Actually, per Breitbart, he’s working on two bills. One would repeal DACA, Obama’s 2012 executive order that suspended deportations for qualifying young illegals. The other, a more urgent priority, would block Obama from expanding DACA. That means no executive amnesty for the Central American children who’ve come here recently (although they could, I assume, still be allowed to stay under asylum laws) and, maybe, no executive amnesty for the five million adult illegals whom O has promised immigration activists he’ll help.
Given the post-Romney terror within the GOP leadership over being demagogued as anti-Latino, I wonder if the bills will get more flack from Democrats or from Republicans.
“No legislation [to solve the border crisis] should be considered unless it specifically prohibits Obama from expanding” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), “which allows those who have come here illegally to stay,” Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told Breitbart News. “That should be a prerequisite for any bill considered to address this crisis.”
Frazier also told Breitbart News that Cruz is working on a bill on the matter that aims to end DACA altogether.
Cruz’s stand would appear to exclude support for a bill offered by his Texas colleagues Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the Senate Minority Whip, and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), and House officials crafting the GOP bill in the lower chamber have not discussed any provisions related to reigning in DACA.
Simple logic. If DACA and the prospect of “permiso” it raises for illegal immigrant children are encouraging people to come then it’s time to take away that incentive. And it is an incentive: Politico notes that Susan Collins made a presentation at a GOP Senate lunch recently showing that apprehensions of young illegals at the border have more than doubled since Obama issued DACA in 2012, circumstantial evidence that more kids are coming now that word’s gotten out that the president’s not a stickler about sending young illegals home. Are Senate Republicans willing to join Cruz in pounding the table about DACA, though, or is the thought of DNC attack ads accusing them of hating children too worrisome? It would be … odd for the leadership to have spent the last 18 months flirting with comprehensive immigration reform in hopes of building goodwill with Latinos only to turn around now and back Cruz on undoing Obama’s kids amnesty. The politics of all this haven’t changed that much. Or have they?
Some Republicans grumble to Politico that fighting over DACA now will only make it harder to pass funding for more security to handle the border crisis. But that funding is already blocked thanks to Democrats like Reid and Pelosi, remember? The emerging Democratic line in Congress is that they won’t support any bill that makes it easier to deport kids who’ve arrived here recently. The “GOP hates kids” demagoguery is too precious to them; they won’t give it up for something as trivial as a deterrent to illegal immigration. Why would a party that favors open borders do that? So either the GOP’s going to cave and pass a “clean” funding bill, with no provisions in it a la Cornyn/Cuellar that would expedite deportations of young illegals, or they might as well go all in and have a big fight with Democrats over DACA. I sure hope it’s the latter, not just because this incentive to border-crossing needs to be lifted but because I’m dying to see how many 2016 Republican hopefuls follow Cruz’s lead in opposing amnesty for DREAMers. Cruz can get away with it because, if he runs, it’ll be as a stalwart tea-party conservative. Everyone else in the field will be running to various degrees to his left, which means they’re stuck between alienating centrists by backing Cruz here or alienating righties by opposing him. Which, of course, is exactly what Cruz wants. He’s seizing a potential litmus-test issue in the primary and forcing his competition to choke on it.
And yet, I’m a little surprised that Cruz himself is willing to come out against DACA. He hasn’t taken a “send ’em all home” hard line as a senator. He’s against a path to citizenship but has made occasional approving noises about legalization. Even he, I suspect, by and large accepts the CW that Republicans need to do better at winning over Latinos. The fact that he wants to nuke DACA makes me wonder if he’s planning to soften this blow somehow, maybe by endorsing some sort of legislative fix for DREAMers down the road after the border crisis has eased, or if he’s calculated that the politics of immigration have shifted so sharply and irretrievably from all this that there are now potentially more votes to be had from being a stalwart border hawk than from pandering to Latino voters with various forms of amnesty. Hope he knows what he’s doing.
Update: Cruz’s office e-mails to say that they’re focused first and foremost on stopping DACA. What happens to DREAMers currently covered by the policy will be handled later; right now, the most important thing is to remove the incentive for further illegal immigration by ending the policy. Especially at a moment when Obama’s talking about expanding it to adult illegals.
Update: Yep, looks like my headline here is wrong. Cruz wants to end DACA — but not repeal it.
“We want to stop any more people from getting deferred action under DACA and we want to stop the president from being able to expand it as we have heard he wants to do,” spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told National Review Online.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) accused Cruz of attempting to deport the people who have already passed through the DACA program, but this bill does not do that.
“Our bill doesn’t address people who have already received deferred action under DACA,” Frazier explained.
If you already qualify for amnesty under DACA, you get to keep your amnesty. This is all about ending eligibility for future illegals, not taking it away from people who already have it. That makes sense in light of what I said above. Cruz wants to show that he’s tougher on illegal immigration than his GOP rivals but not so tough that he’s a punching bag for “YOU HATE CHILDREN!” attacks from the left. He’s willing to let children currently involved in the program keep their eligibility. Which makes this a miniature version of comprehensive immigration reform: So long as future waves of illegals are turned away, the ones who are already here enjoy legalization.