LAW­MAK­ERS bris­tle at Trump im­mi­gra­tion plan.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - ERICA WERNER AND ED O’KEEFE

WASH­ING­TON — House Repub­li­cans voiced skep­ti­cism and out­right op­po­si­tion Tues­day to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion plan, sig­nal­ing a tough path ahead for any deal re­gard­ing the na­tion’s young il­le­gal aliens.

The con­cerns came from a range of GOP law­mak­ers, not just im­mi­gra­tion hard-lin­ers. In a sign that the is­sue was roil­ing both par­ties, mem­bers of the Con­gres­sional His­panic Cau­cus — com­prised en­tirely of Democrats — com­plained to Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., on Tues­day about his one-onone talks with Trump over the price of a wall along the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der.

The cau­cus is in­creas­ingly con­cerned that prospects are fad­ing be­fore a March 5 dead­line for a deal to pro­tect roughly 1.8 mil­lion il­le­gal aliens brought to the coun­try as chil­dren.

The White House frame­work re­leased last week would of­fer a 10- to 12-year path to cit­i­zen­ship to those il­le­gal aliens in ex­change for $25 bil­lion for a U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der wall and other changes.

“The pres­i­dent’s sug­ges­tion is go­ing to be dif­fi­cult for a lot of us,” said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn. “I think all of us want the DACA prob­lem solved. But it may be a bridge too far.”

Roe was re­fer­ring to the De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram that for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama cre­ated to of­fer tem­po­rary work per­mits to those il­le­gal aliens brought to the U.S. as chil­dren. At Trump’s dead­line to end the pro­gram, the bulk of work per­mits will be­gin to ex­pire, ex­pos­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of those il­le­gal aliens to de­por­ta­tion un­less Con­gress acts.

Democrats were an­gered about the White House pro­posal be­cause it would se­verely limit le­gal im­mi­gra­tion by fam­ily mem­bers of ci­ti­zens and oth­ers — but op­po­si­tion from the right threat­ens to leave the plan with scant sup­port from any quar­ter. Law­mak­ers face a Feb. 8 dead­line to avert an­other gov­ern­ment shut­down and are try­ing to strike a deal be­fore then.

Emerg­ing from a pri­vate GOP meet­ing where the is­sue was dis­cussed, Roe said he is open to al­low­ing le­gal sta­tus for the de­ferred-ac­tion-youths but that he does not s up­port grant­ing them cit­i­zen­ship, which he ar­gued would put them ahead of oth­ers try­ing to en­ter the United States legally.

Oth­ers had sim­i­lar con­cerns. Rep. James Re­nacci, R-Ohio, who is run­ning for the U.S. Se­nate, said: “The devil’s al­ways in the de­tails … I have some stip­u­la­tions in there, just not au­to­matic cit­i­zen­ship.”

Rep. Mark Mead­ows, R-N.C., head of the con­ser­va­tive Free­dom Cau­cus, said Trump’s plan would take ma­jor ad­just­ments and that af­ter­ward, “there might be some sup­port.”

“How do we per­fect that to make sure that there’s not a spe­cial path­way to cit­i­zen­ship? How do we per­fect that to make sure that in­deed we’re not deal­ing with it to­day and deal­ing with it again in 10 years?” Mead­ows asked. “At this point, to sug­gest we have enough def­i­ni­tion to that would be in­ac­cu­rate.”

Se­nate Democrats forced a three-day par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down ear­lier this month over im­mi­gra­tion. In its wake, law­mak­ers in both par­ties have been try­ing to reach a deal, but the ob­sta­cles are enor­mous, given en­trenched po­si­tions on both sides.

In the meet­ing with His­panic law­mak­ers, Schumer ex­plained how his Jan. 19 meet­ing with Trump came to­gether so quickly, leav­ing him lit­tle time to con­sult with col­leagues, ac­cord­ing to at­ten­dees and aides fa­mil­iar with the meet­ing.

Schumer; his deputy, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; and House Mi­nor­ity Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., met with mem­bers of the cau­cus. Schumer and Pelosi have vowed to keep the group abreast of on­go­ing talks, given that they rep­re­sent most of the peo­ple di­rectly af­fected by any pol­icy changes.

But a mem­ber in the meet­ing said it be­came a “testy” ex­change when Rep. Nanette Bar­ra­gan, D-Calif., a first-term law­maker, pressed Schumer to ex­plain his talks with Trump. Oth­ers in the room ex­pressed con­cern that Democrats are now ne­go­ti­at­ing from a po­si­tion of weak­ness af­ter plung­ing the gov­ern­ment into a shut­down and agree­ing to restart op­er­a­tions just three days later.

Schumer agreed that gen­er­ally, Democrats hold a bad hand: “We have a pair of fours. We don’t have a straight flush,” he said, ac­cord­ing to two at­ten­dees, granted anonymity to dis­cuss a pri­vate meet­ing.

Bar­ra­gan, whose Los Angeles district is home to thou­sands of the de­ferred-ac­tion par­tic­i­pants, said she con­fronted Schumer “so that he knows and that lead­er­ship knows that [con­stituents] feel that we’re turn­ing our backs on them and that the strat­egy that was dis­cussed seems to be chang­ing.”

In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­ute by Sean Sul­li­van of The Wash­ing­ton Post.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.