The decades-long fumbles on both sides of the aisle to pass immigration reform has congressional Democrats and Republicans scurrying to push through a fourth-quarter bill that would get the political football of the playing field.
In recent weeks, House Republican leadership appears to be as close as five votes away from delivering immigration reform 2.0 to the floor for a thumbs-up or down vote. The GOP brain trust may be looking to once again embarrass Democrats who didn’t join them during the last wave of immigration legislation that would have provided a legal residency pathway to more than 1 million so-called Dreamers.
These young people, who were brought to the United States as children, have suffered under the short-term DACA program that does not provide a pathway to citizenship. How, Republicans are presenting the helping hand Democrats have merely paid lip service to.
Republicans Now Champions For DACA Recipients
Although Republicans had wrongly been criticized by Democrats for obstructing Dreamers, GOP rank and file lawmakers overwhelmingly supported several immigration reform bills while the left voted against Dreamers. During the Obama Administration, Democrats held majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and failed to pass legislation that would give Dreamers legal residency. Instead, they kept the political talking point alive and young immigrants in limbo.
These days, Republicans appear determined to end the controversy and do the morally correct thing by young people who were brought to the U.S. at no fault of their own. Even the sometimes far-right Freedom Caucus appears to be actively seeking an immigration reform solution that includes a DACA deal.
“Every option is on the table right now,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows reportedly said after emerging from immigration 2.0 negotiations.
Among the discussions, conservatives reportedly put forward legislation to save the DACA program. Pres. Trump ended the program, and Dreamers could be subject to deportation once a lawsuit reaches the U.S. Supreme Court.
Democrats Fail To Back Immigration 2.0
Although both parties would like a solution to the DACA issue before the mid-term elections, conservatives have attached a condition that wasn’t on the table during other votes. Democrats are finding compromise less than palatable to say the least.
During the previous immigration reform votes, radical liberals chose to vote against a DACA fix. Instead, they opted to continue the “resist” and “obstruct” position of the most extreme members of their party. They threw the Dreamers under the bus to prevent full funding of Pres. Trump’s southern border wall and adequate border security.
Much of the proposed immigration 2.0 legislation is attached to a farm bill being pushed by U.S. Speaker Paul Ryan. The somewhat controversial legislation deals with agricultural standards, costs, health policy and even food stamp work requirements. The fast-growing economy has seen dramatic reductions in SNAP program applications by nearly 2 million. The president has called for matching reductions. He threatened to veto the farm bill without the issue being addressed.
On Friday, May 18, the first attempt to move the farm bill forward while joined to immigration reform 2.0 failed. Every House Democrat voted against it, with 30 Republicans joining them.
Immigration Reform Revolt Brewing
The repeated failures to pass immigration reform and the potential deportation of Dreamers has fanned the flames of political revolt among conservatives in Washington. Many vote yes on immigration reform because they believe a moral obligation exists to secure legal residency for the DACA children. Jeopardizing the futures of good, hardworking young people who have done the right thing runs contrary to their values.
This has prompted conservatives to consider taking up DACA as a single legislative issue. Moderate Republicans have begun circulating a petition that calls for a DACA vote. Many are saying that this action is in line with the Trump Administration. The president has called for an end to chain migration and border security funding to be packaged into a complete immigration reform bill. Pres. Trump has also expressed a moral obligation to the DACA kids based on Christian values.
The push by conservatives to avert Dreamer deportations under current law appears to be testing Republican leadership. At this juncture, immigration reform may be at its most fragmented and the 2.0 versions floating in Congress make the issue more volatile then ever.
~ Liberty Planet