The Art of the DACA Deal


In the last few days of back and forth, of competing claims as to what if any deal was struck over dinner between President Trump, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), there is actually a clear path forward. The President, DACA is an easy fix and comes down to whether Democrats love Dreamers more than Socialism.

The Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) issue should actually be a pretty easy fix, so I’m a little surprised the master of deal making is finding this a struggle. I suspect it isn’t really him, but some political novices around him who are needlessly complicating the issue.

In brief, DACA recipients can stay, and even become citizens — or they can be second-class persons and it can be the Democrats fault. Yes, I said they can stay and even become citizens. What do I mean by that?

Let’s be clear, as it stands, these people aren’t going anywhere. Finding, rounding up, and deporting 800,000 people is something no one has even given serious logistical thought to. And forget the logistics: think about the optics. Is that something anyone except a small percentage of people want to see?  

But the fact of the matter is that as long as young illegals remain “DACA-mented,” they remain a political tool of the Left. So I would encourage Trump do what Obama couldn’t: draw a line under this issue and solve it but at a price to the Left commensurate to the impact.

This is why some in Trump’s base are really angry with him right now, even burning their Make America Great hats. Right now, it doesn’t appear there’s much in it for them.

But there can be something in this for everyone. Integrating DACA recipients should rely on three major policy achievements being delivered with the assurance of Democrats in Congress. These three things will ameliorate the negative impacts of DACA recipients.

First, let’s repeal ObamaCare. DACA-mented people aren’t eligible for ObamaCare anyway, so they won’t mind. This policy repeal would go some serious way to lifting the burdens of those who feel they are getting a raw deal — their premiums rise while illegals and welfare recipients are coddled — and would assuage the equivalent of two million job losses, in terms of hours worked as well as full time positions lost.

Second, tax reform. Of course this should be self-evident, but you can never be sure. It must be tax reform in the way the White House foresees it. It would be a massive shot in the arm for the American economy. Companies might actually stop leaving this COUNTRY, which has the highest corporate tax rate in the Western Hemisphere. We’re talking up to 5 million jobs here. So when DACA oppositionists argue that roughly 700,000 in-work DACA recipients are doing American jobs, it will become but a drop in the ocean in the near future.

And finally, fund the Wall. This is actually another job creator, around 25,000 to be more specific. But this demand would not just be about helping fulfill President Trump’s agenda, it would be about drawing a line under illegal immigration in totality. Only unless the Democrats are willing to actually admit and come clean with the country that they want another DACA-like scenario a few years down the line (which they do but won’t want to admit to) then they need to accede to this.

With all this we create a scenario in which conservatives get what they want, at a compromise ratio far more acceptable to the Trump base who don’t want to do a 1:1 trade i.e. DACA for wall funding, or tax reform, respectively. It must be the wall plus. Because let’s face it: elections have consequences. We won and we get a bigger portion of the pie.

This entire “grand deal” would also force Democrats to choose between helping these people they claim to care about, and their political ideology and “resistance” grandstanding. If Democrats reject such a deal, the more independent minded and centER left voters at their behest will see them for what they really are: opportunists willing to squander the futures of 800,000 people out of partisan stubbornness.

Now there will be some on the Right with objections, like what about MS13 gang members or back taxes or voting rights? Easy. The path to citizenship for these people shouldn’t be short. Let’s say it’s a twelve year process in which they have to be living and working here for ten of those years at least to qualify. They should undergo full medical check ups, and anyone with MS13 tattoos has to go back, no exceptions. They should have to pay a higher rate of income tax for these ten years, to make up for back taxes, and they should first be able to vote in 2029.

All this will show President Trump as the man who could do what Obama couldn’t, who refuses to accept an underclass of citizen in the United States and demands that all get right with the law so that we can, in the words of John Adams, become once again “a government of laws, not of men.”

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.

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