Hoyer: DACA deal a long ways off

Hoyer: DACA deal a long ways off
© Greg Nash
Lawmakers and White House officials are talking, but a bipartisan deal to protect so-called Dreamers remains a long ways away, House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse pays tribute to late Congressman Sam Johnson on the floor Barbara Lee: Congress should focus on eliminating poverty House cancels planned Thursday vote on FISA MORE (D-Md.) said Tuesday.
 
“Frankly, I don’t think we’re making a lot of progress,” Hoyer said during a press briefing in the Capitol. 
 
For weeks, Hoyer has been meeting behind closed doors with the deputy leaders of each chamber — Sens. John CornynJohn CornynGOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas Castro, Warren, Harris to speak at Texas Democratic virtual convention Democratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight MORE (R-Texas), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinFrustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  Senate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply Democratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight MORE (D-Ill.) and Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate Rep. Banks launches bid for RSC chairman MORE (R-Calif.) — as well as White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE in search of a deal to protect the hundreds of thousands of immigrants eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 
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Hoyer said the negotiators are “pretty close” to an agreement on the Dreamer protections, but have hit an impasse when it comes to the security provisions — namely the Republicans’ push to address family migration and diversity visas as part of the package.
 
“Border security is being, we think, substantially expanded beyond [border security],” he said.
 
President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE rescinded DACA in September, saying President Obama lacked the authority to create the program without congressional action. But Trump said he supports the concept, giving Congress until March 5 to come up with a permanent legislative fix. 
 
The crux of the disagreement between the parties has been over what should accompany the Dreamer protections. According to the top Democratic leaders, Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerVA hospitals mostly drop hydroxychloroquine as coronavirus treatment Democrats call on FTC to investigate allegations of TikTok child privacy violations Lawmakers introduce bill to invest 0 billion in science, tech research MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers MORE (D-Calif.), Trump in September had agreed to the contours of an immigration deal that coupled tougher border security with the Dream Act, which grants eventual citizenship to DACA-eligible people. 
 
More recently, the president has added to his list of demands, insisting that any DACA package also include provisions reducing family migration and eliminating the diversity visa lottery. Those additions have been endorsed by some Democrats — Durbin, for one, has authored a bill with Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks Comey, Rice, Clapper among GOP senator's targets for subpoenas amid Obama-era probe Schumer: GOP should 'stop sitting on their hands' on coronavirus bill MORE (R-S.C.) that addresses both issues. Pelosi has endorsed the Durbin bill. 
 
But Hoyer has been a vocal opponent of that approach, arguing that the DACA protections should be coupled with border security and nothing else. The issues of family migration and diversity visas, he says, should be considered as part of a broader comprehensive immigration reform package — something Congress should address after dealing with the more urgent fate of the Dreamers.
 
“They want to deal with a significant portion of Phase 2 in Phase 1, holding the DACA kids hostage,” Hoyer said. “We’re prepared to make some compromises on [border security]. What we’re not prepared to do is go into Phase 2 and deal with substantial changes to our immigration policies outside of the context of doing everything.”  
 
Hoyer and the group of deputy leaders are scheduled to meet again Tuesday afternoon in the Capitol.