Mark Meadows Draws Line in Sand: No DACA Amnesty in Spending Bill

Rep. Mark Meadows, (R-NC 11th District) and chair of the Freedom Caucus, speaks at President Trump's press conference with members of the GOP, on the passage of legislation to roll back the Affordable Care Act, in the Rose Garden of the White House, On Thursday, May 4, 2017. (Photo by …
Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Washington, DC

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, on Tuesday said there should be no Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty deal contained within the government funding bill coming up in January.

The important move by Meadows aims to take government shutdown leverage away from Democrats in the upcoming DACA battles — something that President Donald Trump alluded to on Tuesday morning on Twitter when he bashed Democrats for not being serious about DACA solutions.

Meadows, in an interview with MSNBC host Chuck Todd, said that a DACA deal is in the works and being discussed.

“We have been working closely with the administration and some of my Democrat colleagues, even some Republicans that perhaps are more moderate than I would be, because the president set a deadline in March to deal with the 674,000 people that had deferred action,” Meadows said. “So, we’re going to get a deal. We have been working behind the scenes not only with members but with the White House as well to try to do that. But the president has been very specific on what he wants to see.”

Meadows noted that three “critically important” parts to any deal include the president’s planned wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, an end to chain migration, and a stop to the visa lottery — along with more general border and interior enforcement measures. Trump laid this out on Twitter last week.

Meadows added that there is no way there can be any kind of “last minute scenario” whereby only amnesty for the DACA recipients happens without an end to chain migration, a stop to the visa lottery, and funding for the president’s planned border wall. The reason for that, he said, is that doing just an amnesty without stopping the flow of future illegal immigration will not solve the problem.

“If you deal with those 600,000 individuals without changing the fundamental reason why they are here and the fact that — we’ll just be dealing with it again,” Meadows said. “You have seen previous administrations, both Democrat and Republican, try to deal with it. And they have never been able to deal with it. Let’s go ahead, once and for all. Let’s do something historic and make sure we address it.”

But the most important thing Meadows said in the interview was that DACA should not be connected to the government funding bill. “How connected to the government funding bill is DACA now? This Jan. 19 expiration date, does DACA have to be agreed on before that? Is that your deadline?” Todd asked Meadows.

“Well, no, I think if you talk to Democrats, they are going to want to attach to it that funding,” Meadows replied. “Conservatives have said let’s keep as a separate issue. I’m hopeful that—“

“So you think March is the real deadline?” Todd pressed Meadows.

“March is the real deadline,” Meadows responded. “You are not even talking about any deportation until months after that even if we hit that deadline. But we are really looking at March. But the other part is I’m encouraging our leadership to go ahead and do something bold in the next two weeks. So let’s go ahead and have the debates and let’s discuss and it see if we can get a bipartisan agreement.”

Meadows added that he would like to see congressional leadership move forward on a plan that addresses President Trump’s concerns this month, in January.

“Yeah, in the House,” Meadows said when Todd asked about whether he wants to get moving in January. “Because the Senate is slower to act. So, yes, I see it being dealt with long before infrastructure.”

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