House Republicans Put Forward DACA Proposal, Trump Immediately Rejects It
House Republicans put forward a plan to protect DACA beneficiaries, but President Trump appears to have doomed it already.
Late yesterday, House Republicans put forward their version of a plan to protect the beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as well as deal with other aspects of the immigration issue:
The new compromise GOP immigration bill includes provisions that would provide legal status for people who came to the U.S. illegally as children — including a path to citizenship — bar the separation of children from their parent or legal guardian at the border, and provide $25 billion in additional funding for a wall along the southern U.S. border.
But the measure would halt the issuance of green cards in the sixth year of the program if border security funding that Congress had previously allotted is suddenly blocked.
House Republican leaders released text of the highly anticipated measure Thursday afternoon to its members. The chamber is slated to vote on the legislation next week, in addition to a more conservative measure.
The 293-page bill would permit people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to apply for a “6-year indefinitely renewable contingent nonimmigrant legal status,” according to a summary of the measure distributed to members by the office of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. Under the provisions of the bill, participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would eventually be eligible to apply for green cards, and for citizenship.
To fund President Donald Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the bill would provide appropriations of $25 billion, meeting the president’s request, to subsidize the wall, border access roads, border technology and mobility, according to an official summary of the bill.
And it includes a provision stating that minors apprehended at the border must not be separated from their parent or legal guardian while in government custody.
The measure would also eliminate the diversity visa lottery, reallocating visas to a new merit-based visa program. The new program would be open to both children of migrant workers who were brought into the U.S. legally as minors and have been in the U.S. continuously for 10 years before the date of enactment as well as any person granted “contingent nonimmigrant status” because of DACA eligibility.
As a result of eliminating the diversity visa lottery, the measure would reallocate 55,000 visas to the new visa program. There’s one major caveat, however: It ties the issuing of the visas to the money spent on the border security.
This morning, though, President Trump essentially shut the door on that proposal, and likely guaranteed that there would be no action on immigration in general or the DACA issue specifically before the midterm elections:
WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Friday that he would not sign a compromise immigration bill worked out by Republican lawmakers in the House, severely damaging its prospects ahead of a vote planned for next week.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan is planning to hold votes on two immigration measures: a hard-line conservative bill, which is almost certain to fail, and new legislation worked out by Republican immigration moderates and House conservatives, which Mr. Ryan promoted on Thursday as a “very good compromise” that he hoped would pass.
On Friday morning, Mr. Trump seemed to dismiss the measure.
“I’m looking at both of them,” Mr. Trump said on Fox and Friends. “I certainly wouldn’t sign the more moderate one.”
Just on Wednesday, Mr. Ryan told House Republicans that Mr. Trump was enthusiastic about their effort on immigration.
A draft of the compromise bill was circulated among lawmakers on Thursday. The measure would make sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration system, shifting preference from the family members of American citizens to employment-based criteria, and creating a special visa program that would give young undocumented immigrants the chance to become citizens based on factors like employment and education.
The bill would also toughen rules for asylum seekers, and would provide billions of dollars for Mr. Trump’s promised wall on the southwest border while imposing new limits on legal immigration.
Even before the president’s remarks, the bill’s passage seemed highly uncertain. Democrats are all but certain to vote against it, and the measure was quickly labeled “amnesty” by critics on the right. Republican leaders have said they did not want to pass immigration legislation that Mr. Trump would not sign.
The compromise bill is the product of weeks of negotiations among lawmakers as House Republican leaders moved to defuse a rebellion from moderates seeking action to protect young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children. The moderates used a parliamentary move called a discharge petition in an attempt to force House action, but they fell two signatures short of what they needed to succeed.
Mr. Trump’s comments instantly undercut Mr. Ryan’s argument against the moderates’ petition drive, which the speaker had said was pushing legislation that the president would never sign.
As it was, it was not entirely likely that the proposal that the Republican leadership put forward in an effort to blunt an effort by a group of Republicans and Democrats to force a vote on another DACA proposal via a procedure known as a Discharge Petition. On the right, the leadership plan faces objections by Republican hardliners who are trying to put forward a far less generous bill put forward by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Paul Goodlatte. That plan would benefit far fewer potential DACA beneficiaries than the leadership plan, and would also have made radical changes to the laws governing legal immigration that, according to some estimates, would cut the number of legal immigrants able to immigrate to the United States by nearly fifty percent. On the other side of the aisle, House Democrats who had signed on to the Discharge Petition objected to the leadership plan because it would have made what they consider far too drastic changes to the legal immigration system. Given that, the odds that this leadership plan would pass in the House assuming the planned vote goes forward next week, which may be unlikely now that the President has essentially slammed the door on the bill.
Even if the bill passes the House, it’s unclear if it even has a chance of passing in the Senate. The last time that the Senate tried to deal with the DACA issue came in March when the Senate rejected an effort by Arizona Senator Jeff Flake that would have provided temporary protection to DACA beneficiaries that would have lasted for three years. Before that, the Senate had rejected four different DACA proposals including one put forward by a bipartisan group that called itself the Common Sense Coalition. This came after the events of January when the government was temporarily shut down partly due to the DACA issue and the fact that the President had essentially pulled the carpet out from under both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate when he turned around and rejected a deal that he had negotiated with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that would have protected DACA beneficiaries as well as providing the President with the funding for his border wall, which he continues to say is a non-negotiable requirement for any bill he would consider.
Taking all this into account, the prospect for DACA legislation at this late date was already grim. With the President’s comments, it now appears to be impossible.