Pelosi, Dems accuse GOP of moving goal posts on DACA deal

Pelosi, Dems accuse GOP of moving goal posts on DACA deal
© Greg Nash
House Democrats are amplifying their concerns with an emerging immigration agreement, accusing President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' MORE and Republican leaders of moving the goal posts in the eleventh hour of the debate. 
 
Democrats are increasingly indignant that Republicans are insisting protections for the so-called Dreamers — immigrants brought to the country illegally as children — be combined not only with enhanced border security, but also two additional provisions: a reduction in family migration and a scaling back of the diversity visa program.
 
 
”The goal posts have moved,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). 
 
Senate negotiators — who have worked for months trying to secure a bipartisan deal protecting those eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — said Thursday they’ve secured a preliminary deal. But the rising concern from Democrats in the lower chamber, combined with early pushback from the White House, could complicate the effort to get the package across the finish line. 
 
“I do not support diversity visas, the lottery, or any other ancillary issue that … has been in the past a part of a larger comprehensive immigration reform package,” said Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
 
Pelosi on Thursday said she’s optimistic that “a solution is in sight.” But she also voiced frustrations that the terms of the initial talks have changed, largely in favor of enforcement-minded Republicans.
 
“We, all along, were going along with what the president said: He supports the Dreamers … and he wants to have some border security,” Pelosi said Thursday during a press briefing in the Capitol. “Then this week it emerged that he wanted to change immigration policy [by] addressing family unification initiatives … and ending the diversity visa [program].
 
“People were finding out for the first time that there were communities that were affected by this very directly, and we have to address those concerns.”
 
Indeed, the changes have sparked a backlash from liberal Democrats, including some leaders and numerous members of the party’s influential minority caucuses.
 
Rep. G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldDemocrats call for increased security after 'send her back' chants The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (D-N.C.), former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, said he’d likely oppose a DACA package that included sharp changes to the diversity visa program, which benefits countries with low numbers of immigrants to the United States, including many in Africa. 
 
“I’ve learned in this business that you don’t absolutely close the door on every possibility. But it’s pretty darn close to a deal-breaker,” Butterfield said.
 
Fueling the Congressional Black Caucus’s opposition is the sense among many members that the Republicans want to dismantle the diversity visa program, not out of national security concerns but for reasons related to race.
 
“I don’t think it’s as much related to national security as it is to reducing the number of immigrants of color — black immigrants — coming into the country,” Butterfield said. “I hope I’m wrong about that, but that’s what it seems to suggest."
 
Crowley is also pushing back against the emerging DACA legislation, arguing that anything outside the Dreamer protections should be debated later as part of a larger comprehensive immigration reform package.
 
“I will reserve my judgment on that when I see the bill itself, [but] I have strong opposition to including diversity visas and family unification — any changes to those laws — as it pertains to the passage of DACA. I don’t think it belongs here,” Crowley said Thursday. “This is being hoisted now at the last minute by the Republicans who don’t want to see anything passed.”
 
Complicating the debate, a group of conservative House Republicans introduced a DACA bill on Wednesday that won quick praise from Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Trump fans the flames of white grievance Ex-White House spokesman Raj Shah joins Fox Corporation as senior vice president Trump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report MORE (R-Wis.), who suggested it will reach the floor in short order. 
 
“I think it is a good bill,” Ryan told reporters Thursday. “It's important that we start putting ideas on the table.”
 
Sponsored by Reps. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteImmigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview It’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute MORE (R-Va.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) and Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyTrump angry more Republicans haven't defended his tweets: report Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses MORE (R-Ariz.), the GOP proposal is a wish list for conservative immigration hardliners, eliminating the diversity visa program, curbing family migration and reducing numbers of legal immigrants while providing new funding for a border wall and tougher interior enforcement. 
 
Pelosi pronounced the bill dead-on-arrival even in the House, where the Republicans enjoy a commanding majority. She predicted half of the Republicans would oppose it, along with all of the Democrats.
 
“Do you think Democrats are going to vote for that bill? That’s completely out of the question,” she said. “It has no prospect for success. Zero.”