IM­MI­GRA­TION PLAN AC­TION

The Sun News - - Front Page - BY FRANCO ORDOÑEZ AND AN­DREA DRUSCH for­donez@mc­clatchydc.com adr­usch@mc­clatchydc.com Bryan Lowry and Alex Daugh­erty con­trib­uted to this re­port. Franco Ordoñez: 202-383-6155, @fran­co­or­donez

The White House is draft­ing a sweep­ing im­mi­gra­tion plan to be in­tro­duced dur­ing the lame-duck pe­riod.

The White House is rac­ing to fin­ish a sweep­ing new im­mi­gra­tion plan fo­cused on en­force­ment that could be in­tro­duced be­fore Democrats take con­trol of the House. It would in­clude fund­ing for the bor­der wall, re­stric­tions on asy­lum and cuts to le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, ac­cord­ing to four peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the plans.

But the plan is al­ready re­ceiv­ing push­back from fac­tions within the West Wing who are urg­ing the pres­i­dent to agree to a more mod­er­ate plan that would limit cuts to le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and pro­tect young im­mi­grants who came to the United States as chil­dren.

“There is a schism within the White House over this is­sue,” said Jes­sica Vaughn, a former State Depart­ment for­eign ser­vice of­fi­cer and direc­tor of pol­icy stud­ies at the Cen­ter for Im­mi­gra­tion Stud­ies. “There are some folks who think it’s im­por­tant to push those pro­vi­sions now un­der the guise of mer­it­based im­mi­gra­tion re­form. And oth­ers who are op­posed to that. They want the em­pha­sis to be on en­force­ment.”

This lat­est en­force­ment pro­posal would par­tially serve as a per­ma­nent leg­isla­tive change to mea­sures Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump took Thurs­day to con­front the car­a­van of mi­grants near­ing the United States by in­vok­ing na­tional se­cu­rity pow­ers used to im­ple­ment last year’s “travel ban” to deny asy­lum to mi­grants who en­ter the coun­try il­le­gally.

The two plans are set­ting up a new bat­tle within the Repub­li­can Party be­tween im­mi­gra­tion hard­lin­ers, led by White House ad­viser Stephen Miller, who wants to re­write the U.S. le­gal im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem, and more cen­trist Re­pub­li­cans and busi­ness lead­ers who want to pro­tect the young im­mi­grants, known as Dream­ers, and pro­vide greater ac­cess to for­eign work­ers.

Democrats won con­trol of the House on Tues­day. That means Trump will be work­ing with a di­vided Congress come Jan­uary so this is seen as a last-ditch ef­fort to craft a new im­mi­gra­tion pack­age more to his and other Re­pub­li­cans lik­ing. But any mea­sure will be dif­fi­cult to pass, es­pe­cially one fo­cused on en­force­ment, when Congress is also try­ing to avoid a gov­ern­ment shut­down over changes in a spend­ing bill and try­ing to push through other dif­fi­cult mea­sures such as a sweep­ing farm bill.

“I think the lame duck ses­sion of Congress is a great op­por­tu­nity to pass im­mi­gra­tion re­form so I may still have some im­por­tant work to do when I get back,” said Rep. Car­los Curbelo, R-Fla., min­utes af­ter he con­ceded his re-elec­tion bid on Tues­day. “I sure hope we have a chance. This would be the best time to do it es­pe­cially be­cause we can prob­a­bly ex­pect more grid­lock or even worse grid­lock in the next Congress.”

Congress will be in ses­sion for 12 work days be­tween now and its hol­i­day break — the so-called lame duck ses­sion — and a new Congress is sworn in in Jan­uary. In that time, it has to pass a spend­ing bill be­fore Dec. 7 or the gov­ern­ment will have to shut down with no fund­ing.

This year, Trump warned that a “good shut­down” may be nec­es­sary to force Democrats to agree to spend more than $20 bil­lion on a bor­der wall. But he ap­peared to back away from those threats this week af­ter see­ing the elec­tion re­sults.

Trump told a news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day he’s “not nec­es­sar­ily” com­mit­ted to a shut­down and in­di­cated Democrats may be will­ing to work with him.

“I speak to Democrats all the time and they agree that a wall is nec­es­sary,” Trump said. “We want to build the whole wall at one time, not in chunks.”

Democrats are un­likely to be in a ne­go­ti­at­ing mood dur­ing the lame­duck ses­sion, given their pick up of 30 seats, so far, in Tues­day’s midterms.

Trump is seek­ing to de­crease num­bers and ad­dress a group of thou­sands of mi­grants trav­el­ing to­ward the U.S. bor­der. He used the group as

‘‘ I THINK THE LAME DUCK SES­SION OF CONGRESS IS A GREAT OP­POR­TU­NITY TO PASS IM­MI­GRA­TION RE­FORM.

U.S. Rep. Car­los Curbelo, R-Fla.

a fi­nal ral­ly­ing cry as the midterm cam­paign­ing wound down, say­ing the group in­cluded crim­i­nals who made up an “in­va­sion” of the U.S. He de­ployed mil­i­tary troops to the bor­der.

He des­per­ately wants to gain fund­ing for his wall in order to ful­fill his sig­na­ture cam­paign prom­ise as he looks to­ward 2020.

The White House and Congress have re­peat­edly tried and failed to craft a suc­cess­ful plan that would fund the wall and pro­vide pro­tec­tions for so-called Dream­ers who have been able to work and re­main in the United States un­der the orig­i­nal De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hoold Ar­rivals law.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals ruled Thurs­day that Trump can­not im­me­di­ately end the DACA pro­gram, which he tried to do last year af­ter sev­eral states threat­ened to sue to force an end to it.

Trump has also pushed a wall pro­posal that would fund the wall in ex­change for le­gal sta­tus im­me­di­ately — and later cit­i­zen­ship to — 1.8 mil­lion Dream­ers.

The new pro­pos­als un­der dis­cus­sion would take as­pects of ear­lier pro­pos­als such as one by Rep. Bob Good­latte, R-Va., that would step up en­force­ment. But there are many un­re­solved ques­tions about the White House’s pro­pos­als, in­clud­ing the ex­tent of changes to le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and a pro­posed merit-based im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem that would re­duce fo­cus on fam­ily con­nec­tions and limit new im­mi­grants from en­ter­ing the coun­try based on their job skills.

The idea that a sim­i­lar pro­posal would pass now has raised con­cerns within the Repub­li­can Party about whether Trump is los­ing one of his best op­por­tu­ni­ties to use what re­main­ing lever­age he has to gain the con­tro­ver­sial bor­der wall fund­ing.

Lead­ers such as out­go­ing Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-S.C., have urged the pres­i­dent to com­pro­mise and in­clude pro­tec­tions for DACA re­cip­i­ents.

And those in the White House push­ing for a more mod­er­ate pro­posal have warned the pres­i­dent that any pro­posal still needs some Demo­cratic sup­port and fail­ing to find a deal now could mean start­ing cam­paign sea­son with no bor­der wall and young Dream­ers pos­si­bly be­ing de­ported.

A se­nior Repub­li­can con­gres­sional aide said while the White House is push­ing this mea­sure, the more likely sce­nario is it fails again and Congress passes an­other con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion with­out ad­dress­ing the bor­der wall with some kind of prom­ise to take up the mat­ter in the spring.

“It’s more op­tics and po­si­tion­ing than any­thing else,” said a se­nior Repub­li­can con­gres­sional aide fa­mil­iar with the de­bate “There will be a lot of pos­tur­ing, we’ll get right up to the limit, the House will pass some­thing that’s kind of a last hur­rah, it will go nowhere in the Se­nate.”

RO­DRIGO ABD AP

A group of Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants re­sume the jour­ney north on Fri­day af­ter leav­ing the tem­po­rary shel­ter in Mex­ico City. About 500 peo­ple headed out of Mex­ico City, em­bark­ing on the long­est and most dan­ger­ous leg of their jour­ney to the U.S. bor­der.

Don­ald Trump

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