On Tuesday, the White House will host nearly twenty lawmakers to discuss immigration. The list of White House-selected invitees is an unfortunate reflection of where the Administration and Republican strategy seems to be leaning: it is loaded up with anti-immigrant hardliners and light on those actually searching for a reasonable fix.
Similarly, the Sunday show appearances of Stephen Miller and Senator Tom Cotton this past weekend offered a one-two punch reminder that the White House and their hardliner Republican allies are seeking to advance their nativist agenda on the backs of Dreamers.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
The White House is being heavy-handed, greedy and reckless. Perhaps they are operating from the principle that no good crisis should go to waste. What they should do is get serious. To resolve the Dreamer crisis that Trump created should be straightforward: pass the Dream Act. If it’s a political necessity to give the Republicans a talking point, negotiate reasonable border security measures. The contours of such a deal were crystal clear when Trump, Schumer and Pelosi agreed to such an approach in mid-September.
But hardliners in the Administration and on Capitol Hill are now demanding 90% of their immigration agenda in exchange for 10% of the Democrats’ immigration agenda. They seem intent on achieving all or nothing, with either outcome acceptable to them. The problem is that such an approach makes it more likely that Republicans will shut down the government rather than negotiating a simple deal that enacts the Dream Act. The nativists have taken the Dreamers hostage and are intent on using them as bargaining chips. This is an outrageous abuse of power and will lead to a breakdown when what we need is a breakthrough.
If Republicans want to put a broader set of issues on the table, a later round of policy discussions can address them. But for now, let’s address the urgent crisis at hand facing Dreamers and enact the Dream Act. Period.