President Donald Trump thinks it makes sense to sign an amnesty for young illegal immigrants and to let them become citizens, an official from the Department of Homeland Security told Senators on Tuesday.
“Under a rational bill, these [DACA] individuals would be able to become lawful permanent residents with a pathway to citizenship,” Michael Dougherty, the assistant secretary for border, immigration and trade policy, told GOP Sen. John Kennedy during a Tuesday hearing of the Senate judiciary committee.
The statement reflected Trump’s turnabout since his election campaign when he promised to send all illegals homewards, including the 800,000 younger illegals who got work permits via former President Barack Obama’s 2012 “DACA” amnesty.
However, Dougherty declined to provide Kennedy with any guidance about what security measures, border-wall improvements or immigration reforms must be packaged to create a “rational” amnesty for the younger illegals, whose numbers include roughly 3.3 million of the approximately 12 million illegals residing in the United States.
“So the president believes they should be allowed to stay,” Kennedy asked Dougherty, 92 minutes into the hearing.
“The president, yes, would like to work with Congress to get a solution,” Dougherty answered the Lousiana Senator.
“Under what conditions does the president believe they should be allowed to stay?” Kennedy asked.
“I don’t have those details for you, sir,” replied Dougherty.
“We need all the assistance we can get,” said Kennedy, whose used the “dreamers” term to describe the illegals, not young Americans.
“We need clarity from the administration,” said North Carolina GOP Sen. Thom Tillis told the administration officials. Tillis is pushing his own pro-business amnesty bill that would allow the illegals to get citizenship in 15 years.
Administration officials have promised to provide clarity in a few days, once they have completed a strategic plan for immigration reform. They began preparing the plan following the disastrous September 13 meeting in the White House with the Democrats’ leaders in the Senate and House, Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi. The Democrats emerged from the meeting claiming that Trump had agreed to a no-strings, no-wall amnesty for the 3.3 million younger illegals.
The White House plan is expected to include parts of the popular RAISE Act, which would raise Americans’ wages by cutting unskilled “chain migration” arrivals of new citizens’ family relations. That bill is backed by Trump, Georgia Sen. David Perdue and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.
Dougherty told the Senators that the White House’s priorities include “border control, expanding the ability to quickly remove people who enter illegally and do not claim asylum, better vetting, reducing visa overstays, reforming non-immigrant business visas and establishing a merit-based system that favors skilled immigrants,” according to a Reuters report.
The Senators and witnesses did not talk about the scale and cost of an amnesty, which could quickly reach a record-breaking 3.3 million — not counting subsequent chain migration — at a record-breaking cost of at least $116 billion over ten years. Democratic Senators portrayed the young illegals as an economic boon to the United States, even though relatively few have productive skills.
Democratic Senators pleaded with Trump’s officials to not push for any concessions in an amnesty deal, hinting the illegal-immigrant political activists are unable to accept any conditions or compromise that might hinder amnesty and government aid for their siblings, parents and foreign relatives. Young illegal immigrants protesting outside the White House told Breitbart News in September that they oppose immigration reductions, enhanced enforcement or funding for a border wall.
“Building a wall can’t stop people coming into different countries … it is a better opportunity for their families,” said Jessica A. who was part of a group from Trinity Washington University in Washington D.C. “I can’t say that needs to stop,” she told Breitbart.
“Please do not put the burden on the Dreamers to accept every aspect of comprehensive immigration reform to get a chance to become citizens of the United States,” Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said vehemently. “That is too much to ask,” he said, adding that leaders could talk about “‘some reasonable way” on “border security.” Durbin also used the term “dreamer” to describe young illegals, not young Americans.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn called for a series of small-scale immigration bills. “I don’t think we’re capable of passing a comprehensive immigration bill,” he said, so Congress should start with border security and interior enforcement bills. “That is the first step — not the last step,” he said. “We need to regain the [voters’] trust … the American people simply don’t trust us to solve the problem.”