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 passes stopgap as spending talks stall This week: Round 2 of House impeachment inquiry hearings Lawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms 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 CornynSenate passes legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack 2020 Republicans accuse Schumer of snubbing legislation MORE (R-Texas), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Democratic senators introduce bill to push ICE to stop 'overuse' of solitary confinement MORE (D-Ill.) and Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyFormer Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Saagar Enjeti blasts alleged Epstein cover-up by media Harris introduces bill to prevent California wildfires 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 TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE rescinded DACA in September, saying President Obama lacked the authority to create the program without congressional action.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 Schumer2020 Republicans accuse Schumer of snubbing legislation Schumer: Leadership trying to work out competing surprise medical bill measures Top GOP senator: Drug pricing action unlikely before end of year MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul Five things to know about Tuesday's impeachment hearings McConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' 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 GrahamMcConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Prisons chief: FBI investigating whether 'criminal enterprise' played role in Epstein death 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.