Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and some other conservative lawmakers are creating a bill that may provide a win for President Trump in the lose/lose policy on young, immigrant “Dreamers.” The band of GOP lawmakers are drafting a bill they call the conservative Dream Act which would provide a pathway to permanent residency to people brought to America illegally as children.
This legislation will enable Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to end the Obama-era program known as DACA and still yield to his personal sympathy and let these immigrants remain in the U.S.
“Who cares about DACA if there’s a Dream Act,” said a Republican aware of Tillis’ plan.
Trump has publicly wrestled with the implications of his promise to end DACA since taking office. There are roughly 800,000 young immigrants that are known as Dreamers whose lives will be affected. Not dealing with them will infuse his base with anger. Just a year ago, Trump promised his right-wing base that he would scrap what he referred to as “illegal amnesty” program. But when he became president, his tone changed, and he publicly shared his reluctance to put so many young people up for deportation.
Most people expect the president to end DACA as soon as Friday, but allow those who now have work permits to stay until they expire. The Tillis plan makes this much more acceptable to a broader number of people. Tillis and other Republican lawmakers say that with their plan, Trump can claim a win through ending DACA and work something out for the “Dreamers.” The Dream Act would offer a path to citizenship to immigrants who entered America illegally before Jan. 1, 2012 and were 16 years old or younger. According to the bill, high school graduates without a serious criminal record could get conditional immigration status for a five year period. They could earn a higher-education degree, serve in the military or stay employed. They could apply for permanent residency and ultimately citizenship. Roughly 2.5 million Dreamers would be eligible.
A spokesperson for Tillis, Daniel Keylin, said, “Regardless of the policy itself, DACA is an executive overreach that sets immigration policy through executive order instead of the proper channel – Congress,” Keylin said. “It’s highly unlikely that DACA will survive a legal challenge, and it’s the responsibility of Congress, not the President, to offer a long-term legislative fix.”
In February, Trump declared that he would approach the issue of Dreamers “with heart.” But now, as Trump’s poll numbers decline, the president is focusing again on his base. “His base is the only thing he has going for him right now,” Chris Chmielenski, director of NumbersUSA, said. “And this would appease his base.”
Last month, aboard Air Force One headed to Paris, Trump acknowledged he was still troubled over what to do. “It’s a decision that I make, and it’s a decision that’s very, very hard to make,” Trump said. “I really understand the situation now. I understand the situation very well. What I’d like to do is a comprehensive immigration plan. But our country and political forces are not ready yet.”
What do you think about the conservative Dream Act, is this really a potential win/win for the president?
Credit: McClatchy DC