Democrats Reject Trump’s Amnesty Deal, But Pocket Concessions on ‘Dreamers’

Dick Durbin laughs (Chip Somodevilla / Getty)
Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) emphatically rejected the White House’s proposed terms for a deal to legalize the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which leaked to the media ahead of schedule Thursday.

President Donald Trump’s proposal would provide a 10-12 year “path to citizenship” for 1.8 million so-called “Dreamers” — illegal aliens brought to the U.S. as children — over and above the 800,000 DACA beneficiaries. In return, it would demand $25 billion for immediate construction of a border wall, as well as an end to chain migration and the diversity visa lottery program.

Durbin released the following statement rejecting the deal — but accepting Trump’s concession on 1.8 million “Dreamers” and the “path to citizenship”:

Dreamers should not be held hostage to President Trump’s crusade to tear families apart and waste billions of American tax dollars on an ineffective wall. After four and a half months, his Administration finally says it has a plan to solve the crisis he created when he ended DACA. The White House claims to be compromising because the President now agrees with the overwhelming majority of Americans that Dreamers should have a pathway to citizenship. But his plan would put the Administration’s entire hardline immigration agenda — including massive cuts to legal immigration — on the backs of these young people.

Republicans have just fourteen days to work with Democrats to reach a bipartisan agreement to pass the Dream Act and solve the DACA crisis. The President himself acknowledged two weeks ago that this must be addressed first, before any attempt to turn to comprehensive immigration reform. Bipartisan negotiations continue in Congress to get that done now.

In negotiation theory, one of the most basic mistakes is to bid against oneself. The Trump White House seems to have made that error, establishing 1.8 million “Dreamers” as a new anchor, a new minimum target for amnesty.

The proposal also establishes, in writing, that the “Dreamers” will be eligible for citizenship, not just legal residency.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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