President Donald Trump’s recent willingness to discuss comprehensive immigration reform may spark a new wave of illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border, immigration policy experts tell The Daily Caller.
Trump first signaled his willingness to discuss comprehensive immigration reform during a Tuesday bipartisan meeting of lawmakers over the future of the DACA program. The president told Sen. Lindsey Graham during the Tuesday meeting he would “take the heat” if lawmakers wanted to begin talks of comprehensive immigration reform after finding a permanent solution for illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors enrolled in the DACA program.
The president doubled down days later saying he supports “the idea of discussing” comprehensive immigration reform in a Thursday interview with The Wall Street Journal. Asked whether he is open to a pathway to citizenship for non-DACA illegal immigrants Trump replied, “I am always open to discussing everything but that doesn’t mean we’re going to get anywhere close to getting it done,” adding “I’d love to get something done if it’s appropriate.”
“You might as well put a turnstile on the border when you’re talking about things like that because they’re going to be coming in droves,” Federation for American Immigration Reform communications director David Ray told The Daily Caller. Ray added that “ongoing talks of amnesty will cause immediate pressure on the border.”
Center for Immigration Studies director of policy studies Jessica Vaughn concurred with Ray to TheDC, noting that “what we’ve found in the past is that any discussion of amnesty tends to set off a new wave of illegal immigration,” adding that “people in other countries don’t pay attention to the details of who would be eligible, they understand an amnesty is in the works, and usually think its a good idea to come here to try to take advantage of it, either the current one or for the future.”
Vaughn and Ray pointed to the increase of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border from Central America after former President Barack Obama’s decision to extend DACA protections in 2012. Vaughn also pointed to the near quadrupling of the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. after a 1986 amnesty for 3 million.
The trend continued to bear out amid current DACA negotiations with a 21 percent increase over the previous month in arrests of family units and unaccompanied minors at the border in December 2017, just as negotiations over DACA became widely discussed publicly.
Vaughn explained that the words “comprehensive immigration reform” have “been the buzzword of the immigration expansion and amnesty proponents” for many years. President of immigration policy group NumbersUSA Roy Beck similarly told TheDC that any discussion of comprehensive immigration reform “just can’t help but increase some extra people to be illegal aliens.”
Despite his repeated overtures to the idea of “discussions” on comprehensive immigration reform in his most recent WSJ interview, the president remained averse to the term amnesty. “I’m not talking amnesty at all. I’m not talking amnesty at all,” he insisted, much in line with his rhetoric as candidate for office throughout 2016.
There will be no amnesty, he declared in a September 2016 campaign speech, adding, “Our message to the world will be this: You cannot obtain legal status or become a citizen of the United States by illegally entering our country.”