When the DACA phaseout was announced in September, President Trump gave Congress six months to come up with a solution for DACA recipients (AKA “dreamers”).
Trump has refused to endorse that solution, which was presented to him on Thursday.
“The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself…was a big step backwards,” tweeted Trump on Friday. “Wall was not properly funded, chain & lottery were made worse, and USA would be forced to take large numbers of people from high crime.”
“I want a merit-based system of immigration and people who will help take our country to the next level. I want safety and security for our people. I want to stop the massive inflow of drugs.”
Trump’s refusal to endorse the proposal has raised prospects for a government shutdown, because the Dems are insisting on a DACA deal before they vote for a spending package, which must pass by midnight next Friday (January 19th). If a shutdown occurs, says Trump, the blame will be on Democrats.
The DACA proposal comes from a bipartisan group of six senators, including Jeff Flake (R-AR) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), all who represent states with significant immigration populations.
Proposal details include:
• Allocates $1.5 billion for border wall design/construction and $1 billion for border surveillance
• Provides Dreamers with a minimum 10-year path to citizenship
• Specifies that Dreamers’ parents are ineligible for citizenship
• Replaces the visa lottery with a system that divides visas between those selected on the basis of merit and those who have received temporary protected status
“[The proposal] doesn’t end chain migration,” complains Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR). “It merely delays it for an extremely small class of persons. On the diversity lottery, it simply takes all those visas and gives them away to other people for no rhyme or reason; it doesn’t just end the diversity lottery.” The proposal doesn’t include nearly enough funding for the border wall, he added.
“I’m sure there’s good things in it, but six people can’t agree to something that will bind the Congress,” says Texas Senator John Cornyn (R). “It’s my job to count votes, and we need to have more than six votes for a proposal.”
Last week, the White House sent a letter to the Senate outlining exactly what it wants to see in a “bipartisan” immigration bill:
• An overhaul of asylum laws
• A broad crackdown on legal immigration
• Boosted interior enforcement
• 700 miles of border wall (estimated cost $18 billion)
These demands are too extreme for Democrats (and even some Republicans), but I assume the list is sort of like the advertised price of a new car: you’re never actually going to pay that much, but it’s a good starting point for the salesman.
“We have been working for four months and have reached an agreement in principle that addresses border security, the diversity visa lottery, chain migration/family reunification, and the Dream Act – the areas outlined by the president. We are now working to build support for that deal in Congress,” reads a statement signed by the six senators who came up with the plan.
A successful version of the proposal will have to be a compromise, but Trump needs to make sure it doesn’t go too far to the Left.
The six-month window will be up in March, at which time Trump will need to decide whether protecting Dreamers is an urgent necessity or a concession that is only acceptable when paired with broader immigration reform.
The DACA phaseout is scheduled to begin in March, with recipients having up to two years to make appropriate plans.