On June 4, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, which now faces the Senate.
According to Newsweek, the act “seeks to provide permanent status not only to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as minors, known as Dreamers, but also to those living in the U.S. under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) programs.”
While some congressional Republicans support some type of bill protecting “Dreamers,” the disconnect between the parties appears to involve the fact that the act doesn’t address the issue of border security. If congressional Democrats want to seriously tackle the issue of immigration, any proposed bill must also include acceptable provisions relative to border security.
As reported in Newsweek: “As many as 2.1 million immigrants ‘would be eligible under the measures for Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children,’ CAP [the Center for American Progress] said in a press release on [June 3]. Those numbers would include as many as 673,000 recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which the Trump administration has sought to bring to an end. As many as ‘460,000 immigrants would be eligible under the measures for TPS and DED recipients,’ CAP said.”
If they don’t handle it carefully, the Dream and Promise Act puts congressional Republicans in a bit of a conundrum from a political standpoint.
On the one hand, support for Dreamers has increased in recent months, as many Americans don’t want to punish children for the improper acts of their parents or other adults. On the other hand, some Republican voters continue to support President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance approach on immigration, and would likely view this bill as an unacceptable concession to Democratic demands.
Therefore, acceptance of this bill could be viewed as a sign of weakness and a step backward on the issue of immigration, which is one of the president’s “big ticket” items as 2020 approaches.
While Republicans face some tough political decisions with respect to the protections that should be afforded to Dreamers, they still have some legitimate arguments against the passage of this particular act. Most notably, Republicans can point to the fact that the act doesn’t address border security and that any immigration bill that seeks to protect Dreamers (and other individuals) must also fully address this issue. As recent history has shown us, congressional Democrats will likely reject such conditions.
In 2018, Trump offered to extend protections for Dreamers in exchange for $25 billion in funding for the U.S.–Mexico border wall, which congressional Democrats rejected. Trump also offered to significantly expand the number of Dreamers who would be eligible for amnesty or citizenship in exchange for limiting chain (family) migration, ending the draft lottery, and obtaining funding for the border wall.
The Democrats’ reactions to these offers and the fact that the current act fails to address the vital issue of border security bolsters the following conclusion: Congressional Democrats care more about open borders and preventing any law that would curtail legal or illegal immigration than they do about helping Dreamers.
It’s not surprising that the American Dream and Promise Act fails to address the issue of border security. Today’s Democratic Party supports, and welcomes, open and porous borders. House Democrats support the idea of allowing illegal immigrants to vote and lowering the voting age in the United States.
By passing the American Dream and Promise Act without addressing the issue of border security, congressional Democrats could have their cake and eat it, too. They would help Dreamers who are presently in the country (a win for Democrats) and would refrain from doing anything to prevent others from illegally entering the country (another win for Democrats).
The high, and unchecked, number of immigrants (legal or illegal) entering the United States would likely favor Democrats. As such, Democrats have every reason to continue to politicize the issue of immigration for the foreseeable future.
Congressional Republicans in the Senate shouldn’t fall for this intentional omission. They should stand strong and demand that any immigration bill, including this one, should thoroughly address the issue of border security before they even consider it.
Elad Hakim is a writer, commentator, and attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.