Lawmakers Clash Over Deal to Protect Dreamers

Congressional leaders met at the White House on Tuesday and again on Wednesday to discuss immigration policy, but left no closer to resolving the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, border wall funding, or a bipartisan spending deal to fund the government, The Washington Post reported.

This week's meetings focused primarily on four issues: Dreamers, border security, diversity visa lottery program reform, and the future of "chain migration," which allows immigration based on family ties to those already in the U.S.

Lawmakers reportedly clashed over whether a deal on Dreamers should be resolved by March 5, the deadline set by President Trump to end DACA, or by January 19, the day the current resolution funding the federal government is set to expire. Republicans argue that any legislative fix for DACA should not be included in any overall spending agreement, while Democrats contend that language to protect Dreamers should be part of the must-pass spending legislation to avoid a government shutdown. The partisan divide casts further doubt on the ability of lawmakers to complete a budget deal by the end of next week.

Further complicating the complicating the dynamics of a DACA legislative deal, a federal judge on Tuesday evening issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump administration from ending the program.

President Trump vowed Wednesday to fight the court order, insisting that Congress must find a solution on the issue, the Post reported. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers said a bipartisan proposal could come as early as Thursday or Friday, but such legislation would probably face fierce resistance from progressives opposed to ceding any ground on immigration rights and conservatives who feel the same on security issues.

Additionally, several lawmakers this week signaled their intention to introduce new bills seeking to address the DACA dilemma. House GOP leaders introduced a bill Wednesday offering a purely Republican solution: legal status to DACA recipients alongside a suite of measures that go well beyond the parameters of the bipartisan negotiations, the Post reported. It would include several provisions Democrats have roundly rejected, including sanctions for "sanctuary cities" that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement agencies.

A more bipartisan draft bill from U.S. Representatives Will Hurd (R-TX) and Pete Aguilar (D-CA) would offer qualifying individuals the ability to get in line for a green card and eventual citizenship after years of conditional residency, provided they meet certain requirements. It would also direct the Department of Homeland Security to gain "operational control" of the border by the end of 2020 through technology, physical barriers, levees, tools and other devices, CNN reported.


Related Links

The Washington Post

The Washington Post