Democrats skeptical of DACA deal framework

Democrats skeptical of DACA deal framework
© Getty Images
 
Some Democratic lawmakers are pushing back on including changes to "chain migration," which allows citizens and permanent residents to sponsor family members, as well as changes to the State Department's Diversity Visa Lottery system as part of the potential deal.
 
The pushback underscores the uphill climb negotiators face in cobbling together an agreement that satisfies either party's base.
 
Members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus — which includes the Asian Pacific American, Black and Hispanic caucuses — said after a meeting with Democratic leadership Tuesday night that they did not believe changes to family-based immigration or the diversity visa lottery should be part of any agreement.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
"I have no doubt that those will get discussed. ... But we're going to really push them to [focusing on DACA and border security]," Rep. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamNew Mexico governor warns sheriffs they must enforce new red flag gun law or resign Capitol Christmas tree lights up Washington Here are 16 places celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day for the first time this year MORE (D-N.M.), chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told reporters, calling it "something that gets the majority of the Senate on board, gets the majority of the House on board."
 
Rep. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoOne lawmaker gets engaged, another married around Valentine's Day Stage production 'Americano!' tells the life and struggles of a 'Dreamer' Democratic lawmaker says Trump 'doesn't have full command' on Iran MORE (D-Ariz.) argued that visa lottery reforms or changes to family immigration should be discussed as part of a larger comprehensive immigration bill.
 
Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) said she has "real issues" with linking either issues to a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 
 
"I even have issues with the border security element of DACA and dreamers. ... If we want to talk about border security, you know, let's do it in a comprehensive immigration bill," she said. 
 
Lawmakers said after a White House meeting that they had agreed to link the two issues, as well as border security, to a fix for DACA. 
 
But a group of House members, as well as Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. House passes historic legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime MORE (D-Calif.), raised concerns about the framework being touted by Republicans and the White House during a more than hourlong meeting with Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats introduce bill to reverse Trump's shift of military money toward wall Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Ill.), House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Stone judge under pressure over calls for new trial MORE (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerVulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket Trump names Pence to lead coronavirus response Trump administration to cut funds from health programs to pay for coronavirus response MORE (D-Md.). 
 
Durbin, who has taken the lead on negotiating for Senate Democrats, acknowledged that rank-and-file members had concerns. 
 
"There's so much uncertainty. We don't have anything really nailed down. People are worried about the direction," he told reporters. 
 
Asked if he would support the four parameters being outlined, he added that it would come down to the details of what was ultimately included. 
 
"I'm just saying that there are ways to do things that are painless and ways that are fatal," he said. 
 
Hoyer also downplayed that Democrats had committed to a framework that linked family-based immigration reforms, DACA, border security and the visa lottery. 
 
"I'm prepared to discuss resolving the issue of the Dreamers. ... Now that does not mean I am for X, Y or Z," he said. 
 
The Trump administration announced last year that it was ending the DACA program, which allows some immigrants brought into the country as children to work and go to school if they meet certain requirements. 
 
Though that gives Congress until March to come up with an agreement, Democrats are demanding a fix be included in any legislation to fund the government past Jan. 19. They're also under pressure from progressives and outside activists to take a hardline in the negotiations after Democratic leadership left immigration out of both the September and December funding bills.
 
 
Durbin, however, said Tuesday night that Democrats are sticking with their demand while acknowledging the short timeframe. 
 
"It's even worse than you think. It's 10 days away by a generous count and four of those days we're not in session," he said. 
 
Asked about McConnell's comments, Durbin declined to speculate on whether or not more Democrats would vote "no" on an additional continuing resolution if there isn't a DACA deal. 
 
"He has not been helpful at any stage when it comes to this matter, and I'm hoping that other senators will prevail in the Republican caucus," he said.