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Congressional Republicans should tell Democrats 'no deal' when it comes to DACA

Congressional Republicans should tell Democrats 'no deal' when it comes to DACA
© Greg Nash

President Obama once said, “Elections have consequences.” And he was right. Emboldened by his re-election, he overplayed his hand and teamed up with the “bipartisan” Gang of Eight to ram mass amnesty legislation through the Senate. 

Like previous efforts at “comprehensive” immigration reform, the effort failed. That miscalculation cost Democrats the Senate in the 2014 election cycle, killed Republican “rising star” Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks GOP senator congratulates Biden, says Trump should accept results GOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics MORE’s presidential aspirations, and most notably delivered President Trump to the White House.

How did we get here? Trump's ascent likely dates back to Obama’s decision to unilaterally grant amnesty to a portion of the illegal alien population through a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This unconstitutional executive amnesty program exempted from deportation approximately 800,000 illegal aliens but more importantly gave them renewable work permits, social security numbers, the ability to get drivers’ licenses, and even qualify for in-state tuition despite being citizens of a foreign country.

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President Trump’s decision to wind down DACA while giving Congress a six month window to “do something” to address the DACA population should have been universally applauded as an opportunity for lawmakers of both parties to finally come to the negotiating table and strike a compromise. One that the president would sign and the American people would support. Of course, that’s not what happened.

 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn MORE (D-N.Y.) and Minority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinDurbin seeks to become top-ranking Democrat on Judiciary panel Feinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus MORE (D-Ill.), both former leaders in the Gang of Eight, have been acting in bad faith since the moment Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Tuberville incorrectly says Gore was president-elect in 2000 Next attorney general must embrace marijuana law reforms MORE announced the phase-out of DACA. First, they demanded the passage of Durbin’s DREAM Act (S. 1615) amnesty bill, which would benefit millions of illegal aliens who did not even qualify for DACA. In normal negotiations when your first offer is rejected, a wise tactic would be to scale back the ask. Despite the DREAM Act being rejected at least 20 times over the years, each version gets broader with S. 1615 the broadest ever introduced. Durbin and Schumer are going in the wrong direction and essentially holding DACA hostage in an attempt to win amnesty for an even larger pool of illegal aliens.

In light of this big ask and being in the minority, surely the Democrats are willing to package the amnesty with a broad enforcement package. Mandatory E-Verify to prevent illegal aliens from working unlawfully? Nope. Cutting legal immigration and making it merit based? Off the table. Enhanced interior enforcement and reining in dangerous sanctuary cities? Non-starter. Build the wall that Schumer, Obama, and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Third vaccine candidate with 90% efficacy Biden won — so why did Trump's popularity hit its highest point ever? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks MORE voted for a decade ago? Next. Meaningless border “security” funding? Now you’re talking. In summary, Democrats get everything they want in exchange for absolutely nothing.

Pro-amnesty Republicans like House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBottom line Democratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition Feehery: A possible House Speaker conundrum for Democrats MORE (R-Wis.) and former Gang of Eight senators Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamFeinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Media and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk MORE (R-S.C.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJuan Williams: Obama's dire warnings about right-wing media Democrats' squabbling vindicates Biden non-campaign McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol MORE (R-Ariz.) are racing to be the first to yell DEAL! The labor lobby’s favorite senator, Republican Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTeam Trump offering 'fire hose' of conspiracy Kool-Aid for supporters Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection North Carolina's Mark Walker expected to announce Senate bid MORE (R-N.C.), is similarly eager to sell out the American people without obtaining any lasting immigration enforcement provisions. And if you believe that Tillis’s separate amnesty bill is the “conservative” approach, I’ve got a great price for you to buy the Brooklyn Bridge. 

On behalf of the American people and supporters of the rule of law, no deal.

If open borders politicians genuinely care about protecting DACA beneficiaries, they need to swallow the harsh pill of reality that their brand of immigration reform does not mesh with the desires of the American people. It is possible that the American people would support a limited amnesty for at least some DACA recipients, but definitely not for other illegal aliens who couldn’t even qualify for DACA. 

Importantly, this legalization must prohibit these amnestied illegal aliens from turning around and sponsoring their illegal alien parents for a green card—the people who created this mess in the first place by intentionally violating our immigration laws. In exchange, at a minimum, the compromise must include the RAISE Act to cut legal immigration and end chain migration, the Legal Workforce Act (mandatory E-Verify), interior enforcement bills like Davis-Oliver, Kate’s Law, and No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, and complete construction of the wall. The key is that all of these provisions must be implemented first to avoid the mistakes of the 1986 amnesty where the legalization happened immediately and the enforcement provisions were never put in place.

If Democrats won’t support a proposal like this, they will reveal their true colors in showing that they don’t actually care about DACA, but are rather exploiting its recipients as a political football for fundraising purposes.

Robert Law is the director of government relations at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).