Immigration Hawks Worry Congress Will Pass Amnesty To Save ‘Dreamers’

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
Font Size:

Ending the DACA amnesty for roughly 800,000 illegal immigrants has been on the wish list for immigration hawks, but Sunday’s report that President Donald Trump will do so with a six-month delay has some worried about Congress passing amnesty.

Politico reported Sunday that President Donald Trump has decided to announce that he will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program with a six-month delay in order to give Congress time to act. The amnesty program protects about 800,000 illegal immigrants from deportation and gives them work permits.

DACA was created by President Barack Obama in 2012 for illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors before 2012. Trump vowed on the campaign trail to end DACA “immediately,” but has so far delayed the decision.

“Ending DACA now gives chance 2 restore Rule of Law. Delaying so [Republican] Leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide,” Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King tweeted Sunday after the news of Trump’s decision broke.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter told The Daily Caller in an email that a six-month delay would be “the worst of all possible outcomes.”

“What he did (according to Politico)— weep about the ‘fantastic’ illegals and announce he’s going to stop giving them amnesty 6 months from now, in order to a) give Congress time to pass an full amnesty, and b) block the courts ever ruling on what Obama did and Trump continued to do in total, egregious, fascistic violation of the constitution,” Coulter wrote.

Trump had been rushed to make a decision Tuesday due to a looming lawsuit by 10 Republican state attorneys general. (RELATED: 10 Republican AGs Threaten To Sue Trump Admin If DACA Isn’t Rescinded)

It is unclear if work permits will still be doled out during the reported six-month delay. If so, the lawsuit will likely go forward. Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, told TheDC that he hopes Texas “sticks with the lawsuit.”

The New York Times reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Trump he would not defend DACA in court, since he views it as unconstitutional. Trump’s decision to end DACA was opposed by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, according to a source with knowledge of the deliberations. Kelly previously asked Congress to act on DACA when he was secretary of homeland security.

While Trump won the the Republican primary opposing amnesty, it is still popular among GOP lawmakers. Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, an immigration hawk by most standards, told The Washington Examiner Sunday, “we ought to take care of” DACA beneficiaries.

Cotton is a sponsor of the RAISE Act, a bill supported by the White House that would halve legal immigration over 10 years. The Daily Caller previously reported that congressional leaders could tie amnesty for “dreamers” to the RAISE Act, in order to get 60 votes in the Senate. (RELATED: Congress May Cut Legal Immigration In Return For Amnesty)

Beck told TheDC that if Trump is “really, really committed to the RAISE Act” then “maybe he becomes Lyndon Johnson and you get a DACA amnesty mitigated with the RAISE Act and mandatory E-Verify.”

There also could just be an amnesty bill just for DACA beneficiaries. House Speaker Paul Ryan opposed ending DACA in a radio interview last week and said, “I believe that this is something that Congress has to fix.”

“The most important group to watch is the GOP leadership in the House,” Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told TheDC Monday. “Paul Ryan in particular is certain to try to pass a large scale amnesty and will want to tack on some token enforcement measures to try to dupe his colleagues and the public into a deal that does the amnesty first, avoids significant enforcement improvements, and avoids the most important part of the deal, the legal immigration cuts that the public wants and that our country needs.”