ONE of the big issues in last week’s Democratic primary debates was immigration.

And the consensus was almost unanimous. It seemed that every candidate wanted unlimited immigration with every illegal alien getting all the benefits of American citizens.

Democrats claim there is plenty of room for everyone in the United States.

Meanwhile, the Republicans want to turn everybody—legal or illegal—away. They say that there is no room for anyone else in this country.

That’s about as far apart as the two sides can get on this issue. So what do we do?

Maybe we should fall back on one of the fundamental principles of democracy—compromise. Yes, I know, in this day and time, compromise is a dirty and almost antiquated word in politics, but maybe we should give this time-honored tool one more shot.

Now, I don’t agree with the Democrats that we should allow everybody into our country. And I don’t agree with the Republicans that we should keep everybody out.

My plan works on the same principle as Major League Baseball, where each team has a long-established, 25-man roster limit. After all, you can fit only so many players in one dugout.

So, Major League Baseball teams have a farm system for players they cannot keep on the big club’s roster.

But that roster doesn’t always stay the same. Players are shuttled back and forth between the major and minor leagues on a pretty consistent basis. America could do the same thing.

The United States is the major leagues. This is where everybody aspires to come. But, as the Republicans and Major League Baseball understand, we can’t take everybody.

So, like Major League Baseball, we establish a population limit in this country, one that we keep strict tabs on. If someone comes into this country, someone has to go out.

So, if the Democrats want to allow 10,000 immigrants into the United States in a single year, then 10,000 Democrats have to leave during that period.

Countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico would be like minor-league countries. They send people up to the United States and we send people down to them. And the population in all four countries remains stable.

As with Major League Baseball teams, we could make trades. We see somebody in Mexico that we like, then we allow him to come in while we send someone in the United States that we don’t like down. That seems fair.

But what if some group wants to bring in 25,000 Guatemalan immigrants and no Americans wants to go to Guatemala?

We just hold a lottery and select 25,000 U. S. citizens to be deported (excuse me, traded). Hey! I can think of quite a few crazy Americans—Democrats and Republicans—that I’d like to ship out of this country.

This plan would open up jobs for immigrants. When their American counterparts are traded south, then the immigrants would get their jobs and the U. S. economy wouldn’t miss a beat.

Do the Americans shipped south ever get to come home? Only if the person they were traded for returns to his country.

Sounds like a good plan to me. One person comes in and one person goes out. And the population never increases through immigration.

Life is give and take. We can’t bring everybody in and we can’t keep everybody out.

Meanwhile, I’m putting the 25 Democratic candidates that don’t get the nomination for president on my trading list, which already includes quite a few Republicans.

If we decide to swap one for one, I have a pretty good idea where to start.

Donnie Johnston:

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