Yesterday, a bipartisan group of Senators said they reached a consensus on a host of immigration issues. President Trump hosted a meeting between congressional Democrats and Republicans on how to hash this subject out. The media were given unprecedented insight into this negotiation. There seemed to be consensus on border security and DACA recipients. Various sub layers on how that will get done remains to be seen. But after days of spurious allegations that the president was a madman, this meeting undercut that narrative. Even CNN gave Trump high marks. So, what are the very preliminary details that are most likely to change? (NBC News):
The bipartisan group, whose other members included Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Cory Gardner, R-Colo.; and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., have been meeting for several months on how to give immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, legal certainty. President Donald Trump gave Congress until March 5 to come up with a solution or the nearly 800,000 childhood arrivals would lose their legal status.
The proposal is an attempt to satisfy the concerns of both Republicans and Democrats who have competing visions and demands on immigration.
The outline, according to multiple Republican and Democratic sources, would provide a path to citizenship that would take 10 years for DACA recipients and those who were eligible for the program but didn't apply.
The 10-year wait is an attempt to remove political concerns from the discussion, as Republicans fear that giving Dreamers citizenship further populates the Democratic voting base.
“It will be a full decade before any Dreamer gets citizenship and the right to vote. The raw politics is they won’t be able to vote against Trump in 2020. Heck, they won’t be able to support Oprah’s re-election in 2024. Ten years is an eternity in politics," said a senior Senate aide who asked not to be named in order to speak openly.
And finally, the program would change the diversity visa lottery system as well. Some of the annual 50,000 slots will be used for people in the country who have lost their temporary protected status and some will be used for low immigration countries.
Not everyone is on board. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) thought this proposal was a joke. Legal status for DACA recipients should be the red line for Republicans, not a guarantee of citizenship, which seems to be where we’re going here. The Trump White House also said the rough outline is a no-go (via Washington Times):
Sources familiar with the bill said it would offer a generous pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrant Dreamers that goes well beyond just the 700,000 people currently protected under the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty.
The proposal also eliminates the Diversity Visa Lottery, as Mr. Trump demanded — but it uses those visas to create a new amnesty for hundreds of thousands of other would-be illegal immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and other countries who have suffered from natural disasters and have been living in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status.
The plan was worked out by Sens. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and Sen. Richard Durbin, a Democrat, who led a group of six senators who’d said they would reach an agreement that could pass Congress.
“There has not been a deal reached yet, however we still think we can get there,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.
The Graham-Durbin deal offers Mr. Trump less than 10 percent of what he is seeking on the border wall, while attaching several new conditions to construction.
The deal does cut chain migration by curtailing green card holders’ ability to sponsor their adult children for visas. That amounts to less than 3 percent of total annual immigration. The visas would be used to speed up nuclear family visas, so the total level of immigration would remain the same.
Dreamers would get a pathway to citizenship that goes well beyond the people already protected under the Obama-era program. The eligibility date would be anyone who came to the U.S. by June 15, 2012.
Yeah, this won’t be the finished product. It can’t be. The pathway to citizenship probably won’t be palatable to the base, or a good chunk of GOP senators and House members. And surely the White House won’t sign off on that.
The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself and a group of Republican Senators and Congressmen was a big step backwards. Wall was not properly funded, Chain & Lottery were made worse and USA would be forced to take large numbers of people from high crime.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
....countries which are doing badly. I want a merit based system of immigration and people who will help take our country to the next level. I want safety and security for our people. I want to stop the massive inflow of drugs. I want to fund our military, not do a Dem defund....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
....Because of the Democrats not being interested in life and safety, DACA has now taken a big step backwards. The Dems will threaten “shutdown,” but what they are really doing is shutting down our military, at a time we need it most. Get smart, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018