“This is not how I was taught to negotiate in law school,” said immigration expert Dale Wilcox of the Trump administration’s Thursday-released amnesty proposal, including an offer of amnesty for 1.8 million “DREAMers” beyond initially stated numbers of about 700,000 illegal alien registrants with the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.
Wilcox is Executive Director & General Counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI). His remarks came in a Thursday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with co-hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.
“Like you, I’m in a bit of a sticker shock,” said Wilcox:
We were expecting for Trump to maybe put forward amnesty for 690,000 DACA recipients, and he’s more than doubled that — 1.8 million. This is not how I was taught to negotiate in law school. I’ve never read Art of the Deal, but I’m not sure this is how you negotiate. You don’t give your bottom line. I mean, this is where they’re starting? 1.8 million? Where are they going to go from here? The Migration Policy Institute says there’s potentially 3.5 million DACA-eligible people out there.
Trump has “bid against himself” by offering amnesty for “1.8 million DREAMers,” said Pollak, describing the president as committing the “basic mistake” of breaking “the number one rule in negotiation.”
“I’ve studied negotiation in law school,” said Pollak:
I’ve written about negotiation, and I agree with you. This was not a good way to start. The number one rule in negotiating is: Do not bid against yourself. If you’re buying a house and you say, “I want to pay $100,000 for this house,” and the offer is rejected, you don’t come back and say, “Alright, $200,000.” You don’t do that, because then the other side knows they can just ratchet it up and ratchet it up.
And lo and behold, what just happened? Trump took the 700 or 800 thousand DACA beneficiaries — that was the anchor, that’s the number everyone’s been talking about — and he said, “1.8 million DREAMers,” so the Democrats just pocketed that concession … rejecting the deal but pocketing that concession, saying, “Yeah, okay. We’ll take 1.8 million DREAMers on a path to citizenship. That’s great. We’re glad Trump sees the wisdom of that. But the rest of the deal is totally unacceptable to us. We’re not taking it.” He’s bid against himself. It’s a basic mistake. What happened here?”
Trump and the GOP are “being ruled by the clock,” said Wilcox, pointing to their acceptance of the Democrat and left-wing push to link governmental funding to immigration reform and amnesty negotiations; the current continuing resolution expires on February 8.
“The problem, here … comes down to negotiating,” continued Pollak. “[Donald Trump] has accepted the idea that people who didn’t even apply for DACA status, who didn’t take advantage of the legal methods available to them to defer deportation, they should also be eligible [for amnesty]. They didn’t get their act together and apply and put their documents together, but they should be allowed to stay in the country and become citizens? Very strange.”
Wilcox noted the absence of a national E-Verify mandate for employers in the White House amnesty proposal, describing its omission as a critical error.
“The opposition knows how to negotiate, they’re playing hardball,” said Wilcox, highlighting United We Dream’s description of the White House amnesty proposal as a “white supremacist ransom note [and] immigration plan.”
Implementation of the White House’s amnesty proposal would legalize and grant citizenship to more persons than the 1986 amnesty during the Reagan presidency, said Wilcox.
The majority of illegal aliens amnestied in 1986 resided in California, noted Wilcox. The total number of persons amnestied in 1986 was twice the original government estimate; approximately 2.9 million persons were amnestied against an estimate of approximately 1.5 million illegal aliens in the country at the time. “You’re sure to get many more step-forwards for this current amnesty than what’s being portrayed,” said Wilcox.
Amnestying millions of illegal immigrants — complete with offers of eventual citizenship — would yield a demographic political disaster for Republicans, said Mansour. “California was once a pretty reliable Republican state, and now a Republican cannot be elected dogcatcher in California. So the GOP is signing its death warrant, essentially, in doing this.”
The White House’s proposed termination of the “Diversity Visa Program” lottery amounts to a form of musical chairs, said Wilcox, as it reallocates the visas to hasten admission of foreigners within the “family-based” and “high skilled employment” immigration backlogs.
“The White House proposal gets rid of the visa lottery, [but] what they’ve done is, they eliminated the lottery but they reallocated the visas to reduce the family-based backlog [of four million persons], so, those are going to be applied to the family-based backlog and the high-skilled employment backlog, so we’re bringing in more people to compete for American jobs,” said Wilcox. “I just don’t get it.”
Chain migration is not immediately ended by the White House’s amnesty proposal, said Wilcox, cautioning observers to note that four million foreigners currently slated for immigration visas via existing chain migration policies will still be mostly green-lighted into the homeland.
“Know this about these proposals that the White House put out today; chain migration is not ended immediately, so the White House is allowing the backlog — and the backlog consists of four million people in the pipeline who are waiting on their number to come up, this is only prospective — the White House is allowing all those people to immigrate into the United States, and as you know, 70 percent of all our immigration is the result of chain migration,” said Wilcox. “So, at a minimum, 3 million out of that 4 million … will be allowed to immigrate, still, to the United States. It’s only as of the date this legislation is signed forward [that] no one would be able to bring in family members that are not spouses or minor children.”
“The devil is in the details,” concluded Wilcox. “They’ve shifted those numbers [of the ‘Diversity Visa Program’ lottery’s annual allotment] to other visa categories. … I’m a little let down, to say the least, in the details.”
Breitbart News Tonight airs Monday through Friday on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel 125 from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific).
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.