Last Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that an immigration proposal could be expected in “the coming days”. A recently leaked document shows Republicans in congress are ready to make a deal on DACA. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was recently rescinded by President Trump, and at the time he called upon Congress to take responsibility for drafting replacement legislation.
The President has remarked that he does not want to “throw out” qualified individuals who are educated, employed, and accomplished. He is, however, interested in using Dreamers as a bargaining chip to pass more sweeping immigration reform legislation.
The Republican plan has been designed by Stephen Miller, President Trump’s senior policy adviser who has been responsible for drafting some of President Trumps more controversial policies including the travel bans.
Some of the proposed exchanges for passing a DACA-like bill include:
• Eliminating protections for unaccompanied undocumented minors.
• Restricting eligibility for asylum.
• Reducing legal immigration by prioritizing immigrants with certain skills.
• Hiring more immigration officers, prosecutors, and judges.
• Implementing an online system to check immigration status.
These policy changes show a dangerous meshing of immigration policies for documented and undocumented immigrants as well as highly skilled immigrants and trade workers. We first saw this with the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order. President Trump introduced this order at the headquarters of Snap-On tools in Kenosha, Wisconsin. However, the order itself addressed skilled H-1B workers who require advanced degrees, not trade laborers like those at the Snap-On factory. The Executive Order called for Agencies to put together new rules regarding legal high skilled immigration.
These recent policy changes call for the rescinding of protections for undocumented persons as well as reducing legal immigration by prioritizing with high skills. These are issues for two entirely different immigrant classes who require separate legislation.
Republicans will need Democratic supporter to pass DACA replacement legislation which will protect the nearly 800,000 immigrants who were enrolled in the Obama-era program. Questions remain as to if the new bill will address just enrolled DACA recipients or the estimated 2 to 3 million Dreamers at large. Also, it’s uncertain if new legislation will grant green cards and a path to citizenship or just work permits.
Democrats have affirmed that regarding border security they are willing to negotiate on drones, air support, sensor equipment, and road construction. However, they’re not willing to agree to a wall – a key Trump campaign promise.
DACA was a program which allowed young immigrants to become educated, employed, and successful contributing members of society. It allowed all this without taking away from the American people and contributing to the economy.
If the new deals proposed by the Trump Administration become law, they will take away from our Nation, not add to it. For example, halving legal immigration could cause a loss of four million jobs by 2040 according to the Penn Warton Budget Model. By the same model, it would also shave 2 percentage points off GDP growth.
If protections are eliminated for unaccompanied documented minors who will protect these children? Where will they go? How will they grow to become educated, successful, contributing members of society?
Combined, 15,000 new immigration agents would cost $1.38 billion to $1.48 billion annually, or between $13 billion to nearly $15 billion over 10 years, according to estimates by the Migration Policy Institute.
The current propositions for a replacement for DACA cost the country to implement legislation we already had in place. However, for Republicans, anything short of a comprehensive border security deal would be a lack of success no matter the cost.