With the release yesterday of a framework, the White House set down its benchmarks for crafting a legislative fix to a broken immigration system and securing the border. If the one-page outline is a fair representation of where the Trump administration hopes to start negotiations, we are concerned about what bill will emerge at the end of the legislative process. Particularly when it will be shaped by an open amendment process in Congress.
For months, President Trump has argued that any agreement that identifies a permanent solution to the 700,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program participants must include an end to both chain migration and the visa lottery program, and funding for a border wall. And, the Administration stated, Congress should address border security and reforms to the legal immigration system should be take priority.
According to the framework, the Administration it would “eliminate lottery and reallocate the visas to reduce the family-based ‘backlog’ and high-skilled employment ‘backlog’. While an end to chain migration is good news, the reallocation of visas would not implement the needed limits on legal immigration,
In real-world terms, that “backlog” means bringing in 4 million people who currently reside on chain-migration waiting lists. An already-burdened U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) would be further stretched to the limit processing millions of immigrants.
Which brings us to the ever-expanding scope of DACA. For months, President Trump heard lawmakers who warned that if amnesty is granted to DACA beneficiaries, the Democrats and open borders groups would demand more.
And it appears the Administration has acquiesced. Now included in the so-called DACA fix are “other DACA-eligible illegal immigrants.”
So, the Administration wants the American people to buy into an agreement to put an additional 1.8 million Dreamers on a 10-12 year path to citizenship. And that is just if the estimate is accurate.
The Trump administration abandoned the idea of including in a bill mandatory E-verify and now the fences have been moved again. For President Trump to fulfill his first priority as chief executive – the security of the American people – he must focus on getting firm commitments from Congress that increases border security personnel, enhances legal authority to deport criminal aliens and guarantees that fully funding the border wall come first.
Speaking with CNBC today at the Davos conference, President Trump said he believed lawmakers who have consistently supported stronger borders and limits on immigration are “willing to shift more” in their positions.
“And so am I,” he added.
If he wants the American people to support him, he cannot “shift” any more than he already has.
(Listen to FAIR react to the proposed pathway to citizenship above)