The essence of the immigration debate is over who gets to be “us.” The forces that oppose reform argue for sweeping exclusion. They have pushed a sharply constricted vision of who gets to stay and who has no hope of staying.
For all his talk of enlisting, not expelling, hopeful strivers, it’s a view that Mr. Obama has often bought into. He remains the expeller-in-chief, who has deported more people more quickly than any of his predecessors.
For America to fulfill its promise, and remain exceptional, it needs to reinvigorate its immigrant character, to remain the land of opportunity.