Deal, No Deal on DACA

There have been conflicting reports on a DACA deal all week, with some news organizations saying that a deal looks imminent, and others saying Congress is divided and we are headed for a government shutdown next Friday over DACA.

Reuters is reporting today that 6 US senators say they have reached immigration deal:

A bipartisan group of six U.S. senators said on Thursday they had reached agreement on immigration reform and are now working to build support for the deal in Congress.

“We have been working for four months and have reached an agreement in principle that addresses border security, the diversity visa lottery, chain migration/family reunification, and the Dream Act – the areas outlined by the president,” the so-called Gang of Six said in a statement.

The Washington Post, however, reports White House: No deal yet on immigration:

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that there is no deal yet on immigration, “However, we still think we can get there.”

Six senators working on immigration issues “have an agreement in principle. We’re shopping it to our colleagues,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told reporters on Thursday afternoon.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), another member of the group, added that “we have answered the call” of Trump, who brought a cross-section of Democrats and Republicans together at the White House this week and called on them to reach a deal he can sign.

In addition to Flake and Graham, the group included Sens. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), all of whom have worked on immigration issues for several years and hail from states with large immigrant populations.

The fast-moving developments included a hastily-arranged Oval Office meeting with Trump, where Graham and Durbin presented details of their plan. The surprise move angered senior Republican leaders and conservatives who are eager to fulfill Trump’s campaign pledges on immigration and control floor debate on the issue. But any attempt to pass immigration and border security legislation will require Democratic support in the closely-divided Senate.

Graham wouldn’t say how the president responded, but said that coming up with bipartisan support in the coming days “will matter to the president.”

Well, the Washington Post does say how Trump responded: Trump attacks protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries in Oval Office meeting:

President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they floated restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to two people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to African countries and Haiti. He then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway [i.e., white Europeans], whose prime minister he met Wednesday.

The comments left lawmakers taken aback, according to people familiar with their reactions.

Why would anyone be “taken aback” by racist comments from Donald Trump at this point? The man has revealed himself to be a racist.

Back to the original Post report:

Flake and Graham said they would not be publicly discussing details of their plan until they share it with colleagues. In a joint statement, the group said, “We are now working to build support for that deal in Congress.”

But Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), an immigration hard-liner and ally of Trump who attended the Oval Office meeting, said that the bipartisan plan “is unacceptable” because of how it deals with family-based migration policy, a practice that conservatives deride as “chain migration,” and on ending the diversity lottery program that grants visas to 55,000 people from countries with low immigration each year.

“It doesn’t end chain migration,” Cotton said of the bipartisan plan. “It merely delays it for an extremely small class of persons. On the diversity lottery, it simply takes all those visas and gives them away to other people for no rhyme or reason, it doesn’t just end the diversity lottery.”

Cotton added that the group’s border security proposal “doesn’t give near enough resources to meet the president’s demands.”

Told of Cotton’s public criticisms, Graham snapped back: “Sen. Cotton can present his proposal. We presented ours. I’m not negotiating with Sen. Cotton and let me know when Sen. Cotton has a proposal that gets a Democrat. I’m dying to look at it.”

* * *

The breakthrough comes just days before a spending deadline that most Democrats are using as leverage for an immigration agreement.

Government funding expires on Jan. 19, and Democrats say they will support legislation to keep the government operating only if the legislation includes plans to protect “dreamers.” But the talks have deadlocked for weeks amid Republican demands that any changes in the young immigrants’ legal status be coupled with changes in border security and some legal immigration programs.

Complicating the talks, Republicans released a flurry of new legislation in recent days designed to placate concerns of conservatives wary of a potential bipartisan deal — and to address the fate of hundreds of thousands of other people living in the country under temporary legal protection.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) and Reps. Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday unveiled a conservative plan that would grant dreamers an opportunity to apply for a legal residency that would be renewed every three years [but with no pathway to citizenship]. Democrats and some Republicans reject such a plan.

The bill also would authorize construction of border walls and fencing; allow federal immigration and security agencies to hire at least 10,000 new agents; end the diversity lottery program; end the ability of new U.S. citizens to legally move family members into the United States; withhold federal funding from [sanctuary] cities that refuse to help federal agencies enforce immigration laws; and intensify use of the E-Verify system to check an employee’s immigration status.

The proposals have been previously rejected by other Republicans, who say that such a comprehensive proposal could not pass the badly fractured Congress and that the bill’s border security measures are too aggressive. Privately, aides to GOP leaders say the bill would not be able to pass in the House.

Way to waste your time kowtowing to the far-right, Martha. Keep kissing the racist nativist ass of your colleague, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, and his “mass deportation party” wing of the GOP. This undercuts your years-long attempt to cast yourself as a moderate Republican.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), whose Denver-area district is being closely targeted by Democrats this year, introduced a bill to grant permanent legal residency to hundreds of thousands of people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and other countries granted residency through the Temporary Protection Status program.

The Washington Post adds:

Trump had seemed amenable to a deal earlier in the day during phone calls, aides said, but shifted his position in the meeting and did not seem interested.

Graham and Durbin thought they would be meeting with Trump alone and were surprised to find immigration hard-liners such as Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) at the meeting. The meeting was impromptu and came after phone calls Thursday morning, Capitol Hill aides said.

After the meeting, Marc Short, Trump’s legislative aide, said the White House was nowhere near a bipartisan deal on immigration.

Soooo, we are now supposed to believe that there is an agreement in principle on DACA, but there does not appear to be enough support for the bill in the House, and President Trump keeps shifting his position to that of the last person who speaks to him.

This would appear to give White House adviser, white nationalist Stephen Miller, the ability to whisper in the king’s ear and to kill any DACA deal in the end.

It looks like we are headed for a government shutdown next Friday.

All of this comes as a Federal judge in San Francisco temporarily blocks Trump’s decision to end DACA program:

A federal judge Tuesday night temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s plan to end the program that shields from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to the country illegally as children.

The ruling marks a potentially major shift in the heated political battle over the fate of the so-called Dreamers, which has created a months-long deadlock in Congress.

With his decision, U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco granted a request by California and other states to stop the administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, at least until lawsuits can play out in court.

* * *

In September, with Trump under pressure from officials in several states opposed to DACA, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions said the administration would begin winding down the program on March 5. The decision was based on Sessions’ opinion that Obama had gone beyond his legal authority in setting up DACA.

That legal opinion was incorrect, the judge said, calling it “a flawed legal premise.” He cited decades of previous actions by immigration authorities to provide temporary relief to groups of people who had violated immigration law.

“DACA was and remains a lawful exercise of authority” by immigration officials, wrote Alsup, an appointee of President Clinton.

Because the decision to abandon the program was based on Sessions’ incorrect reading of the law, it “must be set aside,” he wrote.

“In terminating DACA,” the administration “failed to address the 689,800 young people who had come to rely on DACA to live and to work in this country. These individuals had submitted substantial personal identifying information to the government, paid hefty fees, and planned their lives according to the dictates of DACA,” the judge wrote.

The DACA recipients would suffer irreparable harm if the program is allowed to end, he added, saying the move “would tear authorized workers from our nation’s economy and would prejudice their being able to support themselves and their families, not to mention paying taxes to support our nation.”

“Tonight’s ruling is a huge step in the right direction,” said California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, who helped orchestrate the legal challenge. “America is and has been home to Dreamers who courageously came forward, applied for DACA and did everything the federal government asked of them.”

Judge Alsup ordered the administration to start processing applications for renewal of DACA permits and to continue existing ones, maintaining the status quo for all people enrolled in the program at the time of Sessions’ announcement.

One Response to Deal, No Deal on DACA

  1. For Sure Not Tom

    DACA is the American thing to do.

    DACA is the Christian thing to do.

    DACA is not the Trump base thing to do.

    Trump’s base is unAmerican and anti-Christian.

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