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 RubioGOP lawmakers request Cuba meeting with Biden Bipartisan congressional commission urges IOC to postpone, relocate Beijing Games Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks 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 Schumer84 mayors call for immigration to be included in reconciliation Senate infrastructure talks on shaky grounds Could Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? MORE (D-N.Y.) and Minority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenators scramble to save infrastructure deal Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan 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 SessionsWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases 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 ClintonA path to climate, economic and environmental justice is finally on the horizon Polling misfired in 2020 — and that's a lesson for journalists and pundits Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe 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 RyanJuan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer Trump clash ahead: Ron DeSantis positions himself as GOP's future in a direct-mail piece Cutting critical family support won't solve the labor crisis MORE (R-Wis.) and former Gang of Eight senators Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden DACA court ruling puts weight of immigration reform on Democrats Senate braces for a nasty debt ceiling fight MORE (R-S.C.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' Democrats seek to counter GOP attacks on gas prices Biden nominates Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey MORE (R-Ariz.) are racing to be the first to yell DEAL! The labor lobby’s favorite senator, Republican Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisDACA court ruling puts weight of immigration reform on Democrats Senators hail 'historic changes' as competing proposals to tackle military sexual assault advance Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor 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).