Rumors that President Donald Trump will give lawmakers six-months to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is causing a rift within the GOP with some Republicans, sympathetic to the so-called “Dreamers,” about to butt heads with conservative hardliners.
While Democrats are unified in maintaining the Obama-era policy that allowed the children on undocumented immigrants stay in the country, Republicans are a deeply divided which could prove a major challenge for GOP leaders Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).
According to Politico, the battle-lines are already forming, with Ryan and McConnell already recognizing the perils of gutting the popular program and conservatives who are hostile to immigrants pushing back.
According to one observer there is “30-70 percent chance” that Congress will pass legislation that would essentially keep DACA and turn it into law.
“I just don’t think we can make the mistake of assuming the opposition isn’t formidable, even if we have some conservative support,” the observer explained.
In a statement on Monday, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) lambasted the notion of punishing the Dreamers for the perceived sins of their parents.
“It is right for there to be consequences for those who intentionally entered this country illegally,” Lankford said. “However, we as Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parents.”
Lankford has been working behind the scenes with Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) on legislation that would “allow undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors to obtain legal status if they work, pursue higher education or serve in the military,” with Tillis in agreement.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) is also on-board, saying: “I have indicated in the past that I’m supportive of DACA and believe that the humanity aspect of this, what you described, is important — no fault of their own, circumstances beyond their control. DACA has made sense to me.”
Where the bill may run into trouble is with hard-liners who might be willing to trade their support for trade-offs that might be unpalatable to Democrats.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is seeking tougher immigration restrictions that Democrats insist aren’t bargaining chips when it comes to the Dreamers.
Other conservative lawmakers are willing to get behind a modified DACA program — but only in return for commitments to build President Donald Trump’s wall between the U.S. and Mexico — which is a complete non-starter for Democrats.
You can read the whole report here.