Reports of a deal between President Donald Trump and congressional Democratic leaders on the so-called “dreamers” is not going over well with the hard-line immigration base.
Breitbart News called Trump “Amnesty Don” following an announcement by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced they had struck a deal Wednesday night with the president to pass a version of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
The White House disputed that, saying that the details had not been worked out. And Trump told reporters Thursday morning before leaving for hurricane-ravaged Florida that an agreement to protect recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would have to include border-security measures.
“I think we’re fairly close but we have to get massive border security … Look, 92 percent of the people agree on DACA, but what we want is very, very powerful border security,” he said.
The reaction from hawks and Capitol Hill and elsewhere, however, was decidedly negative.
“That’s missing the point,” said Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian on border demands. “That’s always been my fear, that Trump would give away DACA for a fig leaf.”
Krikorian said legal immigration restrictions are needed to mitigate the effects of amnesty. For instance, he said, if the United States does not restrict family-sponsored immigration, the DACA recipients will be able to sponsor their foreign relatives for residency — including, potentially, their parents, who brought them illegally in the first place.
Amnesty opponents have hurled plenty of invective at Trump in the last 12 hours, but Krikorian’s might be the most stinging — tying him to 2016 GOP primary rival Jeb Bush.
“The president is letting the Democrats set the terms of the discussion … This is pure Jebism,” he said.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) also blasted the reported deal.
“The base will leave him. They won’t be able to defend him anymore,” he told CNN. “I support Donald Trump’s campaign agenda. I support the agenda he had when he was sworn in to office. And I support almost every piece of the rest of his agenda except this amnesty piece that’s being dangled out in front of America right now.”
The Americans for Legal Immigration political action committee called Trump a “con artist” following the Schumer-Pelosi announcement. William Gheen, ALIPAC’s president, told LifeZette that Trump was worse than former President Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton because he had lied to the American people.
“Trump deserves as much distain as we can muster to push back against his very clear and documented effort to plot an amnesty with Democrats,” he said.
Gheen noted that Pelosi and Schumer indicated that the deal excludes funding for a border wall that Trump promised repeatedly on the campaign trail.
“It’s disappointing to see Trump retreat on the wall again and again,” he said.
But no concessions from Democrats on enforcement would justify legalizing the illegal immigrants who signed up for the DACA program created by the Obama administration for certain people who came illegally to the United States as children. He said the president is duty-bound to enforce immigration laws and rescind DACA immediately — and not in six months as Trump announced last week.
Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations at NumbersUSA, made the same point.
“NumbersUSA is opposed to any attempt to trade enforcement for amnesty for the so-called ‘dreamers’ to compete and take jobs from Americans and those here legally,” she said in a statement. “We tried this trade in 1986 and the result was the 12 million illegal aliens currently in the United States. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.”
(photo credit, homepage image: Funcrunch, Wikimedia; photo credit, article image: Nevele Otseog, Flickr)