Hoyer: DACA deal a long ways off

Hoyer: DACA deal a long ways off
© Greg Nash
 
“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 CornynTrump slams 'very dumb' O'Rourke for proposals on guns, tax exempt status for churches GOP cautions Graham against hauling Biden before Senate Succession at DHS up in the air as Trump set to nominate new head MORE (R-Texas), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats dig in ahead of Supreme Court ruling on 'Dreamers' Senate GOP braces for impeachment trial 'roller coaster' Trump judicial nominee delayed amid GOP pushback MORE (D-Ill.) and Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTurkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate How Trump and Pelosi went from bad to worse House Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment 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. 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
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 TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE rescinded DACA in September, saying President Obama lacked the authority to create the program without congressional action.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 SchumerTurkey says soldier killed despite cease-fire in Syria Schumer calls for FDA to probe reports of contaminated baby food How Trump and Pelosi went from bad to worse MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTurkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate Trump lashes out at Pelosi as she visits Jordan to discuss Syria Thomas D'Alesandro III, brother of Nancy Pelosi, dies at 90 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 GrahamZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Graham: 'Stupid' for Trump to ask China to investigate Biden Turkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate 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.