Senate Republicans are working against the clock to find a solution that’d save Dreamers from deportation and appease both Democrats and President Donald Trump.
Key conservatives began private talks on a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) fix – an Obama-era program the current commander-in-chief curtailed near summer’s end.
DACA shielded hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from deportation, all of whom arrived to the United States as minors. While President Trump had constantly flip-flopped on the subject since his inauguration, he wound up rescinding DACA without presenting any feasible alternative.
Despite making a deal with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer which would save DACA in exchange for moderate funding for border security, Trump quickly reneged on his promise. Weeks later, he began demanding funding for a border wall and the hiring of more Border Patrol staff to sign off on any legislation relating to Dreamers – conditions which wouldn’t fly by liberal politicians.
In an interview recounted by Politico.com, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) said the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), convened a working group on immigration reform, which included himself and Sens. Lindsey Graham (SC), Thom Tillis (NC) and James Lankford (OK). Other senators and lawmakers are participating in the talks.
“There’s a solution to be had here,” said Cornyn. “But we just need to get on with it.”
Some of the ideas being considered by the Republican group include increased border security measures and limits on ‘chain migration.’
One senator said his colleagues are working not only on a DACA fix, but ways to “address the root cause of illegal immigration.”
Speaking to Fox News earlier in October, Trump said he was trying to solve the dilemma faced by nearly 700,000 Dreamers nationwide.
“Most of [the Dreamers] went through our system. Many of them don’t speak the language of their country because they’ve never been to that country. We are going to try and solve that,” he said. “In order to solve that, we want a wall and we want great border security.”
Privately, it seems some Republicans were discounting Trump’s more demanding proposals in favor of ideas which would float with their colleagues – without running the risk of alienating Democrats.
“We cannot put comprehensive immigration reform on the backs of these kids,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). “That is unfair and the long list of things that Republicans want to do include many things that need to be saved for a later debate on a comprehensive bill.”
Durbin seemed somewhat hopeful, saying, “I think we’re at critical mass in terms of the number of Republican senators once we reach an agreement. We haven’t reached an agreement yet.”