Last week failed to bring any real clarity to what has now become an immigration debate. Hanging in the balance is the fate of the approximate 780,000 current DACA recipients who will face the full impact of the President’s March 5 deadline eliminating the protections.
The Trump Administration and hardliners are insisting on a swap of DACA protections for all their principles which include a large $25 billion trust fund for wall construction, increased enforcement that will likely result in more raids and families being split. They are also seeking restrictions on current family migration practices and an elimination of the diversity visa program.
With February 8, nearing the question is what will Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) do? He has indicated that he will start a debate on the Senate floor the week of February 12 but even if he follows through it could be legislation of his design that may be the focus of that debate. If the Senate is successful, their actions are not binding on the House.
The key provisions laid out by the White House includes a $25 billion trust fund for the border wall system, additional funds to hire new DHS personnel, ICE attorneys, immigration judges, prosecutors and other law enforcement professionals, DACA enactments include legal status for DACA recipients and other DACA-eligible illegal immigrants, a 10-12 year path to citizenship, restricting family migration, eliminate the lottery and reallocate the visas to reduce the family-based “backlog” and high-skilled employment “backlog.”