Politics

Cotton: Six-Month Delay on DACA Prevents Pro-Amnesty ‘Stampede in Congress’

Conservative senator warns GOP moderates to recall why 'Trump won the nomination and then won the election'

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) urged GOP lawmakers tempted to support amnesty for illegal immigrants to “think about why [President] Donald Trump won the nomination and then won the election,” during an interview Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

Cotton, an immigration hawk who co-sponsored the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act earlier this year, spoke shortly before Trump was expected to announce the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with a six-month delay. Cotton said the program was created by an “unconstitutional” executive order from former President Barack Obama and that no president could “defend it in court.”

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“What President Trump is saying today is that the DACA program is unconstitutional. It’s not lawful. The president cannot make immigration policy by himself,” Cotton said. “So this is a mess of President Obama’s making, and President Trump is taking a responsible step to say that he does not have the authority to do so and that Congress has to take action, if you want action taken on immigration.”

LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham asked Cotton why Trump couldn’t just go ahead and rescind Obama’s DACA executive order, effective immediately, instead of allowing a six-month window. The Arkansas Republican argued that if Trump revoked the executive order entirely, there would be a rush in Congress to push its own DACA legislation.

“I think [Trump] recognizes the political reality, Laura, that if he did just end it abruptly — as he fully has the power to do, as you say — that there would be something of a stampede in Congress between Democrats and a lot of pro-amnesty Republicans to simply codify it with nothing done in exchange,” he said.

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“President Trump had this forced on him by President Obama, who didn’t have the authority to do what he did, which is exactly what President Obama said a year before he did it,” Cotton continued. “And President Trump is simply trying to govern consistent with the rule of law.”

As Democrats and pro-amnesty Republicans hasten to concoct a legislative fix, however, he urged them to remember the 2016 presidential election process and take to heart why Trump ultimately defeated the pro-amnesty crowd in both the primaries and the general election.

“Immigration was probably the single issue on which President Trump broke from Republican conventional wisdom or orthodoxy,” Cotton said, noting that there were a “few people” like himself and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Congress at the time “who shared those views before the election.”

“But that was the single issue on which [Trump] broke from Republican conventional wisdom. And what happened? He won our nomination. He got elected,” the senator said. “And the people who support that kind of Gang of Eight-style amnesty first legislation should think about why Donald Trump won the nomination and then won the election.”

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Noting that there will be a huge outcry from the liberal elite over Trump’s DACA decision, Cotton said, “if those business leaders, or those folks in the media, or politicians in Congress want something like [DACA] to happen, they need to go to Congress with it. But they can’t expect President Trump to continue indefinitely an administrative program that has no lawful basis.”

Once the Trump administration announces the delayed cessation of DACA and Congress responds, he insisted that “any legislation has to not only very carefully review [dreamers’] conduct while they’ve been in this country, but more importantly, it has to offset the negative consequences that are inevitable if you take legislative action first, if you allow them through unlimited family chain migration to get legal status for the very people who broke the law in the first place — their parents.”

Future illegal immigration, Cotton said, cannot be “incentivized” by whatever legislation Congress ultimately concocts.

“But we can’t simply codify the DACA program without recognizing the inevitable negative consequences of it that are going to hurt American workers and hurt American citizens — who, you’re right, should be the first people on our minds,” he said.

As Congress considers a compromise bill, the senator urged it to produce a “discreet, targeted bill that takes incremental steps to improve the immigration system for American workers and improve immigration enforcement.”

“That will offset the negative consequences of giving legal status to the DACA recipients,” Cotton said, adding, “I don’t think a good deal would be temporary funding for the wall for a permanent DACA.”

(photo credit, homepage and article images: Michael Vadon, Flickr)

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