Before you say no, let me remind you that “DREAM in exchange for the wall” is precisely the bargain Hannity proposed in his exchange with Geraldo Rivera on Tuesday.
Then again, Hannity’s been known to change his mind on immigration. Sometimes more than once.
Nelson’s proposal is actually more complicated than that. He’s offering wall funding for (1) DREAM, (2) a legislative fix that would end child separation permanently, and importantly (3) a legislative fix that would ensure child illegals couldn’t be held in detention for more than 20 days. DREAM is doable, as Trump’s already signaled he’d be willing to deal on that for certain concessions. A fix to child separation is also doable, especially now that POTUS has ended the policy via executive order. He’s spent the past week inviting Congress to act to formally end the policy. Okay, says Nelson, we will.
The sticking point is number three. Freeing young illegals from detention after 20 days is already the law of the land, but not because there’s a federal law or even a federal regulation requiring it. It’s because of the Flores settlement, a Ninth Circuit ruling that held that minors couldn’t be detained for more than 20 days. (Adults are a different matter.) Nelson is proposing that Congress codify that rule as a federal statute but there’s no way the GOP will go along. It would amount to codifying catch-and-release for young illegals. Republicans like Cruz are willing to do things that would reduce the amount of time asylum applicants spend in detention, like speeding up the process by doubling the number of immigration judges. But they’re not going to put catch-and-release on the books for kids. Family detention, the option that at least a plurality of Americans prefers, will be the GOP position.
Especially since it sounds like POTUS isn’t biting on Cruz’s “more immigration judges” solution:
We shouldn’t be hiring judges by the thousands, as our ridiculous immigration laws demand, we should be changing our laws, building the Wall, hire Border Agents and Ice and not let people come into our country based on the legal phrase they are told to say as their password.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2018
Even if you could somehow resolve the detention issue, I’m not sure Trump would take Nelson’s offer. He’s willing to sign off on DREAM, yes, but earlier this year he asked for nearly his entire Christmas wish list on immigration in return for it — the wall plus new limits on chain migration plus the end of the diversity visa lottery. There’s no way Democrats are giving him all that for a limited (although still big) amnesty like DREAM. They’d want amnesty for all illegals in return. So unless Trump is willing to come off of that and Democrats are willing to come around to family detention, there’s not going to be a deal. Even though “DREAM in exchange for the wall” is an obviously doable one on both sides.