Talk of amnesty deals are making the rounds again in Washington. Here’s what you need to know.
Apparently, the battles over tax reform, Obamacare, and the looming spending bill aren’t enough to keep Congress busy. There are increasing rumblings that some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are looking for ways to give legal status to illegal aliens currently in the United States.
When President Donald Trump was candidate Trump, he promised that if elected he would end the program known as DACA—the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that gave legal status to illegal aliens brought to the U.S. as minors.
The program was one of President Barack Obama’s most famous and arguably unconstitutional runs around Congress. He couldn’t get lawmakers to do what he wanted so he took it upon himself to create a new law via unilateral executive action.
Which is why the Trump administration’s Department of Justice was absolutely right earlier this year to announce a six-month wind-down of the program with an end date next March. And because Congress, not the president, has the power to make or alter our laws, the ball is now back in its court.
Unfortunately, the only actions many in Congress seem interested in taking when it comes to immigration reform are the tried and true failed policies of the past.
Give amnesty now to those here illegally with a promise of later securing the border and doing the hard work to improve our country’s immigration system.
Democrats are threatening to shut down the government if so-called “Dreamers” aren’t given a “pathway to citizenship” in the end-of-year spending bill Congress must pass in early December.
Meanwhile, some Republicans are also considering various legislative amnesties, including a Senate proposal dubbed SUCCEED, the Solution for Undocumented Children Through Careers, Employment, Education, and Defending Our Nation Act.
Here’s the deal: Whether it’s granting amnesty outright—as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and a host of other Democrats want to do—or whether it’s granting amnesty to those here illegally if they agree to jump through some additional loopholes, it’s still amnesty and it is still unfair to the millions of people trying to come here legally.
And, oh, by the way, it does not solve our illegal immigration problem. History and previous flawed actions by Congress prove it makes it worse.
We tried in 1986 when we gave legal status, supposedly a one-time deal, to 2.7 million illegal aliens residing in the U.S. Fast forward to 2017, and we have 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants now living here.
And all the border security and serious enforcement measures promised in 1986 that were going to come later? They never materialized.
More recently, there was the surge in illegal border crossings during Obama’s second term as the president handed out promises of amnesty through executive orders and his administration did little to enforce our immigration laws.
Proponents of amnesty and those who don’t want to do the hard work of real immigration reform are likely to dangle smaller and unpopular measures like getting rid of diversity visas in exchange for granting amnesty to the DACA population.
There’s no doubt that the Diversity Visa Lottery Program needs to go, but we shouldn’t trade one bad policy for another.
The same goes for debates over family, or what is popularly referred to as chain migration, workplace visa programs, sanctuary cities, border security measures, and how to improve the legal immigration process itself. All of these policies should be debated on their individual merits and whether they benefit America.
Immigration, both legal and illegal, impacts our country’s culture, economy, and security.
Some in Congress may be tempted to play “let’s make a deal” on amnesty and pretend they are doing something about our broken immigration system.
It’s time lawmakers know that game is over.