Pavlich: Dems bluff on DACA

Pavlich: Dems bluff on DACA
© Camille Fine

We’re just days away from a government shutdown and Democrats are still attempting to write the rules, despite being in the minority.

Back in September, President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Gillum and DeSantis’s first debate GOP warns economy will tank if Dems win Gorbachev calls Trump's withdrawal from arms treaty 'a mistake' MORE ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from the executive branch and kicked it over to Congress where it belongs.

“Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!” he tweeted.


From the beginning, when President Obama unconstitutionally implemented the program, the protections for those brought into America illegally by their parents were temporary. After all, the “D” in DACA stands for “deferred” and the courts ruled the issue can’t be implemented solely through an executive order.

“Every DOJ and DHS lawyer says DACA is unconstitutional. Every other legal scholar — right and left — says the same thing.  Trump didn’t end DACA, the law did. That said, I worked and succeeded to give the Congress another six months to do something,” White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE said at the time.

Trump isn’t a hard-liner on DACA and has repeatedly countered his hardcore base to express sympathy for DACA recipients. He’s made it clear there’s always been room on his end for a compromise.

“We’re working on a plan — subject to getting massive border controls. We’re working on a plan for DACA. People want to see that happen. You have 800,000 young people brought here, no fault of their own. So we’re working on a plan. We’ll see how it works out. We’re going to get massive border security as part of that. And I think something can happen, we’ll see what happens, but something will happen,” Trump said last fall.

When Trump made the announcement, Republicans quickly jumped into action. Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioO'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot Meghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family The Memo: Saudi storm darkens for Trump MORE (R-Fla.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump boosts McSally, bashes Sinema in Arizona Watch live: Trump speaks at Arizona rally Mnuchin to attend anti-terror meeting in Saudi Arabia following Khashoggi disappearance MORE (R-Ariz.) demanded a DACA fix be a priority before the sixth month deadline. Before Washington left for Christmas break after passing tax reform, it was reiterated that DACA would be a top priority as soon as lawmakers came back to town.

Republicans were and still are willing to find a DACA fix, so long as border security conditions are met to prevent future amnesties. They know the American people have been here before. They’ve been repeatedly promised security in return for empathy and generosity, while never receiving the former. That isn’t going to fly.

But rather than use the opportunity on Capitol Hill to help a group of young adults they claim to care about, Democrats are holding the government hostage over their open border, pro-amnesty for all agenda.

Republicans and the White House want three things in return for DACA: a border wall, an end to chain migration and an end to the visa lottery program. This is a fair deal, especially because Democrats have been on board with these measures in the recent past.  

In 2006 nearly two-dozen Democrats, including now-Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerManchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' MORE (N.Y.), voted for the Secure Fence Act. It passed with bipartisan support 80-19. The idea was similar to what Trump wants: secure and bolster the southern border with a fence. The wall is simply an upgrade.

Again in 2013, there was bipartisan agreement on the negotiation pieces currently on the table for DACA. The Gang of Eight immigration reform bill, made up of Republicans and Democrats, ended chain migration and the diversity visa lottery program. Schumer was an advocate for the bill, as was fellow Democratic Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinLawmakers point fingers at Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi's death Durbin calls for expulsion of Saudi ambassador in response to Khashoggi's death Durbin to Trump: ‘We’re the mob? Give me a break’ MORE (Ill.). Over the years, Democrats have repeatedly voted to expand Border Patrol and to increase the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Now that Trump’s in charge, they’ve run away from all of it.

That history doesn’t seem to matter now as Democrats look to resist Trump at all costs, even if it means a government shutdown and a failure to pass a DACA fix.

“The White House issued a series of unreasonable demands entirely outside the scope of our ongoing negotiations about DACA and border security,” Schumer said last week.

Republicans, given Democrats’ voting history, are frustrated and confused.

“Why do my colleagues in Democratic leadership refuse to even consider measures that would beef up border security and interior enforcement? Do they want people to continue to immigrate to this country illegally?” Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP plays hardball in race to confirm Trump's court picks Trump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight Dems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October MORE (R-Iowa) asked Fox News’s Chad Pergrum this week.

“Why won’t Democratic leadership negotiate with us? Because we refuse to simply pass the Dream Act, as is, with no proportional border security and interior enforcement measures. As the Democrats see it, it’s take it or leave it. Their way or the highway,” he continued.

While the American people support DACA, they also support strong border security and immigration policy in return for amnesty or protections similar to it. At this point, Democrats are more interested in using DACA as a political hammer against Republicans and the White House than they are concerned about solving the problem. After all, fixing the issue would take that tool out of their political arsenal for future

If Democrats truly care about protecting DACA recipients, they’ll vote for it in exchange for border security they’re already on the record supporting. Until then, they’re simply bluffing and using young people as pawns.

Pavlich is the editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.