‘Gang of Six’ DACA bill is an exploitative political statement

Last week, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (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 Obama 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.

{mosads}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 Flake (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 Goodlatte (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 Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (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.

Tags Barack Obama Bob Goodlatte Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act Chuck Schumer Chuck Schumer deferred action for childhood arrivals Dick Durbin Dick Durbin Donald Trump Gang of Eight gang of six Illegal immigration Immigration reform in the United States Jeff Flake Jeff Flake Lindsey Graham Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi Presidency of Barack Obama

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