'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 GrahamSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president MORE (R-S.C.) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats see Mulvaney as smoking gun witness at Trump trial Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE (D-Ill.) met with President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE 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 ObamaKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Former NYT correspondent rips Democrats' 'selective use' of constitutional violations Obama portraits leaving National Portrait Gallery to tour museums across the country 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 Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two Flake: Republicans don't speak out against Trump 'because they want to keep their jobs' GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials 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 GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview 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 PelosiClinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views on misinformation Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president Impeachment has been a dud for Democrats Trump insults Democrats, calls on followers to watch Fox News ahead of impeachment trial 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.