President Donald Trump met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House on Tuesday to push for a deal on comprehensive immigration reform, including Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
“This should be a bill of love, truly. It should be a bill of love, and we can do that,” President Trump said. “I really do believe Democrat and Republican, the people sitting in this room, really want to get something done.”
He told lawmakers that he would back a two-phased approach to overhauling U.S. immigration laws with the first step focused on protecting so-called “Dreamers” who were brought here as children from deportation along with funding for a wall and other restrictions that Democrats have opposed.
Following “phase one,” President Trump said he favors moving quickly to address even more contentious issues, including a possible pathway to citizenship for at least 11 million illegal immigrants that is opposed by many Republicans and many of his supporters. Other estimates put that number as high as 30 million.
“If you want to take it that further step, I’ll take the heat, I don’t care,” he told lawmakers at the open meeting at the White House. “You are not that far away from comprehensive immigration reform. And if you wanted to go that final step, I think you should do it.”
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas., the Chairman of the House Homeland Defense Committee, are co-authoring a bill along with Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Id., and Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.
The bill is described by the authors in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal:
A priority of our legislation is to increase the security of the southern border. Our bill would provide $30 billion to build a wall, to invest in new technology, and to improve, modernize and expand ports of entry. It would add boots on the ground: an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 5,000 Customs and Border Protection officers. It would provide for the construction of additional ports of entry and a full implementation of the biometric entry-exit system, while authorizing the National Guard to provide aviation and intelligence support.
The Republican lawmakers claim they will reform or repeal laws currently used by illegal immigrants to protect themselves from deportation. The bill would also implement a nationwide eVerify system, which has long been proposed as a means to ensure employers aren’t hiring illegal immigrants, allow the federal government to punish sanctuary cities and end “catch and release.”
Our bill would achieve these goals by cracking down on people who overstay their visas, by requiring employers to use the accurate and hugely successful E-Verify system to ensure that they hire only legal workers, and by making it easier to deport aliens who are gang members, who are aggravated felons, who fail to register as sex offenders, or who have multiple DUIs.
Our proposal allows the Justice Department to withhold grants from “sanctuary cities” — jurisdictions that refuse to allow their law-enforcement officers to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, even to the point of preventing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from entering local jails to take custody of criminal aliens.
The legislation would end “catch and release,” battle asylum fraud and require that unaccompanied minors caught at the border be treated equally regardless of their home country. Together this will ensure that the law no longer tempts minors and their parents to make the dangerous illegal journey to the U.S. — or to line the pockets of cartels that make a business of supporting these journeys.
The bill will also address chain migration and the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program. The term “Chain Migration” refers to the endless chains of foreign nationals who are allowed to immigrate to the United States because citizens and lawful permanent residents are allowed to sponsor their non-nuclear family members. Annual immigration has at least tripled since chain migration began in the mid-1960s, though some estimates are even higher.
Only five years after chain migration began, the number of immediate relative admissions nearly doubled from 32,714 in 1965 to 79,213 in 1970. Thirty-six years later, the number of immediate relatives admitted was more than 13 times higher–443,964. In 2001, the U.S. admitted 1,064,318 immigrants-, roughly 4 times greater than in the 1950s.
President Trump has repeatedly called on Congress to terminate chain migration and the DV program, stating that any plan for action on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that doesn’t end them is “a deal-breaker.”
Our bill would put an end to chain migration, the process by which citizens and green-card holders can sponsor extended family members for their own green cards (who in turn can eventually sponsor their own extended family members, ad infinitum). It also would stop the Diversity Visa program, which awards green cards by random lottery to people with no ties to the U.S. Neither of these programs prioritizes the skills of people entering the country.
The U.S. is the most generous and welcoming nation in the world, accepting on average more than a million new immigrants every year. But a steady influx of low-skilled labor has depressed wages for workers here at home. That is not putting America first.
Akayed Ullah, the 27 year-old Bangladeshi national behind an attempted terror attack on the New York City Port Authority, was in the U.S. due to chain migration. As PPD was first to report, Sayfullo Saipov, the 29-year-old Uzbekistan national who killed 8 and injured at least 11 others during a terror attack near the World Trade Center in November, came to the U.S. under the DV lottery program in 2010.
Democrats are opposed to ending both programs.
In compensation for disconsolate Democrats, the bill offers the most modest of amnesties — renewable work-permits for the 670,000 illegals now registered for President Barack Obama’s DACA program. That would allow the migrants to work, but not to vote. The op-ed claims:
Our bill would allow DACA beneficiaries to receive a three-year renewable legal status, codifying the program the right way—by a duly enacted statute. But to be clear, there is no new or special path to citizenship for these individuals in our bill.
While it’s true the bill rejects the Democrats’ DREAM Act, which would provide a fast-track citizenship for up to 3.25 million illegals, plus millions of their foreign chain-migration relatives, it’s also true that Democrats’ demands are front-loaded and many security demands are not.
A recently leaked memo from the Center For American Progress (CAP) Action Fund reveals Democrats want to legalize “Dreamers” because they see them as a “critical component” of the party’s “future electoral success.”