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Congress Finds Common Ground in DACA Legislation

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which is an order set in place by President Obama that basically provided safe haven for children brought into the country as illegal aliens by their illegal alien parents. The common definition is that it helps children who, “through no fault of their own,” have been brought into the United States and have essentially started their lives here despite being non-citizens. While campaigning in 2016, President Trump pledged to end DACA, which would make these minors eligible for deportation, but the subject has been a tough one to broach considering that it will directly affect children.

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According to McClatchy news, Republicans in congress are trying to craft some compromise on the original DREAM Act legislation, which would allow these minors to gain some kind of permanent residency:

Conservative lawmakers led by Thom Tillis are crafting a bill they call the conservative Dream Act that would provide a path to permanent residency to people brought here illegally as children, offering President Donald Trump an escape hatch on one of his most vexing immigration challenges.

The legislation creates an avenue for Trump to both fulfill a campaign promise to end an Obama-era program known as DACA while yielding to what appears to be his personal desire to let these immigrants remain in the country.

“Who cares about DACA if there’s a Dream Act,” said a Republican involved with the policy negotiations and aware of Tillis’ plan.

Trump has wrestled with the politics versus the personal on this issue since Inauguration Day, recognizing that whatever he decides to do about the roughly 800,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers will anger many and shape his legacy.

Democrats he have been pushing for the original DREAM Act for years, but it never happened under President Obama, which means the DACA order has been the life raft which allows renewable permits for these minors to remain legally in the country.

The order to end DACA could come anytime, perhaps even as early as today:

Trump is expected to end DACA as soon as Friday, but allow those who have received work permits to keep them until they expire, according to multiple people familiar with the policy negotiations.

The Tillis plan makes killing the deferred action program much more politically palatable. Republicans involved in the policy negotiations said Trump can claim a win with both his base for ending the program and the young people, for whom he promised to try to “work something out.”

Details are still being worked out, but the Tillis plan would be a companion proposal to a House bill introduced by Miami Republican Carlos Curbelo.

Like Curbelo’s bill, the Tillis plan would offer an eventual path to U.S. citizenship for immigrants who entered illegally before Jan. 1, 2012, and were 16 years old or younger.

The proposal would grant high school graduates without a serious criminal record conditional immigration status for a five-year period. During that time, if they earn a higher-education degree, serve in the military or stay employed, they could apply for permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship.

About 2.5 million Dreamers would be eligible.

Clearly President Trump knows the delicate nature of this situation, which is why he’s taken heat from immigration hard-liners since his inauguration over why he’s waited so long to do something he promised to do on day one.

As CNN notes, ending DACA might just be the issue that breaks the log-jam in Congress:

If Trump were to end the program, it would force a gut-check moment for leadership on both sides of the aisle.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would have to decide whether they’re willing to risk angering the most conservative wing of the Republican base by allowing a vote on what some on the right consider an “amnesty” — which would almost certainly need Democratic votes to pass. Meanwhile Democrats, led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, will be forced to decide whether they are willing to swallow a compromise that could include border wall money in in exchange for protections for “Dreamers,” a population they have long advocated for.

With a hotly contested 2018 midterm election looming, and a number of moderate Republicans representing areas with high numbers of Dreamers up for re-election, lawmakers may feel compelled to act to save the program.

No doubt, he’s going to end the program, but he’ll also let the currently enrolled DACA kids stay put until their permits expire. This would conceivably give Congress time to act with the deadline looming. I’m still doubtful that any of them are able to get it together and craft legislation anymore on anything, but we’ll see what happens. Something tells me that whatever does come out of congress will probably have some kind of border wall funding attached to it so the President can tout it as a victory.

Nate Ashworth :Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.