Democrat Leaders Remain Opposed to Any Deal on Border Wall, DACA
Jennifer G. Hickey
Since President Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last September, Democrats and amnesty advocates have maintained the urgent need to find a final resolution to the status of DACA beneficiaries.In response to the administration’s proposal to spend $18 for the construction of a border wall, Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) inferred that the idea itself was enough to cause a government shutdown.“President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall. With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction. I’ve been clear from the beginning that Senate Democrats will consider reasonable border security measures in order to pass the Dream Act into law,” he said in a statement last week.However, the reality does not match Durbin’s rhetoric.For almost a year, Democrats have shown an unwillingness to negotiate on any measure to reform the legal immigration system or enhance the security of the nation’s borders.As the April 28 deadline to fund the government for the remainder of FY 2017 loomed, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer penned a letter to Senate Republicans warning of a possible shutdown if funding for a wall were included in a government spending measure, according to Politico.Schumer, however, was one of 80 U.S. Senators (including then-Sens. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton) to vote in support a bill that authorized 700 miles of fencing on our southern border.On the House side, the expressed opposition took a more dramatic tone.”He did not promise that he would take food out of the mouths of babies and seniors and education, clean air, clean water, scientific research off the table in a significant way in order for him to pay for his immoral, ineffective, unwise proposal of a wall,” lamented House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California.The government remained open, but Democrats remained closed down to the prospect of securing the future of the DACA beneficiaries in exchange for stronger enforcement and sensible reforms to legal immigration.In the weeks before Obama‘s policy memo creating DACA was rescinded, congressional Democrats again were signaling their refusal to negotiate on immigration.Democrats proclaimed they would not trade “protection” of DACA beneficiaries for an administration proposal to increase border security, reduce overall immigration levels and make E-Verify mandatory for employers.“Dreamers are not a bargaining chip for the border wall and inhumane deportation. Period,” tweeted Schumer Pelosi also weighed in on Twitter, saying it was “reprehensible to treat children as bargaining chips,” and that “Dreamers are not negotiable.”Pelosi, Durbin and Schumer may be willing to throw the baby out with the bath water, but at least one Democrat acknowledges that his party will need to accept trade-offs that are supported by most Americans.Former Maryland Governor and former presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley, while not in support of making permanent status for DACA beneficiaries contingent upon enforcement provisions, is at least willing to accept them as a necessary condition. “I think that’s a morally-defensible trade-off,” said O’Malley.
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