Trump Wants Congress To Address Immigration And Graham Thinks Amnesty Is The Answer

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Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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The White House is asking Congress to pass immigration reform and Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is confident amnesty for illegal immigrants will pass.

President Donald Trump announced the rollback of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program Tuesday, but gave Congress an opportunity to pass immigration reform. “Permits will not begin to expire for another six months, and will remain active for up to 24 months. Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act,” Trump said.

This has immigration hawks worried that Congress will now pass amnesty, and the hope for them is a compromise that includes reduced legal immigration and mandatory e-verify.

It isn’t clear, however, what Congress would get behind.

Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin held a press conference Tuesday to announce they are re-introducing the DREAM Act. Graham was confident during the briefing that this would pass unlike previous attempts.

“The reason I think it will get done now is because the leadership of the Republican Party, including the president, realizes it’s good for the country economically and otherwise to give these kids the certainty they need in their lives,” Graham said.

However, giving just a path to citizenship to around 1 million illegal immigrants isn’t likely to get broad support among the GOP.

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, who chairs the conservative Freedom Caucus, said on CNN Tuesday that border security is a priority before anyone receives legal status. Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton laid out to the Washington Examiner Monday a solution of his own that would include giving DACA recipients legal status after passing the Raise Act, which drastically reduces legal immigration.

However, when the Raise Act was initially introduced Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it a “non-starter.” Congress also has a full plate with tax reform, health care reform, Hurricane Harvey relief, and the debt ceiling on the agenda.