David Perdue, a Republican senator from Georgia, has described it as “a Rubik’s cube with five dimensions,” although it may, at times, seem more like a hostage negotiation. Republicans have talked about handling “Dreamers” (young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children) more harshly than Obama’s administration had. But now, it looks like they have a new plan of attack when discussing DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
Senate Judiciary Committee leader Chuck Grassley has formed a panel, focused on immigration. The working group includes Grassley, a Republican Senator from Iowa, along with other Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, James Lankford of Oklahoma, David Perdue of Georgia and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
“There’s a solution to be had there. But we just need to get on with it,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas stated in an interview with Politico.
In exchange for maintaining the current status of Dreamers, Republicans are demanding a laundry list of proposals. These proposals range from Trump’s campaign promise of a border wall, to a workplace verification system or e-Verify, beefed up interior security, drastic policy remodeling to cut down on chain migration and overhauling immigration laws to better reflect a merit-based system. With the e-Verify system Grassley hopes to “eliminate the root cause of illegal immigration,” he said in a prepared statement.
Two months ago, it looked as if Democratic leaders and Trump were in agreement of a tentative accord that would provide permanent status to nearly 700,000 current DACA registrants, paired with less stringent border security measures, and no border wall — both common election topics for the then Republican candidate.
As political rifts between Republicans and Democrats forced a greater divide between the parties, that original agreement dissolved, and the aforementioned list of demands began to materialize.
“Most of [the Dreamers] went through our system. Many of them don’t speak the language of their country because they’ve never been to their country. We are going to try and solve that,” the president said in a recent interview with Fox News. “In order to solve that, we want a wall and we want great border security.”
The current Republican panel is, in a sense, working with mercury. They must appease the wishes of the White House, while not losing the cooperation of their Democratic counterparts. Democrats are not willing to agree to any proposal that includes some form of e-Verification, but there is some hope that a compromise could still be in the cards. Some of these compromises come in the form of eliminating the opportunity for DACA recipients to sponsor spouses and children for permanent residency until they receive U.S. Citizenship.
Another big push by Republicans is to institute a merit-based system. Sen. Graham added that “we’re gonna have to start making a down payment on moving toward a merit-based [system], a down payment toward rebalancing green cards.”
Now green cards are rewarded based on whether a person has family in the United States. Graham wants to transform the process into strictly an economical reward system that benefits those who could support themselves. This topic will likely be a heated debate on Capitol Hill for months to come.