[Rushtalk] DACA, DACA, Bo-Baca ..

Carl Spitzer cwsiv at juno.com
Fri May 18 10:24:12 MDT 2018

DACA, DACA, Bo-Baca ...
The prospects of an amnesty deal are fading.
By Mark Krikorian on January 5, 2018 
National Review, January 5, 2017

President Trump met Thursday with Senate Republicans about a possible
deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program,
President Obama's lawless pen-and-phone amnesty that gave two-year
renewable work permits to certain illegal aliens who arrived before age
16. There are about 700,000 of them, and the six-month grace period that
President Trump gave them after canceling the program in September is
fast running out.

There are three clusters of issues at play here.

DACA or Dream? First, what is the universe of people being considered
for an amnesty? As I've noted here previously, there's a tendency —
inadvertent in some, intentional in others — to conflate the DACA
population of perhaps 700,000 illegal aliens who have Obama work permits
with the much larger group of "Dreamers," which, depending on the bill,
could add up to more than three million people. The point of such
conflation by those who know what they're doing is to use the smaller
DACA group as a wedge to sneak through a multimillion-person amnesty.

Just this week, three former DHS secretaries under Bush and Obama
(Chertoff, Napolitano, and Johnson) contributed to this strategy by
publishing a pro-amnesty open letter that uses "Dream" and "DACA"

Green Cards or Work Permits? The second issue is what kind of amnesty
would the DACA people (or Dreamers) get? Would they simply have their
current status formalized, so that they have work permits but are not
formal permanent residents on track for citizenship? Or would they
eventually be upgraded to regular permanent residency — green-card
status? This matters, because some politicians try to pretend that
whatever amnesty they're pitching at the time isn't really an amnesty if
it doesn't result in green cards (and eventual access to citizenship and

A work-permit amnesty would be a mistake for two reasons. Trying to deny
that it's an amnesty should fool no one. Ever since this tactic was
widely deployed during the Bush-McCain-Kennedy amnesty push over a
decade ago, anyone with a scintilla of political awareness knows that a
politician who says "This isn't an amnesty" is actually pushing an
amnesty. Anything that lets an illegal alien stay legally is an amnesty,
and we might as well just admit it.

Furthermore, permanent work-visa status is politically unsustainable.
GOP pols who think they can square the circle by amnestying the DACA
beneficiaries but not letting them become citizens (and thus vote
Democratic) will be in for a rude surprise. The Democrats might agree to
that as a stopgap, to get their constituents on firmer legal ground. But
they would immediately launch a campaign to end the "Jim Crow
immigration regime," and in a few years Congress would just convert the
legalized DACA population to green-card holders anyway. The only way a
non-citizenship amnesty could make sense is as a conditional status that
would be converted to permanent residency once the enforcement and
legal-immigration components of a DACA amnesty bill were fully

How to Balance the Amnesty? Which brings us to the final question — what
measures would be packaged with a DACA amnesty? This is where most of
the attention has been focused, but it's been framed inaccurately as a
simple matter of legislative horse-trading: Each party has things it
desires, so let's make a deal. The Dreamer activists see it this way
too, objecting to being used as "bargaining chips."

But this isn't mere legislative horse-trading. The measures being
discussed are necessary to limit the fallout of any deal. All amnesties
have two effects: They incentivize additional illegal immigration (as
prospective illegals abroad see that their predecessors managed to get
away with it) and they create downstream chain migration (when the
legalized aliens eventually sponsor their relatives). Thus the need for
any DACA deal to include enforcement measures (like E-Verify and/or the
wall), to blunt the surge of illegal immigration caused by amnesty, and
the abolition of the family-immigration categories that lead to chain
migration (i.e., limit family immigration to the core nuclear family of
spouses and minor children).

The polling on this is strong. Most of the advocacy groups and their
media mouthpieces point to surveys showing broad support for the idea of
letting DACA people stay, and I'm sure that's correct. But any survey
that has Luis Gutierrez and me giving the same answer is asking the
wrong question. That's why it's good that Numbers USA released polling
this week that assumed a DACA amnesty, but asked what measures should be
packaged with it. By about two to one, respondents supported an E-Verify
mandate and ending chain migration (and ending the visa lottery as

The president has been quite consistent, both on Twitter and in real
life, that a DACA amnesty must include offsets to limit the damage.
Here's a tweet from December 29: "The Democrats have been told, and
fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately
needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain
Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc. We must
protect our Country at all cost!"

I think mandatory use of E-Verify for new hires is a much more important
tool for blunting the post-amnesty surge of illegal immigration, but the
president is set on his wall. In fact, the wall looms so large in the
president's thinking that the Democrats could probably "buy" amnesty for
the DACA people and the Dreamers and who knows how many other illegals
if they just gave him his wall, without even making any concessions on
chain migration or anything else. But their deranged hatred for the
president and all his works means they just can't give him his wall, or
make any meaningful concessions on DACA beyond some extra non-wall
border funding. Can you imagine the danger — the real, physical danger —
Schumer and Pelosi would be in if they agreed to fund anything the
president could plausibly describe as a border wall?

This is why I'm increasingly of the opinion that there isn't going to be
any DACA deal. Despite the eagerness of such Republicans as Senators
Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) to sell out to the
Democrats, the Left's maximalist demands will likely doom this effort.

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan,
non-profit research organization founded in 1985. It is the nation's
only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of
the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of
immigration on the United States.



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