President Trump has fought from the beginning to fix the United States immigration system and build a border wall to help protect the laws. He has even compromised with the Democrats on DACA. Instead of working with Trump and Republicans to help illegal immigrants, the left has sabotaged every move made in the effort. Democrats claim that Republicans want to separate parents and children on the border but it was former President Barack Obama’s policies that were doing that, particularly referring to pictures released from 2014 when a child was seen in what appeared to be a cage-like structure.
House Republicans have just put forth a “discussion draft” of a sweeping immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship for young immigrants (DACA), $25 billion in border security, which includes advance funds for President Trump’s wall with Mexico and a provision aimed at addressing the crisis of family separations at the border. It blindsided Democrats and delivers Trump a $25 billion border wall win. It has something for everyone. This measure sticks to Trump’s Four Pillars on immigration while attempting to bring together the two major political parties and moderate factions on an issue that has divided people for years. This is just the beginning and there is no guarantee it will succeed, but it’s the first step towards making progress on both granting citizenship while also protecting the border from people who wish to break the law.
Speaker Paul Ryan is calling for a vote by next week, so it can be laid to rest before the midterm elections. He called it a “very good compromise.” Some conservatives called it amnesty. No side will ever get everything they want, so this may be the path forward to get something done for a change. “Our members felt very, very passionate about having votes on policies they care about, and that is what we are doing,” Ryan said earlier Thursday. “So we’re bringing legislation that’s been carefully crafted and negotiated to the floor. We won’t guarantee passage.”
The bill is 293 pages long. It is a very ambitious overhaul of the immigration system. It shifts away from the nation’s longtime preference for family immigration to a new system that prioritizes entry based on merits and skills. It beefs up border security, clamps down on illegal entries and reinforces other immigration laws. The bill addresses concerns over the sharp rise of families being separated at the border. It proposes keeping children in detention with their parents, undoing 2-decade-old rules that limit the time minors can be held in custody. The White House sought the change on this.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the legislation “nothing more than a cruel codification of President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda that abandons our nation’s heritage as a beacon of hope and opportunity.” Kerri Talbot, the policy director at Immigration Hub, called it a “wish list” from top White House immigration adviser Stephen Miller that “would allow the Trump administration to jail children for long periods of time.” That appears to be a very twisted version of what is the truth.
DACA is the primary element of the bill. It provides a pathway to citizenship for as many as 1.8 million young people who have been living in the U.S. illegally since childhood. That’s the provision that many might call amnesty. These are the Dreamers that for so long the left cried over and have now abandoned. Under the proposal, some 700,000 DACA recipients, as well as a broader group of young people who didn’t register for the program, could apply for legal status, which would be valid for six years and would be renewable “indefinitely.” This benefits those on the Democrat side while still offering something for Republicans to work within their own endeavors to strengthen border security.
Eventually, young people, who are under 31 and have been in the country since at least June 2007, could begin to get green cards based on a point system. It prioritizes education, English language proficiency, military service and continued employment. After that, they could apply for citizenship, as is the situation under current law for those with permanent legal status. The new visa program, which is also available to other immigrants, including approximately 200,000 children who were brought to the U.S. legally by their parents, is contingent on the $25 billion in border security funding being fully provided. This could be used to fund a border wall.
The program would do away with several existing visa programs. Among them, family-related visas for the married children or adult siblings of U.S. citizens as well as the 55,000 visas now available under the diversity lottery system for immigrants from other represented countries, including many in Africa.
The $25 billion could be used for a wall structure, technology, roadways and enhanced security. It authorizes National Guard troops at the U.S.-Mexico border. It also calls for the deployment of a biometric entry-exit system for all entry ports that has long been under debate. The bill makes it easier for authorities to deport those here illegally (who have broken the law), rather than allowing some to be released under certain circumstances. In other words, it does away with what’s referred to as a catch and release program.
This looks like a solid compromise and serious effort to provide greater security and freedom for all Americans.