Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and most of their Democratic colleagues have been calling for a “clean” DACA fix. Presumably, this means that they would like either an addition to the budget agreement or a standalone bill which simply offers citizenship to all of the current and former DACA enrollees. It’s clearly a problem in search of a solution, so Senator Chuck Grassley (R – Iowa) and a group of other Republicans have put forward a compromise.
The new bill is being referred to as the SECURE Act and it addresses a variety of immigration and national security issues including the fate of the “dreamers.” But I somehow get the feeling that Chuck and Nancy really aren’t going to be wild about it. (Daily Caller)
Senate Republicans introduced legislation Tuesday that would not give permanent amnesty to so-called “Dreamers,” would lower legal immigration and provide funding for border barriers.
President Donald Trump has called on Congress to find a legislative fix for the roughly 800,000 illegal immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The White House additionally laid out a 70-point immigration plan that featured a litany of wishes including implementing a merit-based immigration system, the hiring of 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and border wall funding.
Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s SECURE Act largely fulfills these goals and has the backing of Senate leadership as Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn is a co-sponsor of the legislation.
So does this solve the problem of the dreamers the way the Democrats wanted? Yes and no. As things stand now, in a few months every one of them would be an eligible target for ICE deportation efforts when DACA expires. Under this new proposal, there is no general amnesty nor immediate opportunity for citizenship, but it would instead implement the BRIDGE Act, giving them work permits and protection from deportation for three years.
While this will no doubt elicit howls of protest from the Senate Minority Leader, it’s actually not that bad of a deal. Those working on a legal path to citizenship would have more time to get the process in gear while being able to legally work and pay taxes. Those unwilling or unable to follow the legal path to citizenship like all other immigrants would have several years to figure out where they are going and get their ducks in a row. All things considered, it’s not a bad deal since they would otherwise be in the country illegally come springtime.
What the GOP wants in return is pretty much the exact list I’ve been asking for here when previously discussing the issue. There’s funding for roughly 6,000 more Border Patrol agents, $300M for “border barrier” infrastructure (including walls, fences and electronic surveillance), social media screening and DNA sample collection for applicants from high-risk countries and more funding for criminal alien repatriation flights (deportations).
What’s missing from the bill is any mention of making the E-Verify system mandatory, but I suppose you can’t always get everything you want.
Prospects for this to draw the support of and satisfy a sufficient number of Democrats? Probably darned near zero, at least in the Senate. But if Chuck Schumer wants to make this the hill he dies on in the looming budget battle, at least he can’t say that the GOP didn’t put an offer on the table. Frankly, it looks like a great deal to me, and even better than the one I’d been imagining. I was assuming there would have to be amnesty and citizenship for the dreamers if we wanted the rest of those wish list items. That still might be the case, but at least we have a starting point for negotiations which isn’t an abject surrender on amnesty.