear on the news, but it is true: Hispanics want border security.
In a post-election survey of 1,014 Hispanic voters in Florida, my campaign asked this question: Thinking about our nation's immigration laws, do you think we need stricter or looser enforcement of these laws?
Sixty-nine percent of the respondents said we need stricter enforcement of our immigration laws, while only 29 percent preferred looser enforcement. Hispanic Americans want our borders secured.
Securing our borders with a physical barrieris not a partisan issue, it's a common-sense issue. Likewise, once we agree to secure our borders, it is only common sense to deal fairly and justly with the dreamers.
There is only one thing standing in the way of this common-sense solution for America: irrational and clouded thinking motivated by hate from Democratic leaders in Washington.
Democratic-linked organizations spent nearly a record $60 milliontrying to defeat me last November. Why? Because Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D.N.Y.) knew I was going to stand firm on my principles and fight for what's right. I don't hate him. I just disagree with him. And we have different views on how to help the American people.
Scott, a Republican, represents Florida in the U.S. Senate. Originally published by The Washington Post.
The views expressed here are the writer’s and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)adn.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to email@example.com or click here to submit via any web browser. Read our full guidelines for letters and commentaries here.