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- The White House wants border security protections to go with any solution for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
- Democrats have opposed the Trump administration’s demand to fund a wall along the US-Mexico border.
- Some Republicans do not want to grant a pathway to citizenship to undocumented immigrants under DACA.
WASHINGTON – As Congress inches closer to a deal that would provide a solution for the nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants currently in the US under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program paired with a $33 billion border security plan that would include funding for a wall along the nearly 2,000 miles of US-Mexico border, some Republicans want nothing to do with a compromise.
President Donald Trump has made clear that any legislative solution to DACA will have to come with increased border security provisions, including his long-promised wall.
“We want the wall,” Trump said during a retreat with GOP leaders at Camp David last week. “The wall is going to happen, or we’re not going to have DACA.”
Because many Democrats have drawn a hard line against the $18 billion request to fund the wall, House Republicans will need most of their conference to get on board, which could prove to be a difficult task.
“Seems to me that Democrats are holding that deal hostage for a DACA negotiation and we are meeting at the White House tomorrow on a bipartisan basis with the President to see what that might look like,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn. “But I think that’s going to make the January 19 date pretty hard to hit.”
Meanwhile, Trump is slated to host a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House to discuss immigration policy on Tuesday.
Some Republicans are against ‘amnesty’ for DACA recipients
While a large number of Republicans support a DACA fix, some are adamantly against a move they say would amount to “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.
Iowa Rep. Steve King would vote against any DACA plan that provides a pathway to citizenship, even if it fully funded the White House’s border security requests.
“This is a smaller universe of all the illegals that are in America and if you grant them amnesty, then immediately the left pivots the same day or even before, and then they say what about the parents now?” King told Business Insider. “The parents that we presume they brought them here that we’re not talking about now, they don’t wanna deport them either.”
King added that an attempt to put any undocumented immigrants on the pathway to citizenship is a ploy to expand the Democratic voting block.
“It’s about expanding political power, especially for the Democrats. They know that for every three they can get to the polls, at least two of them will vote Democrat. Some of that data goes all the way to five to one Democrat to Republican,” King said. “This is about building raw political power for Democrats, it’s about changing the demography of United States of America so that the Democratic Party can remain a viable party. And I don’t know why Republicans would want to be complicit in such a sin against our country as to move America irrevocably and irreversibly to the left.”
Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta praised Trump’s initial decision to rescind the DACA protections set forth by the Obama administration.
“We cannot have a conversation about those who are in our country illegally before we stop the flow of illegal immigration,” Barletta said last year. “We are dealing with this problem today because Congress has failed to enforce our laws and secure our borders.”
Right-wing immigration groups have eased back on opposition to a DACA compromise
But hardline immigration groups have already started to bend on the importance of granting a pathway to citizenship to the DACA recipients, USA Today reported on Monday.
Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, said, “Rip off the Band-Aid and give them a green card.”
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the far-right Federation for American Immigration Reform, suggested Republicans would be safe at the ballot box if they voted for a DACA solution with border security provisions tacked on.
“If those things are in place when the DACA recipients get their benefits, I think most of these members would have ample cover,” Mehlman said.
King said Trump should force Democrats to give in to stricter border security demands, or reap the consequences of failing to follow through on his campaign promises.
“I would say to the president, up the ante. It won’t be the first time you’ve upped the ante, keep upping the ante,” he said. “And also think about your legacy. He could be the first president in modern memory to actually keep all of his promises. If he caves on DACA, then he can never say that.”