'Gang of Six' DACA bill is an exploitative political statement

'Gang of Six' DACA bill is an exploitative political statement
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Last week, Senators Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamLindsey Graham: GOP can't 'move forward without President Trump' House to advance appropriations bills in June, July The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (R-S.C.) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinAmerica's Jewish communities are under attack — Here are 3 things Congress can do Schumer 'exploring' passing immigration unilaterally if talks unravel On The Money: Incomes, consumer spending soared in March | Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package | Biden cancels some border wall construction MORE (D-Ill.) met with President Donald Trump to discuss a DACA proposal that, according to Durbin, could be released to the public as early as Wednesday. Graham and Durbin are in a bipartisan group of senators that put the plan together, called the Gang of Six.

President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCensus results show White House doubling down on failure Gender politics hound GOP in Cheney drama Never underestimate Joe Biden MORE created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to give temporary legal status to aliens who were brought to the United States illegally when they were children.

There were 690,000 DACA participants when Trump terminated the program on September 5, 2017, with a six-month grace period.

Trump rejected the Gang of Six’s proposal and criticized the democrats for not negotiating in good faith.

On Sunday, Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  Cindy McCain: Arizona election audit is 'ludicrous' The Republicans' deep dive into nativism MORE (R-Ariz.), another member of the Gang of Six, defended his Democratic colleagues on the This Week television program. He said the Democrats are negotiating in good faith, and the proposal is bipartisan. Three of the Gang of Six members are Republicans.

Yet no matter how Flake describes the proposal, it is not a good faith attempt to find common ground with either the majority of congressional Republicans or the president.

Five of the six senators in the Gang of Six were also in 2013’s the Gang of Eight, which showed the same disregard for majority Republican positions when they moved the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, S. 744, through the Senate.

S. 744 was bipartisan too, but it was opposed by 70 percent of the Senate Republicans. Among other things, it would have established a large legalization program without assurance that the aliens being legalized would not be replaced in 10 years by a new group of undocumented aliens.

This has been the sine qua non for Republican cooperation with a legalization program since the failed implementation of the enforcement provisions in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, (IRCA), which legalized 2.7 million aliens.

One of IRCA’s major objectives was to wipe the slate clean and start over with an effective enforcement program. But IRCA’s enforcement measures were not implemented, and by October 1996, the undocumented alien population had almost doubled.

When S. 744 was passed with provisions for a major legalization program, Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteBottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden Press: Trump's final presidential pardon: himself MORE (R-Va.) told the Senate that the House Republicans were not going to make the IRCA mistake again by accepting a legalization program without adequate enforcement measures, which S. 744 did not have.

The issue now is the plight of the DACA participants. The Gang of Six and other members, including Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week Five takeaways on a surprisingly poor jobs report On The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low | House to advance appropriations bills in June, July MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture How to fast-track climate action? EPA cutting super pollutant HFCs MORE (D- N.Y.), are urging Congress to pass legislation to continue their legal status when the grace period expires.

The proposal, however, does not provide meaningful enforcement measures to prevent more aliens from being brought to the United States illegally as children.

Trump provided the grace period because he wants to help the DACA participants. He explained this in the following tweet:

But he wants a border wall to prevent more aliens from being brought here illegally as children, and an end to chain migration and the Diversity Visa Program.

Chain migration occurs when an immigrant gets lawful permanent resident status and then sponsors his family members, who sponsor more family members, and so on.

Chain migration is a problem. In August, the White House announced that Trump supports the RAISE Act, which would limit family-based visas to the spouses and unmarried children of citizens and legal permanent residents. But the proposal would limit it with respect to parents of the DACA participants, so a compromise is possible.

Democrats have shown a willingness to end the diversity program. In fact, five of the six gang members would have ended it with S.744, if it had not been rejected on other grounds in the House. 

The sticking point is Trump’s wall.

The proposal would just provide $1.591 billion for a wall, and I don’t think Pelosi and Schumer have agreed to the construction of Trump’s wall yet either.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) has called the wall “a 14th-century solution to a 21st-century problem.”  He prefers a “smart wall” that would use “high-tech resources like sensors, radar, LIDAR, fiber optics, drones and cameras to detect and then track incursions across our border.”

Trump wants a physical wall. Virtual walls rely primarily on surveillance technology, which just notifies the border patrol when aliens are making an illegal crossing. They will be in the United States before they can be apprehended, and Trump’s enforcement program suffers already from an immigration court backlog crisis

A physical wall makes illegal crossings more difficult. While some grown men can climb over a large wall, children can’t, and the dangers involved in climbing over such a wall should deter parents from bringing their children here illegally.

If the Democrats really want to help the DACA participants, they will let Trump have his wall.

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.