Conservative concerns with White House amnesty compromise

CPI Staff — Sunday, August 19, 2018

After Democrats shutdown the government over demands for amnesty for 800,000 young illegal immigrants who took part in former President Obama’s unconstitutional DACA program, the Trump White House recently proposed a compromise. The newly unveiled plan includes:

  • Immediate amnesty for 1.8 million illegal immigrants, including path to citizenship after 10-12 years – 800,000 young illegals who signed up for DACA, and over 1 million who didn’t sign up would also be eligible.
  • Allowing for 4 million new immigrants currently in chain migration waiting lists.
  • $25 billion for border security “trust fund” – used for border wall construction, personnel, electronic monitoring.
  • End to chain migration – Limit family reunification to nuclear family (spouse, children) but not implemented until after backlog of 4 million chain migration applicants cleared.
  • End to visa lottery – Eliminate lottery and reallocate the visas to reduce the chain migration backlog and high-skilled employment backlog.

Some Republican lawmakers praised the proposal, as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) called it “”generous and humane, while also being responsible.” Liberals were quick to attack the proposal as racist. Yet, numerous conservatives criticized the proposal.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX):

I do not believe we should be granting a path to citizenship to anybody here illegally. Doing so is inconsistent with the promises we made to the men and women who elected us. For some reason that to me is utterly inexplicable, we see Republicans falling all over themselves to gallop to the left of Obama in a way that is contrary to the promises made to the voters who elected us. We need to honor the promises we made. And that is what I am energetically urging my colleagues to do.

Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA):

[I]t does not capture the promises that President Trump made to the American people and it does not capture the will of the majority in the Republican House. Giving an amnesty beyond the DACA group to those that did not even sign up to receive an amnesty will only lead to perverse outcomes and fraud and corruption.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ):

I don’t support amnesty of any kind, and that’s exactly what this is. The White House came forward with an amnesty deal, and quite frankly, I’m disappointed that a promise was not kept.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH):

Most of those members are strongly in favor of the Goodlatte bill, some of them want something even stronger than the Goodlatte bill. That’s where the Freedom Caucus is right now.

Louie Gohmert (R-TX):

Not only will it take ten-plus years to clear the chain migration backlog of applications while choking the system, it will open the door to those illegally here who have not yet even applied for legal status, a number which will expand exponentially. This, in turn, will eventually result in millions more illegally here – not to mention more corruption due to the sheer volume of the amnesty.

Roy Beck (President of NumbersUSA):

The plan seems eerily similar to the blueprint used for the 2007 Bush-Kennedy amnesty, which appeared to end chain migration, but wouldn’t actually end it for 17 years… Under the White House framework, young-adult illegal border crossers and visa overstayers would get immediate benefits, including, most importantly, the right to compete with Americans in the permanent job market. But vulnerable American workers would get little or no relief from the competition of chain migration for 15 to 20 years.

Mark Krikorian (Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies)

But to wait almost two decades before there’s any reduction in legal admissions is absurd. First of all, if we’re going to amnesty close to 2 million illegal aliens (and maybe more, since past estimates have proven so woefully wrong), that needs to be offset by immediate reductions elsewhere. What’s more this would be yet another example of the other side getting what it wants up front, with promises of things we want in the future.

Neil Munro (Editor at Breitbart News):

The upper limits were removed from the amnesty when Trump and his deputies expanded the amnesty beyond the 800,000 people who ever registered for the DACA amnesty.

That lack of any upper limit means the political appointee who runs the DHS  will have the power to exceed the reported estimate of 1.8 million illegals by simply directing officials to accept more applications. The bill does not prevent the DHS secretary from approving 4 million illegals, 5 million illegals or 6 million illegals.

The cost of the amnesty is not mentioned in the legislation, although the Congressional Budget Office optimistically estimated that a similar DREAM Act amnesty for 2 million illegals would cost taxpayers $26 billion in just the first ten years.