White House: New bipartisan DACA plan "giant amnesty"

Is the “Common Sense Caucus” a triumph of marketing over accuracy? The White House has been very clear on the terms it will accept for granting a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and normalization of the program. They want a border wall and an end to broad family-unification or “chain migration” practices in order to keep the problem from recurring. Donald Trump went so far as to issue a veto threat for anything that doesn’t fully resolve the issue.

With time ticking down, yet another bipartisan gang with better branding has offered a deal that falls short of those demands. It also falls short of common sense:

A bipartisan group of senators reached a deal on immigration Wednesday as President Trump attempted to preemptively undercut the proposal by delivering an ultimatum: Pass my plan or risk a veto.

The self-dubbed “Common Sense Caucus” of senators late Wednesday circulated legislation that would fulfill Trump’s calls to grant legal status to 1.8 million young immigrants and would appropriate $25 billion for southern border security construction projects over the next decade — not immediately, as Trump wants. The bill also would curb family-based immigration programs, but not to the extent Trump is seeking, and would not end a diversity visa lottery program that he wants eliminated.

The response from the White House was swift. One senior official called it a “giant amnesty,” and a public response from DHS condemned it as “the end of immigration enforcement”:

The Trump administration is denouncing a bipartisan immigration deal in the Senate, saying it will “create a mass amnesty for over 10 million illegal aliens, including criminals.”

At issue is a compromise announced Wednesday by 16 senators with centrist views. It seeks to balance Democrats’ fight to offer citizenship to young “Dreamer” immigrants with President Donald Trump’s demands for billions to build a border wall with Mexico.

The Department of Homeland Security sent out a statement on the measure just before 1 a.m. Thursday, saying the compromise would “be the end of immigration enforcement in America and only serve to draw millions more illegal aliens with no way to remove them.”

So … that would be a no, then. Trump has warned that anything short of his final proposal would get a veto. and with the DACA deadline approaching, that would be bad news for Democrats who unlinked the issue from the budget. According to the Washington Post, though, they think the deadline might go away:

A growing sense of diminishing urgency also set in as top leaders signaled that ongoing court challenges may give Congress more time than Trump’s deadline of March 5 to replace an Obama-era program shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

That’s a risky strategy, however. DACA exists under an executive order, not statute, which is what Congress is trying to change. Two courts have ruled that Trump can’t completely end DACA, but (a) he can shut it down for anyone who hasn’t already enrolled in it, and (b) these rulings are almost certain to be overturned on appeal. The argument that succeeding presidents can’t modify or cancel previous executive orders amounts to a straitjacket on presidential authority and prosecutorial discretion — the very basis for the EO on DACA.

Good luck in getting the Supreme Court to sign off on that. When they don’t, Democrats who just assumed that the courts would protect them from their own political folly will be left very vulnerable to the activists they got fired up over this issue over the past year.

The Trump proposal has been put forward by Chuck Grassley, which Trump has explicitly endorsed as the only bill he’ll sign. That means that Paul Ryan won’t even bother to take up anything else, as his conservative flank has warned him about watering down what they already see as a retreat from their own immigration principles. No Republican in either chamber is going to risk an aye vote for a bill that has no chance of getting off Capitol Hill, and which would be vetoed if it did.

Common sense in any other place than Washington would be to pass the Grassley bill, which gives Democrats wins on DACA and paths to citizenship and Republicans wins on the border wall and immigration reform, and would get signed into law immediately. They must have a different definition of “common sense” on Capitol Hill.

Update: Big thanks to Drudge Report and welcome to his readers!