Dream Act 2.0? Not without a better deal

Well, I suppose it’s better than another Trump “collusion” investigation. Now that Democrats have control of the House back, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is preparing for yet another doomed effort at pushing through a massive amnesty program for illegal aliens. It’s a remix of some of the Democrats’ golden oldies, revising the previous DREAM Act to include even more people with a faster path to citizenship. Or, more accurately, a shorter wait time until they can register to vote as Democrats. But this may represent an opportunity for Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to offer some serious wheeling and dealing that would expose what Pelosi’s real end-game is. (Washington Times)

House Democrats upped their ante on illegal immigration Tuesday, announcing new legislation that would not only grant legal status to potentially millions of illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” but adds hundreds of thousands of more migrants to the mix.

Dreamers would be eligible for in-state college tuition and taxpayer-backed financial aid, would get new protections against swift deportation, and would have a “direct” pathway to citizenship.

Even some already-deported illegal immigrants would be allowed to apply to return under the bill, announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrats in a rally at the Capitol.

“There should be nothing partisan or political in this legislation,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

We might have been able to take this announcement at least a bit more seriously if she hadn’t tacked on the line about there being “nothing partisan or political” about the new bill. The subject of amnesty is one of the most toxic political stews on the stove and has been for some time. Pelosi is obviously well aware of this and yet she’s trying to pass this off as just another day at the office and some sort of routine bill along the lines of naming a new Post Office.

Even knowing all of this, as I mentioned above, there might be an opportunity here. There are few people out there who are less of a fan of amnesty than me, but the GOP has already begun to come to grips with the idea that the battle of public opinion on this one has largely been lost to the liberals. Some sort of accommodation for children brought into the country illegally by their parents is definitely a majority opinion these days. Not necessarily amnesty per se, but a humanitarian arrangement to make life easier for them and bring them into the fold.

If the GOP leadership in both chambers want to score some points and get something productive done in the process, the Senate should come up with a counteroffer to Pelosi and put it on the table. I’m thinking of permanent legal alien status for the dreamers, with the ability to work and pay taxes. (And we’re only talking about the actual DACA recipients here, not a raft of new applicants numbering in the millions.) As for the TPS recipients, if their home countries are still in terrible shape, offer them automatic extensions, also with the ability to work while they are here. A permanent status offer should be off the table. The “T” in “TPS” stands for temporary.

This is a package that liberal Democrats in Congress and their base of voters should welcome. It’s not everything they want, but nobody gets everything in a negotiation process. But in return, the GOP gets funding for the wall. All of it, though it could be spaced out over a period of years so we don’t take the full budget hit all at once. In addition to that, ramp up funding to put more judges on the bench in immigration courts to handle both asylum requests for legitimate applicants who present themselves at a border crossing and deportation hearings for the illegal border jumpers. (There’s some more of that give and take I mentioned.) Expand the Border Patrol and fund more detention facilities that are both humane and secure.

Would such a bill make its way to the President’s desk? Of course not. Pelosi and her crew will shoot it down immediately, despite offering them much of what they’ve been asking for. And they’ll do that because they’re not really concerned about helping the dreamers and the TPS residents. They’re looking for a chance to “own” Trump and to register millions of new Democrats. Anything less doesn’t gin up the base so it won’t be considered. But at least the GOP can come away from the negotiations able to honestly say that they tried.

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