On Sunday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “KasieDC,” Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) revealed there was a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators “quietly meeting” to formulate a solution DACA.
Among the terms negotiated according to Lankford include a path to citizenship for DREAMers and elements of border security that he said would include a combination of a wall and technology.
Partial transcript as follows:
HUNT: One area you have been working on with colleagues across the aisle I understand is immigration. And there has been a very difficult debate going on in the House of Representatives, something of a revolt among more moderate Republicans and even conservative Republican whose think there should be a solution for the DACA kids.
Are you working on anything here in the Senate to try to address this problem before the end of the year?
LANKFORD: I am. There’s a group of us that are meeting quietly to try to see if we can find common ground. End of February no grand secret an epic fair of the Senate to pass any one of four bills put forward. All four had bipartisan support from different individuals in different amounts. But all four of them had bipartisan support. Typically, four bills come up. They would all fail. And then next week try to blend them together into one to get it done.
What happened instead is the court stepped in and said they are going to put a hold on the process and nothing can change on DACA until they make a decision and the Senate just walked away.
HUNT: They took the pressure off.
LANKFORD: Right, the pressure was off. There was no timeline anymore. I think there still is a timeline. We just don’t know what the date is. At some point, the court is going to rule, and I think the court will rule in the president’s favor. Not because I’m a Republican but because I believe one executive can change the actions of a previous executive, just like a future president can change the actions of President Trump if it’s an executive order. That’s just basic governance.
HUNT: Do you think that whatever you’re working on would include a path to citizenship for DREAMers?
LANKFORD: I do. I’ve been outspoken on that, even before last September. Senator Tillis and I both put out a proposal for citizenship for those individuals in the DACA program or were eligible for the DACA program because we have a group that was in the DACA program, but we got a group that never signed up. [They] never went through the paperwork, never signed up for whatever reason and they were eligible for it. We would like those individuals to have access to citizenship as well. Now we got to deal with border security. There are reasonable ways to be able to do that have talked about for a long time.
HUNT: The wall — would you give the president his wall?
LANKFORD: I would because most of the areas, it’s not really a wall. The president keeps saying it’s a wall. When you talk to the Department of Homeland Security, most of the time they’ll say, “Yeah, there’s a wall in some urban areas where we got to have a clear point of separation. In most areas, it’s technology. We have ways to put technology out in areas of the desert where you can see for miles. We don’t need a wall. A wall slows people down. The running joke is you put a 30-foot wall, you get a 31-foot ladder and people get over. That’s entirely true. But what happens, slow people down and you can actually do interdiction at that point. So you’ve got to have personnel and the ability to get there. Urban centers, where you’ve got a city on both sides — if you don’t have some good, physical barrier in between, people can move quickly from country to country, and you can’t pick it out. That is a problem.
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