WASHINGTON — Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton supports a path to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries, but believes it will come with a sharp decrease in legal immigration.
President Trump has called for Congress to “legalize” the DACA program and Congress is now battling over what to do.
“I expect the White House in the coming days to announce the contours of negotiation,” Sen. Cotton told The Daily Caller Monday after an event hosted by Hillsdale College at the Marriott Marquis.
Cotton is a sponsor of the Raise Act, a piece of legislation supported by the White House that would halve immigration over ten years by ending chain migration and promoting a merit-based system.
Chain migration is the process in which citizens and lawful permanent residents are allowed to sponsor extended family members. “It is the primary mechanism that has caused legal immigration in the U.S. to quadruple from about 250,000 per year in the 1950s and 1960s to more than 1 million annually since 1990,” the immigration reductionist group NumbersUSA has estimated.
“CHAIN MIGRATION cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on Immigration!” Trump tweeted last week.
“Hard to imagine a compromise that doesn’t stop chain migration of extended families,” Sen. Cotton told TheDC.
However, Cotton told the crowd at the Hillsdale College event that the roughly 800,000 DACA beneficiaries should have a path to citizenship as he believes it would be impracticable and unfair if they would just stay in the U.S. permanently and lawfully, but not as citizens.
“The next day Democrats … would be protesting the ‘separate but equal’ treatment and ‘the new Jim Crow,'” Sen. Cotton said about a hypothetical DACA amnesty that didn’t give a path to citizenship.
President Trump insists he doesn’t back citizenship for illegal immigrants. However, following a dinner with Trump, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters, “I do believe there is an understanding that down the road there is an eventual path to citizenship.”