Without a Trump-Democrat trade, the DREAM Act is just a dream

Without a Trump-Democrat trade, the DREAM Act is just a dream
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Democratic demands for passage of a DREAM Act threatened to prevent passage of a funding bill needed to prevent a partial shutdown of the government. But the Republicans were able to pass a stopgap spending bill on December 21, 2017, which postponed the showdown on this issue until January.

The DREAM Act would provide conditional permanent resident status for aliens whose parents brought them to the United States illegally when they were children.

President Obama established a program of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to give them temporary lawful status.

Trump terminated DACA on September 5, 2017, subject to a 6-month grace period. The Democrats and some Republicans are trying to get a DREAM Act passed before the grace period expires.

But they have been trying unsuccessfully to get a DREAM Act passed for 16 years, and their attempt to pass the DREAM Act of 2017, is likely to be unsuccessful too.

The Senate version was introduced on July 20, 2017, and an identical House version was introduced on July 26, 2017. Congress has not held a hearing or a markup on either bill.

If enacted, it would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to grant conditional lawful permanent resident status to undocumented aliens who:

  1. Have been continuously physically present in the United States for four years preceding this bill's enactment;
  2. Were younger than 18 years of age when they entered the United States;
  3. Are not inadmissible on criminal, security, terrorism, or other grounds;
  4. Have not participated in persecution; and
  5. Have not been convicted of specified federal or state offenses; and
  6. Have fulfilled educational requirements.

And DHS would be required to grant conditional permanent resident status to aliens who have had DACA status.

It exempts grants of conditional permanent resident status from all numerical limitations.

According to the American Immigration Council, “The Dreamers, for whom this bill is named, have lived in America since they were children and built their lives here.”

But the DREAM Act would include aliens who did not come to the United States until they were almost 18 years old and have only been here for four years.

It also is misleading to claim that Dreamers will become enforcement targets when their DACA status expires.

It was not Trump’s idea to end DACA.

The Texas Attorney General sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDem warns Trump: 'Obstruction of justice' to fire Rosenstein Donald Trump’s Rosenstein dilemma White House proposes executive order to Trump that would examine tech companies’ practices MORE warning him that if he did not agree to terminate DACA, it would be added to a lawsuit to prevent the implementation of the very similar Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) Program.

Sessions advised Trump that the likely outcome of letting DACA be added to that suit would be an abrupt, court-ordered termination. Trump decided to rescind DACA with a six-month grace period to give Congress time to help the participants.

Trump explained his intentions in the following tweet:

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported a cost estimate on the DREAM Act on July 20, 2017.

CBO estimates that 3.25 million aliens would be eligible, but only 2 million would apply and be granted conditional permanent resident status.

The fact that the Democrats would grant conditional permanent resident status to so many children of undocumented aliens is difficult to understand. After all, as of November 2017, there were 4 million aliens with approved family-based visa petitions on the waiting list for a visa.

CBO estimates that changes in direct spending and revenues from enacting the DREAM Act would increase budget deficits by $25.9 billion over the 2018-2027 period.

On October 6, 2017, Trump sent Congress a list of immigration changes that "must be included as part of any legislation addressing the status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients."

Democratic leaders Representative Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act Internal RNC poll shows Pelosi is more popular than Trump: report MORE (D-Calif.) and Senator Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (D-N.Y.) responded that, "This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise."

Their position might be more persuasive if they were not demanding passage of a bill that would make legalization available to 3.4 million undocumented aliens without a single hearing or markup. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 established the largest legalization program we have had, and it legalized fewer than 2.7 million aliens.

A Proposal.

Trump supports the congressional establishment of a temporary DACA program for current DACA participants in return for funding to complete the border fencing that was mandated by the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which was passed in the Senate by a vote of 80 to 19. The yeas included current Senate party leaders Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDoug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week GOP, Kavanaugh accuser struggle to reach deal MORE (R-Ky.) and Schumer and former Senators Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Accuser may testify Thursday | Midterm blame game begins Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states Ford taps Obama, Clinton alum to navigate Senate hearing MORE (D-Ill.) and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPompeo: 'We've not been successful' in changing US-Russia relations Michael Moore ties Obama to Trump's win in Michigan in 2016 The Memo: Could Kavanaugh furor spark another ‘year of the woman’? MORE (D-N.Y.). 

DHS only completed 653 miles of the 700-mile mandate, which leaves 47 miles for Trump. This would give him a chance to show that he can erect a “beautiful wall” for a reasonable price — the question is if Democrats will accept that cost.  

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.