Opinion: Still No Clear Way Forward on DACA

"At the conclusion of a meeting with their GOP counterparts and President Trump, Minority Leader Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) released a joint statement. 'We had a positive and productive meeting and all parties have agreed to continue discussing a path forward to quickly resolve all of the issues ahead of us,' it read, about as innocuously as one could write such a thing. Coming after a day in which Michael Wolff’s alarming book set off a war of words between former senior strategist Stephen K. Bannon and Trump, it was a relief to see a least the appearance of normal politics. And as these things go, the less they say publicly, the more we might hope is going on productively behind closed doors," Jennifer Rubin writes in an opinion article for The Washington Post.  

"For Republicans, this is an effort to reach agreement on spending levels. For Democrats, the task is much broader. On the Senate floor earlier in the day Schumer said, 'In contrast to a year of chaos and ineffectiveness, a year in which little was accomplished was done for the very wealthy, narrow special interests — I hope this year can be one of bipartisanship focused on improving the stock of the middle class. They’re the ones hurting in America. They’re the ones that need help. They’re the ones who worry about the future of this grand, wonderful country.' He added, 'We can start on the budget, with opioids, and veterans’ health care and pensions. With children’s health insurance and disaster aid. And we can resolve the fate of the Dreamers, and say to these hardworking kids that America has a place for them too.'

...And that seems to be one major stumbling block — whether to resolve DACA now or later, when Democrats have less leverage. Democrats are remarkably united on their desire to fix DACA now, to the point of withholding votes needed to keep the lights on. In a written statement, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) sent out an email blast vowing, 'As a Democrat, I believe we have a responsibility to hard-working, everyday Americans. Not just the rich ones, or the ones who give out big checks, or the ones who call the shots in big corporations. This month, Congress will vote again on a longer-term budget. 60 votes will be needed in the Senate. Democrats have leverage and should draw a clear line in the sand: NO DREAM ACT? NO CHIP? NO DEAL!' (Emphasis in original.)

A source favoring a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) fix, who was involved in the discussion, described two distinct groups of senators, one desirous of a fix and the other stocked with several anti-immigration reform hardliners. The Hill reports that the hardline group headed by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) will be meeting at the White House today. (It includes Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who favors cutting legal immigration.) That group is seeking direction from Trump on an acceptable solution, which is unlikely to be definitive coming from a president who has only the faintest grasp of policy but a willingness to reverse himself at the drop of a hat.

Meanwhile, a House group headed by anti-immigration reform hardliner Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is likely to come forward with its own plan, giving cover to Republicans nervous about their Trumpian base. What is clear is that, as the source puts it, 'All Republicans agree that POTUS has to provide cover for Congressional Leadership to truly move forward on a negotiation with Dems.' And given how erratic, unreliable and ill-informed the president is — and the mix of pro- and anti-immigration advisers around him — it is anyone’s guess what he will decide."

NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 1/5/2018

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