What Price DACA?
If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi thought they had an airtight agreement with President Trump for a quick fix to the DACA program, they had another thing coming. What finally emerged from the White House is a long list of immigration reforms that the President says must be enacted along with any resolution to President Obama’s illegal executive action that provided deferred deportation and work permits to an estimated 800,000 illegals who were brought to the United States as minors.
Not long after Trump announced that he was rescinding the DACA program and giving Congress six months to address the issue, the President hosted a much heralded dinner with Schumer and Pelosi at the White House. The two leaders of the Democratic Party in Congress rushed to the microphones to proclaim that they had a DACA deal with Trump, with the caveat that the President would take a border wall off the table as part of a deal.
Grassroots conservatives sounded the alarm. How could the President eliminate one of his key campaign promises while providing what many of his supporters see as amnesty for illegal immigrants? The answer, of course, is that he can’t. Trump quickly backpedaled, saying last month that his policy was “DACA now, and the wall very soon.” Then he emphasized his campaign promise: “But the wall will happen.”
Over the course of the last few weeks, the Washington press hounded the White House Press Secretary for details about a DACA deal, eliciting the open-ended response that a Trump recommendation would include a comprehensive range of immigration reforms that would address both the security and the economic concerns of American workers and families.
Now we have the President’s proposal. It is a far cry from the quick fix envisioned by Schumer and Pelosi. It is more like a full-fledged overhaul of immigration policy that reflects Trump’s campaign theme that marked his effort to win the White House from the day he announced his candidacy more than two years ago. A wall along the southern border tops the list. But the wall is only the beginning. Included is an additional effort to remove illegal border crossers, an end to sanctuary cities, the mandatory use of E-Verify to protect American workers, a crack down on visa overstays, an end to extended-family chain migration, and the creation of a merit system for green card qualification.
Trump said last weekend that these immigration reforms “must be included” in any legislation that addresses the DACA issue. “Without these reforms, illegal immigration and chain migration, which severely and unfairly burden American workers and taxpayers, will continue without end,” Trump said in a letter to Congress.
Schumer and Pelosi immediately cried foul. Trump’s proposal violates what they thought was the outline of a deal forged at their dinner with the President. “This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement.
So what once appeared to be a quick fix now looks like a bitter standoff. Trump’s skillful use of the DACA issue to introduce long-overdue immigration reforms will be welcomed by his supporters in Congress and the millions of voters who sent him to the White House. But Democrats will dig in and many in his own party will object as well.
Now that Trump has outlined his immigration demands, he faces key questions. What if any will Trump give up to provide a compromise solution to the DACA problem? Will he be willing to compromise at all or simply let the DACA program lapse? How many of his immigration demands can he sacrifice without alienating his core supporters? Trump’s supporters are watching and waiting.
President Trump’s immigration proposal includes the following:
* Fund and complete construction of the southern border wall
* Ensure the safe and expeditious return of Unaccompanied Alien Children and family units
* End abuse of our asylum system by tightening standards, imposing penalties for fraud, and ensuring detention while claims are verified
* Remove illegal border crossers quickly by hiring an additional 370 immigration judges and 1,000 ICE attorneys
* Stop “sanctuary cities”
* Strengthen law enforcement by hiring 10,000 more ICE officers and 300 federal prosecutors
* End visa overstays by establishing reforms to ensure their swift removal
* Protect U.S. workers by requiring E-Verify and strengthening laws to stop employment discrimination against U.S. workers
* End extended-family chain migration by limiting family-based green cards to include spouses and minor children
* Establish a points-based system for green cards to protect U.S. workers and taxpayers
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During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.