Congress, White House Dealing on DACA but the Devil is in the Definitions
Jennifer G. Hickey
Everybody in Washington is saying that everybody in Washington wants to find a permanent solution to the mess created when President Obama took executive action in creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.But everyone in Washington has a different vision of what a “deal” looks like and what will be included in any compromise.Donald Trump fired the first shot on Twitter with a declaration that “there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc.””Any legislation on DACA must secure the border with a wall, it must give our immigration officers the resources they need to stop illegal immigration, and also to stop these overstays,” Trump said on Thursday after meeting with senators.“Crucially, this legislation must stop chain migration, and it must end the visa lottery and I think many of the Democrats agree with us on that,” the president posited.He stressed that immigration officers must have the “tools and resources.”Amnesty advocates and supporters of the DACA program are calling for immediate action and are applying pressure on Democrats to demand a vote on DREAM Act before the short-term government spending resolution expires on January 19. Even three former homeland security officials published a letter calling for a speedy resolution to the DACA issue.The White House, however, is not feeling the pressure yet.White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters in her Wednesday briefing that a deal could come in January month, but whether a deal is made at all depends on Democrats.“Look, we’d like to make a deal on securing funding for the border wall as well as ending chain migration, ending the visa lottery program, interior enforcement. We’d like to do that right away. So if the Democrats are willing to sit down and make that deal, I think we’d be happy to get that done by the end of the month,” responded Sanders.Democratic leaders in the Senate indicated this week they are unwilling to step away from their opposition to a border wall and would sink the ship over the issue.“We believe in border security,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) before offering a potentially deal-killing caveat. “If our Republican colleagues and the president engage in good faith in that negotiation — without unreasonable demands like the absurdly expensive and ineffective border wall that publicly many Republicans oppose and privately many more do,” the minority leader argued, referring to the border wall heEven an original member of the Gang of Eight — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) – countered that Schumer was being unreasonable.“Democrats cannot say no to a reasonable border plan that includes a wall,” Graham told talk show host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday before his meeting at the White House.Nonetheless, he believes a deal can be made.“So here’s what’s going to happen. The diversity lottery is stupid – literally drawing names out of a hat. President Trump is right. We need to replace that and take those 50,000 visas and use them more rationally. We need to secure our border with a wall component where it makes sense. The DACA kids, you know, need a pathway forward, those who are non-felons, and we’ve got to make sure you don’t have a down payment on chain migration,” the senator predicted.As the Trump administration and a bipartisan group of senators try to negotiate behind closed doors, House Democrats and their special interest allies hope to conflate the issue of a DACA fix and passage of The DREAM Act, a deficit-busting measure that would give amnesty to an estimated 3.4 million illegal aliens.Speaking on MSNBC, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Representative Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) said a “clean DACA” bill was as a priority for Democrats, and seemed to indicate his opposition to constructing a border wall.“I think there’s a false premise here, in other words, equating security and border security with the DACA individuals themselves. They are not a security risk to the American people. They love this country. This is the country they know and love, and they are now in a state of limbo,” he said on Wednesday.
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