A former Democratic Party official insisted Wednesday night on “The Ingraham Angle” that Republicans must pass a “clean” amnesty bill for so-called dreamers if they want to stay in power.
But Steven Camarota, director of research at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that the politics of immigration make that unlikely. He noted that legal immigrants who become citizens tend to favor Democrats by a 2-to-1 margin.
So over the next 20 years, he said, immigration is likely to add an additional 15 million voters to the rolls.
“Quite naturally, the political system will reflect the values of the changing electorate,” he said. “So it’s hard to see, if legal immigration continues, how a conservative Republican Party survives.”
Jose Aristimuño, former press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, told Ingraham that Trump will be a one-term president if he insists on concessions like a border wall and an end to chain migration as part of a deal to grant legal status to illegal immigrants currently enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“If he wants to keep his job, he has to extend DACA,” he said.
Aristimuño added that supporting the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would give a path to citizenship to an estimated two million illegal immigrants whose parents brought them to America as children, would help Republicans with the growing Hispanic demographic.
“If we want the GOP to do well with Hispanics, then you know what? Pass a clean DREAM Act,” he said. “If you guys do that — I promise you.”
Granting amnesty without reform likely will spark the next wave of illegal immigration from minors, said Camarota.
But Harmeet Dhillon, former vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party, disputed that.
“This is like Lucy with the football, Laura,” she said. “Republicans keep falling for this. It’s nonsense. That’s not how we’re going to win. But the president does need to keep his promises.”
Camarota agreed. He said immigrants tend to support Democrats because they agree with the party on a range of issues, not just immigration policy. He added that while Trump likely would gain little from a DACA deal, without meaningful concessions he could lose voters.
“The president, to his credit, has been very bold and consistent on this … If he wants his voters to show up in 2018 and, ultimately, 2020, and he wants to do something they don’t like, like DACA, he’s got to give them things — not just enforcement but an end to chain migration,” he said. “Otherwise, it’s not clear that Congress is not going to flip.”
There are good policy reasons to hold firm as well, Camarota said: Granting amnesty without reform likely will spark the next wave of illegal immigration from minors. He added that it is extremely difficult to deport children who arrive at the border without adults.
“It’s very clear that all the talk of an amnesty tends to cause more young people to come because they know, as you pointed out, that we don’t deport people unless they’re from Mexico,” he said.