The Art of an Amnesty Deal?
Legislative Update By: Robert Law
There was mass confusion and chaos in Washington last week amid reports that President Donald Trump had struck an amnesty deal with Congressional Democratic leaders. Last Wednesday night, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) emerged from a private dinner with the president, claiming Trump agreed to sign the DREAM Act, supposedly with no concessions from Democrats on enforcement. When the White House refuted that a deal had been made, Pelosi altered her statement to claim, “We agreed to plan to work at an agreement to protect our nation’s Dreamers from deportation. (The Hill, Sept. 14, 2017) “We [will] review border security measures that do not include building a wall as we go forward,” she continued. (Id.) After significant conservative blowback Wednesday night into Thursday morning, the president finally addressed the issue after landing in Florida to review Hurricane Irma damage, saying “We’re working on a plan for DACA.” (Id.)
An important distinction that the media and pro-amnesty lawmakers of both parties are intentionally deceiving the American public with is that the DREAM Act would amnesty millions more illegal aliens than ever received DACA status. To qualify for President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty program, DACA recipients had to have (1) claimed to enter the country unlawfully before the age of 16; (2) resided (unlawfully) continuously since June 15, 2007; and be under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, among other criteria. (USCIS DACA Guidelines) The latest data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for processing DACA applications, show that approximately 800,000 illegal aliens have received DACA at any point in the five year history of the program, with only around 690,000 currently enrolled. (USCIS DACA Data) The DREAM Act (S. 1615), authored by former Gang of Eight Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) this Congress, it not so narrowly tailored. In fact, the DREAM Act is an all-encompassing amnesty bill available to illegal aliens who (1) claimed to have entered unlawfully before age 18; (2) have resided in the country for at least four years (corresponding with Obama’s second term of dismantled immigration enforcement); and (3) no upper age limit, among other criteria. (S. 1615) Even the open borders Migration Policy Institute (MPI) concedes how broad this amnesty bill would be. According to MPI, 3.3 million illegal aliens meet the minimum requirements with 1.8 million qualifying for “conditional legal status” and 1.5 million illegal aliens eventually getting full legal permanent resident (LPR or green card) status. (MPI 2017 DREAM Act Estimate, July 2017)
But even these calculations on DACA and the DREAM Act do not tell the full story. Because of our current chain migration policies, once these amnestied illegal aliens receive a green card they can turn around and immediately sponsor their illegal alien parents for a green card—bestowing cherished legal status in America to the very people even pro-amnesty advocates concede are “guilty” of violating our immigration laws. In total, this amnesty will be larger than the 1986 amnesty President Reagan signed as a “one time event” to regain control of our immigration system. The amnesty happened immediately but the enforcement never did—due to obstruction led by then-Rep. Schumer—and the predictable result has been the explosion of the illegal alien population ever since. As frustration from Trump’s base mounted on social media, the president weighed in again, tweeting “CHAIN MIGRATION cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on Immigration!” (Politico, Sept. 15, 2017)
If Democrats are serious about finding a legislative solution for the DACA population—illegal aliens pro amnesty lawmakers repeatedly claim are the most sympathetic—they need to come to the negotiating table in good faith. First, they need to reject their greedy tendency to overreach and limit any legalization to DACA recipients who also meet other vetting standards, not the overly broad DREAM Act. They must also support the RAISE Act which ends chain migration, cuts the future flow of legal migration in half to approximately 550,000 per year, and prevents the amnestied DACA recipients from ever sponsoring their lawbreaking parents. The deal must also include mandatory nationwide E-Verify to prevent illegal aliens from taking American jobs, enhanced interior enforcement from the Davis-Oliver Act, and complete construction of the border wall (where appropriate). (See The Hill, Sept. 14, 2017)