Paul Ryan: C'mon, deporting DREAMers isn't in America's interest

Don’t let the fact that there’s every reason to believe the president agrees with him stop you from jeering.

Heck, even border-hawk extraordinaire Mickey Kaus agrees — sort of. Kaus is open to a deal to amnestize DREAMers *provided* that it really is comprehensive, which means serious security improvements like E-Verify and a reduction in chain migration along the lines of Tom Cotton’s RAISE Act. Ryan, in fact, underlines the same point in the clip below, that an amnesty for current DREAMers needs to come with a guarantee that we won’t need to do this again. Because, given the incentives, without beefier security we will need to do this again:

Can you imagine a stronger incentive for illegal immigration than the idea that if you sneak into the country your kids will get to be U.S. citizens? Sure, the protections don’t currently apply to recent entrants — under Obama’s plan, you had to have come before 2007. But those dates can be changed — Obama himself tried to do it once. And the rationale for rewarding those who arrive when young — that they’re here through “no fault of their own” and know only America, etc. — can apply on into the future, with no apparent stopping point. What about the poor kids who came in 2008? 2018? There’s a reason no country has a rule that if you sneak in as a minor, you’re a citizen. We’d be inviting the world.

Second, it would have knock-on effects. Under “chain migration” rules established in 1965 — ironically as a sop to conservatives, who foolishly thought that they’d boost European inflows — new citizens can bring in their siblings and adult children, who can bring in their siblings and in-laws, until whole villages have moved to the United States. That means today’s 690,000 dreamers would quickly become millions of newcomers, who may well be low-skilled and who would almost certainly include the parents who brought them — the ones who, in theory, are at fault.

If you think Kaus’s scenario of DREAM-based chain migration is fanciful, let me gently remind you that Hillary Clinton proposed an executive amnesty along those very lines last year. She wanted to build on Obama’s DACA amnesty, which legalized illegals who came here as minors, and his DAPA amnesty, which legalized the illegal-immigrant parents of natural-born U.S. citizens, by synthesizing the two and legalizing the illegal-immigrant parents of DACA kids. Kaus also gets at why I thought Hillary’s 2014 comments about deporting children who’d recently crossed the border were a fair “gotcha” about DACA even though DACA applies only to minors who’ve lived here for years. There is, as Kaus says, no apparent stopping point, particularly given the degree of radicalism on this issue among progressives. If the U.S. as a moral matter should show mercy to any child who enters the country illegally, the supposedly key DACA criterion about having resided in the United States for years suddenly seems not so key. Liberals aren’t even promising to draw that line as a condition of amnestizing current DREAMers. Better security and stricter rules about family migration are the only way.

Ryan sounds here like he understands that the price of amnesty today is no more amnesties in the future but we’ll see what emerges from the House this week:

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) plan to meet with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and the leaders of the congressional Asian, Black and Hispanic caucuses to discuss potential debate of the Dream Act, a bill that would grant legal protections to the roughly 690,000 people currently enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama-era executive action that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children…

The meeting, also confirmed by several other aides in both parties, is a signal that congressional leaders are indeed trying to build support for a broader plan that would pair some kind of legislation to deal with dreamers — the common term for DACA recipients — with a plan to expand security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pelosi will discuss the state of play on DREAM over dinner tonight at the White House with her old friends Donald and Chuck. Getting House Republicans to go along with a DREAM deal is easier said than done even though legalizing DREAMers tends to poll well. (Case in point, a new Morning Consult survey finds 54 percent in favor of citizenship and another 19 percent in favor of permanent legal residency.) As Harry Enten notes, lots of things poll well nationally that end up going nowhere in Congress because support among the public is broad but thin while opposition is narrow but very, very deep. Expanded background checks are a perfect example. Polls show Americans back those to the tune of 85-90 percent, but the 10-15 percent of gun-rights advocates who don’t have long memories and will make their unhappiness loudly known to Republicans. The same could happen with DREAM — unless Trump puts some skin in the game by supporting a DREAM deal, which is no doubt what Pelosi and Schumer will be leaning on him to do tonight. Such is the Trump cult of personality within the GOP base that if POTUS says a DREAM deal is good, enough righties will be pacified to make it safe for House Republicans to vote for it. Ann Coulter and a few other committed nationalists will howl, but who cares? They’re about as powerful right now as conservatives are.

Here’s Ryan today followed by his negotiation partner Pelosi yesterday comparing deporting DREAMers to interning Japanese-Americans during World War II or something.