Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday there’s “no question” congressional Democrats will be blamed if they “refuse to take yes for an answer” and keep President Donald Trump’s immigration reform framework from passing.
Lawmakers currently are embroiled in debates over an immigration deal that would create a pathway to citizenship for up to 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. In exchange for the amnesty, Trump and GOP lawmakers insist upon ending the visa lottery and extended-family chain migration, along with receiving $25 billion for border wall funding and other security measures.
If Democrats refuse to accept immigration enforcement reforms and allow the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to expire, Cotton said there would be “no one to blame but themselves.”
“So is it fair to say that if, at the end of this month or next month, it might take six weeks, the dreamers are not on a path to citizenship, that is the fault of the Democratic Party?” Hewitt asked Cotton. Dreamers are would-be beneficiaries of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
Cotton replied, “No question, Hugh.”
“I mean, President Trump, in a move that I think completely shocked Democrats, offered not just legal status for the 690,000 persons who are enrolled in the Obama-era DACA program, but offered ultimate citizenship to 1.8 million people,” Cotton added. “If the Democrats reject that, if they refuse to take yes for an answer, then they have no one to blame but themselves.”
Cotton argued that Democratic support for Trump’s immigration compromise framework is “the electorally smart thing to do” in a midterm election year.
“I can tell you the [Democrats] who are up for re-election in states Donald Trump won get it,” Cotton said. “That’s one reason why the Democrats are working overtime to try to prevent votes on these bills … We get back yesterday, what do the Democrats do? They immediately start blocking votes, because they’re scared to vote on things like the President’s framework bill or an amendment to ban sanctuary cities, and so on and so forth.”
Cotton also appeared Tuesday on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” to discuss the immigration compromise’s chances, saying that Trump’s framework bill “is not an opening bid for negotiations. It’s the best and final offer.”
DACA amnesty will “encourage more illegal immigration” and chain migration, Cotton said, noting that this is why it’s essential for Congress to pass border security and wall funding measures.
“I think some Democrats when they recognize that it’s going to be the president’s framework bill or nothing — because the House won’t pass it, the president won’t sign it — will decide when it’s that choice … that they do want to, in fact, uphold the promises that they made, the Democrats made, to protect these young illegal immigrants,” Cotton said. “I hope that’s the choice they’ll make.”
Trump reiterated his support for solving the “DACA puzzle” in a tweet Tuesday, writing, “Negotiations on DACA have begun. Republicans want to make a deal and Democrats say they want to make a deal. Wouldn’t it be great if we could finally, after so many years, solve the DACA puzzle. This will be our last chance, there will never be another opportunity! March 5th.”
But the president ripped Democratic lawmakers Saturday in a tweet, saying, “Republicans want to fix DACA far more than the Democrats do.”
“The Dems had all three branches of government back in 2008-2011, and they decided not to do anything about DACA. They only want to use it as a campaign issue. Vote Republican!”