News

3 Paths For Congress To Replace DACA

Originally publish by Huffington Post

President Trump’s order rescinding DACA supposedly was designed to give Congress six months to come up with legislation to take its place.

 

Or not. In the immortal words of Jeff Sessions, Congress has six months to act “should it so choose.” Translation: a heartfelt “Whatever.”

 

As has become his custom, Trump has broadcast mixed, and sometimes inconsistent messages about what, if anything, he wants Congress to do.

 

By framing his action primarily as the restoration of legal order in the face of the Obama administration’s allegedly unconstitutional usurpation of Congressional authority, Trump creates the impression that it is not so much DACA itself that he objects to, but the way it was enacted. That, by itself, suggests that Trump might support DACA-like legislation if it were packaged as a bill passed by Congress.

 

At the same time, however, Trump sent out his Attorney General to announce the rescission of DACA in terms dripping with contempt for DACA itself, not just the way it was passed. When anti-immigrant Republicans brand something as “amnesty,” they are not dishing out a compliment or inviting Congress to enact it into law.

Those mixed messages can best be reconciled by assuming that Trump has absolutely no idea what he wants Congress to do. He just wants to one-up Barack Obama any way he can.

 

So rather than undertaking the thankless task of trying to divine what Trump is thinking, it might be better to think about what, if anything, Congress might be able to do.

 

Maybe I’m missing something, but I see only three potential paths for Congress to enact legislation providing Dreamers with some measure of the protection they just lost when Trump killed DACA.

First, Congress could pass a clean, stand-alone DACA-like bill.

That should be easy, right? Public opinion overwhelmingly supports legislation protecting Dreamers, and if put to a vote in the House and Senate, a DACA-like bill almost certainly would get enough Republicans to vote along with the Democrats to get through.

 

Indeed, a stand-alone Dreamer bill already has been introduced in the House. Last March, House Republican Carlos Curbelo of Florida introduced a bill they call the Recognizing America’s Children Act, or RAC. More than 16 other Republicans have co-sponsored the bill, and it has some Democratic support as well.

RAC would create a “conditional permanent resident” status that would protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation for five years. After five years, Dreamers who have met the conditions of the bill would be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence (green card) status.

 

The RAC bill, of course, is far from perfect, and probably unacceptable in its current form. Still, it could be a starting point for negotiating a bill that could muster enough bipartisan support to pass.

 

But even though a stand-alone Dreamer bill likely would get more than enough votes to pass in both the House and the Senate, it would run into the eternal truth of Congressional legislation: a bill can’t be passed if it never gets to the floor for a vote.

And this one won’t, for at least two reasons.

 

First, Speaker Ryan won’t allow the Democrats to cobble together a majority consisting of all the Democrats and a handful of Republicans. He has made it clear that no bill will get to the floor unless it has the support of a majority of the House Republicans. It is highly doubtful that a majority in the Republican House would support a stand-alone Dreamer bill. On Wednesday, Ryan himself made it clear that he favors attaching enhanced border security provisions to any bill replacing DACA.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/3-paths-for-congress-to-replace-daca_us_59b05acae4b0bef3378cdd64?section=us_contributor

Leave a Reply