Saving Dreamers Means Tougher Immigration Rules

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Members of Congress scrambling to protect Dreamers before a March deadline will almost certainly have to swallow tougher immigration measures in return, Politico reports. GOP lawmakers are coalescing around pairing a measure that codifies the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program into law with some modest security and enforcement measures. Democrats are willing to deal. This means President Trump’s desire to construct a 2,000-mile border wall and slash legal immigration limits are all but off the table. Ditto measures that would put other undocumented immigrants, such as the parents of Dreamers, more at risk of deportation.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says, “The Republican criticism is, if you just provide legal status and do no more, you incentivize people to keep coming. So I think the deal is a border security package that’s reasonable, effective and married up with the DREAM Act.” House Speaker Paul Ryan stressed that “it is only reasonable and fitting” to address not just a DACA fix but the causes of illegal immigration by tightening up border security — signaling that he wouldn’t move a stand-alone bill for Dreamers. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois said, “There are some things that are absolutely unacceptable. A 2,200-mile border wall is unacceptable. Making it easier to deport the parents of Dreamers, not gonna do that.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t outlined how he believes DACA should be handled. Congress faces a March 5 deadline set by the Trump administration to salvage the Obama-era executive action that gave temporary work permits to nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants.

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