Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) said on Monday that Democrats are hoping that Congress will have a debate on comprehensive amnesty legislation “sometime after June or July.”
“Many of us our pushing as hard as we can to help make that happen,” he said on Monday’s MTP Daily on MSNBC. “If there is a sweet spot it is perhaps after many of the Republican primaries have passed and now you have many folks in the Republican Party–members of Congress–who feel like they are safe from any kind of primary challenge and they can now focus on the November general election.”
Though Trump offered Democrats a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in exchange for $25 billion to fund the border wall and limits to some legal immigration, Democrats rejected Trump’s offer, accusing Trump of being a “racist” president who just wants to make “American white again.”
But even though Trump has recently slammed Democrats for being weak on border security and said the caravan of 1,500 families from Central America are trying to come to America because “they want in” on a potential amnesty program, his televised meeting with a bipartisan group of legislators in January alarmed many Trump supporters who were first drawn to his campaign because of his America-first immigration policies during the 2016 GOP primaries.
These big flows of people are all trying to take advantage of DACA. They want in on the act!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018
Trump said at that meeting that he would be open to working on a broader “comprehensive immigration reform” bill the afternoon after a DACA fix is resolved. Trump also suggested that he would be willing to sign whatever Congress sends him on immigration, even offering to take the “heat” for Republicans and Democrats on amnesty.
“My positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with,” Trump said then. “If they come to me with things I’m not in love with, I’m going to do it, because I respect them.”
Lawmakers like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who have been working for decades to get a broad comprehensive amnesty solution have been playing to Trump’s ego to convince him to sign a broader amnesty bill that gives a pathway to citizenship to nearly every illegal immigrant who has not committed serious crimes. Amnesty advocates have been reportedly hoping that any potential DACA fix would be the first step to securing legalization for nearly every illegal immigrant in the country.
“Obama couldn’t do it. Bush couldn’t do it. I think you can do it,” Graham told Trump at the January White House meeting. “I’ve never been more optimistic about an immigration reform proposal making it to the president’s desk right now.”